Pony Girls in Socialist Germany

I hope Pferdemädchen.net don’t mind my very sketchy translation of their new post on an East German classic:

“The 1979 DDR film, “The Horse Girl”, was based on a novel with the same title. The eponymous children’s book by author Alfred Wellm was first published in 1974 by an East German children’s book press in Berlin.

Alfred Wellm (1927 – 2001) lived in Lohmen/Mecklenburg and published a range of novels and stories for children (including “Kaule the Girl with the Cats”; “The Little Wruk”). The film has a sometimes dryly melancholy story as its basis, in which decisions have to be made and partings taken. The director Egon Schlegel directed in “The Horse Girl” a film which goes far beyond the pony-yard cliché. He studied directing at the German Academy for Film Art Potsdam-Babelsberg from 1961 to 1966 and made children’s films in the DDR from the 1970s onwards.

The story of the girl, Irka, plays out in the north of the DDR. Irka lives on a farm with her family when Raya, a former show horse comes into her life. The mare is old and blind, but despite her advanced age she brings one more foal into the world. Well, there’s only room for one horse and now Irka must make her choice – which of the family should stay. Contrary to the West German films à la “Mädels von Immenhof/Girls from Immenhof” where one needs a happy ending, whatever happens, you won’t find one here…”

It’s like “Sophie’s Choice” for horse-mad girls. The Pferdemädchen post with a still and links to the film’s IMDB site is here. Film poster from OstFilm.



Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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