Everything I Don’t Know About Selika Lazevski

  UPDATE: The viral photographs of Sélika set me hunting through archives and circuses from St Petersburg to Paris to uncover the lives of elusive women who were celebrated artistes, survivors, and scapegoats of the nineteenth century. I’m telling their stories now in Amazons of Paris. You can sign up here for more information and …

Paula Sykes — Pioneering Woman Groom in International Show Jumping

I wrote an obituary for Paula Sykes, whose riding school in Cringleford, Norwich, I attended. Paula was an incredible character who was showjumper Pat Smythe’s right-hand woman. You can read the full text at Medium. Pauline Phyllis Betty Sykes, who died in Costessey, Norfolk on her 88th birthday on 15 September 2017, was one of …

Rapunzel Horses – the hot accessory of Early Modern Europe?

I’ve been reading beautifully illustrated books about horses all my life and in the last twelve years I’ve trawled all sorts of academic articles and image libraries, so it’s always delightful to find an image I’ve never seen before. The Palazzo Pitti in Florence just opened an exhibit called Leopoldo de’ Medici: Prince of the …

How Byron Invented the Wild Horse – and How to Tune into The Age of the Horse

I have a new essay for LitHub about the surprisingly scandalous story behind our Romantic ideas about wild horses, and some lovely news: The Age of the Horse is now available as an audiobook. I’d have loved to include this bit of doggerel I found when researching the story of wild horses – it’s clearly …

The Half-flayed Horse: your Hallowe’en story

Some men drove their horse and gig to Greenbank on the island Yell in Shetland. They left the horse outside a pub and went in to drink without ensuring it had water. The frustrated horse pawed at a barrel of porter, split it open and drank all the booze. When the men re-emerged much later, …

Welcome to The Age of the Horse

“In 5,500 years of domestication humans have transformed horses’ bodies into everything from buttons to a physical reincarnation from the mythical past of a nation. This is not a history of the horse, but it is a story of six ways in which we have recreated it, from Wildness to Culture, Power to Meat, Wealth …