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The Horse World

Horses and People in Art: Ancient Connections

October 2018

Xenophon’s texts on horsemanship written around 350BC were considered, for a long time, to be the earliest extant works on equitation. For the training of the military horse, Xenophon set the pattern. In fact, extracts from ‘On Horsemanship’ and ‘The Cavalry Commander’ are still required reading for candidates of examinations administered by the British Horse Society1.

A Lifelong Bond

August 2018

On our August 2018 issue cover is a gorgeous photo by Louise Sedgman of Jess Rae and her 4-year-old Thoroughbred- warmblood cross mare London. A paramedic, wife and mum to children aged 2 and 5, Jess had been out of horses for some years when her husband Cam, a veterinarian working at the Gippsland Veterinary Hospital bought a batch of semen from Marion Shear’s warmblood stallion Merlin, as a Christmas present with the aim to breed a foal that would allow Jess to get back into horses.

The Straw Ride

August 2018

During World War One, horses were prepared for the next leg of their journey to the battlefields of France, the Balkans, the Middle East, Egypt, or Italy at ‘remount depots’ around England. These depots also provided vet care and rehabilitation for horses coming back from the Front, where injuries, mustard-gas poisoning, skin and other contagious diseases reduced the supply of horses.

For the Love of Sarah

August 2018

This story is very personal to me. I did not know teenager Sarah Waugh who fell from a bolting horse and died at Dubbo TAFE in 2009, but I know - and deeply admire - her parents, Juliana and Mark Waugh. Our lives entwined through ‘happenstance’, when I reached out to them after becoming a pariah in my horse community for being passionate about improving safety.

Sublime Passions: Delacroix’s Horses

July 2018

I first saw Horses Coming out of the Sea when I was two or three years old, and I hold it entirely responsible for my love of both horses and art.  It featured in my first picture-books, the ground-breaking ‘Masters of Colour’ part-work series, published by Fabbri in the mid-1960’s in affordable weekly editions, each with 16 superbly-printed colour plates. My mother, keen to bring culture, or at least distraction, to my baby sister and me, eagerly subscribed to it at the local newsagent. 

Mules: Part 2

June 2018

Last month, I explained the origins of donkeys, mules and horses, and the unique differences in their intelligence, appearance, diet and disposition. In case you missed it, you can read it here. This month, I continue my discussion on the distinctive adaptations of today’s donkey, mule and horse.

George Morland: Hack or Hero?

May 2018

It’s true that some people do end up looking like their dogs; but like their horses too?  Above, we see a portrait of a favourite elderly white rescue horse and, above right, a sketch of the artist who owned and painted this horse.  If we look carefully, we can see between the horse and the human the same heavily-lidded eyes that look like they’ve ‘seen it all’, the same three-quarter profile angle, the same fleshy, sensual lips and the same world-weary facial expression. 

Stable Relationships

April 2018

Edwin Landseer’s The Shrew Tamed (also known as The Pretty Horse Breaker), on first sight, seems to be a study in interspecies harmony, affection and trust. It’s a beautifully serene work, and Landseer’s handling of the paintwork in the straw, and on the mare’s silken coat and bay dapples is exquisite.  We also see his hallmark of endowing animals with expressive characters as nuanced and significant as in human portraiture of that period. 

Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath

March 2018

Few race horses have been as masterfully painted in their winning moment as ‘Gimcrack’. Here, Stubbs paints this fabled grandson of the Godolphin Arabian in front of a Newmarket ‘rubbing house’, or race-day stable, flanks heaving, veins popping, sweat drenched, held by his trainer, with a stable boy putting down straw for him to urinate on.  On the right, we see him again, about 10 minutes earlier, dashing past the winner’s post in front of the stadium and winning the race by lengths. 

Foals and Beads: Zebra Conservation Across Two Continents

February 2018

Considering the distances involved, it’s perhaps suprising there’s an intimate connection between a gift shop on the outskirts of Melbourne and communities 11,500 kilometers away in Northern Kenya. Another potentially unexpected aspect of this relationship is that it’s founded on beads.


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