Horsing Around

The rest of the week should provide something less political, more uplifting, wouldn’t you agree? What caught my eye, then, was a history of our relationship to horses. How could you not be cheered by a book that “is not the Pony Club Manual or a trot through the more familiar sights of equestrian art history; it’s Kafka, Aby Warburg, Tolstoy, psychoanalytic theory, Nietzsche and bleak monochrome photos in the style of Sebald. This epic enterprise is relieved by Raulff’s spare, vivid style and deep learning. He is as comfortable analysing the etymology of Pferd and Ross as he is discussing the Chicago School, Clint Eastwood and the Amazons, and he rarely loses his audience.”

I remember my disdain for all the horse posters on the wall of my girls-only boarding school. (Then again my disdain extended to almost anything and anyone there in that miserable, elitist place, and thus my loathing parkour was just par for the course. Hm, had to think about that one.)

It did not help that my father, in some of our rare outings, took me to the CHIO equestrian competitions in Aachen, something they call the Wimbledon of the horse sporting world. It meant hours of fearing he would keel over with a heart attack so tense would he get with all the jumping horses barely missing the beams. We do come from very excitable stock….


Some years later during months of backpacking through South America, I had multiple occasions to actually sit on a horse; your couldn’t call it riding exactly, but it was certainly thrilling since it got you to places that would otherwise not have been reached.

Here is a review of the book that replaces my strange memories with interesting facts.

Hanging Up Our Spurs

You’ll understand, though, that I prefer to stick to photography of urban horse chimeras while listening to this…..