Thursday, September 14, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

CFP: Baroque Horses & Horsemanship

  The theme for WSECS 2018, to be held Feb. 16 & 17, 2018 in Las Vegas, is Conversing among the Ruins: the Persistence of the Baroque.   

   In modern parlance, baroque breeds are those that are heavier than the typical warmblood, but without being draft-like. The Iberian breeds and the Friesian are easily recognized as "baroque," despite the former predating that period and the later being comparatively young in its current form. The Knabstrupper has a "baroque" registration category, despite having a well documented 1812 foundation date. Tack and riding styles likewise have forms described as "baroque," despite often being only tangentially related to that time period. 

  I am looking for additional presenters for a panel on Baroque Horses and Horsemanship; either the baroque period itself, being the seventeenth and early eighteen centuries, or the remembrance of it in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This period encompasses many notable equestrian works, including Newcastle (1658), with his fondness for Iberian horses, through Baucher (1842).

   E-mail paper proposals to by Sept. 29.

This young Andalusian developed the "baroque" neck early

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Equine History

If you're here because you have an interest in equine history, and particularly if you are a researcher, take a moment to visit

Louis XIV at the Taking of Besancon
by Meulen Adam-Franz van der Meulen, at the Hermitage

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CFP: Distributive Preservation and Heritage Livestock

I'm putting together a panel for NCPH 2018 (Vegas), and our third panelist may not be able to attend. The panel is on livestock as living artifacts, in particular ongoing colonialist dynamics in "saving" heritage breeds by importing them. The Caspian is a good example of this. It is, in effect, a form of distributive preservation, with all of the benefits and moral and legal quandaries that practice raises; however, being living creatures, there is the added complication that many imported populations remain isolated and fail to thrive (as in the Cleveland Bay). If anyone might be interested in joining our panel, please let me know by July 13.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Poor neglected blog

That was quite a hiatus. I'm at the National Sporting Library now (and wow is it amazing!), and then I should have most of a month to put my notes in order before teaching again. So, stay tuned?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Into the Woods

Been in the woods for four days, because sometimes it's good to actually take a vacation.
(we'll ignore the grading spreadsheet on the drive 'n' all that.)

Back to the woods! With no grading left (?!)

Thursday, November 24, 2016


    If the radio silence didn't make it obvious, things have been particularly busy. I'm about to be swamped in student papers again, but in the meantime I thought I'd share the lighter side of having a niche research area.

    I'm used to being the go to person when someone stumbles across an equine reference in their own research. What is a grulla? How big is a hand? What does "a freno" mean? We ask questions of others when we stumble into their specialties, and it enriches our understanding. I'm also used to the standard conference questions that nearly every equine historian gets about who ate horses and when. Lately, however, one of my colleagues has effectively turned this into a meme. I get sent assorted horse pictures, with often just the word "explain" attached. And while occasionally they're still serious questions, for the most part they are absurd and entertaining.

They really are good prep. You never know what sort of off topic threads will come up.

    And sometimes you learn new things even from truly oddball questions. I wouldn't have glanced twice at this "book," which looks like a cheap romance but doesn't come up on any book searches. But having been sent this, I did look twice, at the horse somehow jumping a house. And then I realized what was really wrong here. It was supposed to be a "story of the first thanksgiving," and I was pretty sure there were no horses on the Mayflower. So I had to check. 

    Handily for this one, I had a photo of the Animals in War Memorial memorial I'd snapped from the bus in London coming home from Leeds.

And sometimes, you just need something to lighten your day.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


   I noticed (a day and a half ago) that this blog was vast approaching 5k views, and have been wracking by brain to come up with an "exciting" post to celebrate. Well, the mark has been hit, and I don't have a fresh new idea to share.

   I do, however, have some exciting news. I received word that I was selected for the John H. Daniels Fellowship at the National Sporting Library & Museum. I will be spending two delightful weeks next summer delving into their massive and varied collection in Middleburg, VA. I will primarily be laying the foundation for my dissertation on Hanoverian horses (the historical, not the modern), but I hope to have time to glance at a few other topics of interest. Like horsebread. Or early Thoroughbreds or Morgans. And I am sure I will accidentally discover many more fascinating things along the way.

Check them out. Seriously.

   I'll work on those new post ideas (and clearing the backlog), but meanwhile I'll leave you with this news and the obligatory cat pic:

Former foster loves his new home

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Call for Panelists: Equine Sciences at WSECS 2017

   Seeking one or two more panelists for WSECS to be held at UC Santa Barbara Feb. 17&18, 2017. The conference theme is “Eighteenth-Century Science(s).” This panel will consider the ways in which new ideas about how the world did and should work were applied to the equestrian arts. Please contact no later than Sept. 28.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Charge! Historic Selection of Equine Panels

  I've had about a year to adjust to the idea that I'm not just going to Leeds, I'm presenting.

     I leave tomorrow, and it's only just sinking in. Really, though, there is no way I could miss this year. Usually, I am alone in presenting on anything equine; this has also been the case for the handful of other scholars in the humanities who look at them. But at this year's IMC Leeds there will be three full panels, a roundtable, and a couple stand alone papers. Not to mention a large assortment of other animal studies works. I am beyond delighted to be a part of this, and can't wait to see what inspirational sparks fly.

Friday, June 24, 2016

What a week!

    We were in Maryland (mostly) the past week and change, and it was of course a crazy packed week.

     ...before you worry, the kittens are now big enough and healthy enough for a normal living situation and were safely ensconced with their rescuer. Who is now trying to figure out how to keep both of them. I am entirely unsurprised. And by that I mean I planned on it ;-)

   Where was I? Oh, yes, crazy packed week. So we flew out from Cali last Saturday. And Sunday I was off to WV with a former student for a riding clinic. Had a blast showing her around my alma mater, and getting some rust knocked off my riding by Nancy.

I got to ride in this. It was ridiculously nice. 
   And then back to MD! Family things! Sportsball! Actually, that was fun, too.

  The weekend got rescheduled a good half a dozen times, but we did still end up in Baltimore and managed to meet up with one of the two lovely people we'd planned on seeing. We went to the Walters Art Museum. I had planned a fuller post on this trip (it was amazing, and I'm really amazed I never knew it was there, given its founders' role in equine history), but between current events, recovering from airport plague, and needing to prepare for Leeds, that will have to wait. For now, have some pictures:

(click for more)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More Kittens

Week Ten is upon us, which means never ending writing. Just not this kind.

A couple nights ago, we had a very surprising knock on the door while I was laboriously correcting footnotes. A friend/classmate/neighbor had found two very pathetic looking kittens in a broken down car on the street, and not knowing what to do with them brought them to us. Also, hey, kittens. What better study break?

I really should have taken a real "before" picture, but here they are after their first bath:

When we first saw them, the boy's (the more-orange one) eyes were swollen completely shut. We weren't sure he was going to make it. And they were (are!) so tiny. The girl ate some wet kibble right away (voraciously and angrily), which made us all very happy, but the boy wouldn't eat and even after a warm towel could only open one eye. Our friends who found them called animal control, but animal control decided it wasn't an emergency, so we kept them for the night. After a bath and several more cleanings with a warm towel, we got the boy's eyes open. And both were eating and making attempts at using the litterbox. They often missed (cats are great about not really needing to be trained, but still, they're wee tiny), but all systems were working. Celebration. They're maybe four weeks old, assuming they're stunted. The boy's ears were still slightly folded. They weighed three pounds between the two of them with bulgingly full bellies. We were planning on taking them to the shelter in the morning, both because we thought the little boy might need more than the antibiotic eye cream we had, and because we didn't want to expose our two cats.

Well, that was the plan. Unfortunately, Abdiel flipped out and when we wouldn't let him in to see them, he dug the towels out from under the door so he could peer in. So, they introduced themselves and we gave in.

Octavian is much more dubious. And by that I mean he ran away hissing and hid under the bed. He's starting to adjust.

They are doing so very much better now. Once they made it safely through the night, and since they aren't bottle babies that I really don't have time for, we decided to foster them until they're adoptable (re: vaccinatable & spay/nueterable) age. Their rescuers are already sorely tempted and will probably take the girl. Anyone want a sweet snuggly orange boy kitten?

Saturday, March 12, 2016