Tonight: Watch and Discuss Equus!

Tonight, January 16th, and next Wednesday, January 23rd, PBS will be airing the two-part documentary Equus: Story of the Horse at 8 p.m. (check local listings). For more information, and to see the preview, visit From their website:

“Join anthropologist Dr. Niobe Thompson and equine experts on a two-part adventure around the world and throughout time to discover the origins of the horse. In a stunning 3D reconstruction, see the earliest member of the horse family rise from a fossil bed and begin a transformation into the magnificent animal we know today. Discover why horses have 360-degree vision and gallop on a single toe. Explore the science of speed with renowned racehorse trainers. Uncover the emotional intelligence of horses and their deep connection with humans. Encounter extraordinary horse breeds from Saudi Arabia to Kentucky to Siberia, and meet the horses of Sable Island that are truly returning to the wild ways of their ancestors. Filmed over 18 months across 3 continents, featuring drone and helicopter-mounted RED aerials, extensive Phantom slow-motion footage, and a live-recorded symphonic score.”

We invite you all to discuss your thoughts, questions, and reflections on the show with the EHC community using #EHCEquus on Twitter (we also suggest tagging #PBSNature), and, for members, in the EHC Facebook group. We look forward to hearing from you!


#MemberMonday: Philip A. Homan


Philip A. Homan

Ph.D, English (in process) Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
M.A. Library Science 2002 St. John’s University, Queens, NY
Ph.D., Theology (ABD) Fordham University, Bronx, NY
M.A. Religious Studies, 1987 Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
B.A. Economics-Accounting and English, 1984 Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA

What got you in to history? horse history?

I’m a fifth-generation Idahoan, whose maternal grandparents were ranchers in Owyhee County, Idaho, at the turn of the twentieth century. I’m working on a biography of Kittie Wilkins, the Horse Queen of Idaho (1857-1936), with whom my great-grandparents were acquainted. According to the newspapers, Wilkins made the largest sale of horses in the American West when she sold 8,000 head for the British Army Remount Department’s US Commission to send to the South African War, 1899-1902. Idaho Public Television featured Wilkins in the documentary “Taking the Reins” in its new series Idaho Experience. I’m therefore also currently researching the supply of war horses and army mules from America to the South African War, which I call the Equine Middle Passage of the transatlantic horse trade.

Who is your favorite historical horse?

Powder Face, the Horse That Robbed the Winnemucca Bank! One of Wilkins’s horses, an Arabian, called Powder Face, was stolen by the Wild Bunch to use in their getaway from their robbery of the First National Bank in Winnemucca, Nevada, on September 19, 1900. During the getaway, Butch Cassidy gave Powder Face to a 10-year-old boy in Winnemucca. Powder Face is therefore at the center of the legend of Cassidy as America’s Robin Hood, who stole from rich and gave to the poor, liked children, and was kind to animals.

The Wild Bunch. John Swartz (1858-1930). This image is known as the “Fort Worth Five Photograph.” Front row left to right: Harry A. Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, alias the Tall Texan, Robert Leroy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy; Standing: Will Carver & Harvey Logan, alias Kid Curry; Fort Worth, Texas1900.




What are you working on now?

I’m currently an Idaho Humanities Council Research Fellow working on the project “‘This Flotsam and Jetsam of Human Passions’: Idaho War Horses to the South African War, 1899-1902.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

In Stavanger, Norway, last September 25-27, 2018, I presented the paper “Moving Horses: War Horses from the American West to the South African War, 1899-1902” at the “Horses, moving” Conference at the Arkeologisk museum, Universitetet i Stavanger. Also in London next April 25-27, 2019, I’ll present the paper “‘Far from Good Sailors’: American Horses and Mules for the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902—An Equine Middle Passage of the Transatlantic Horse Trade” at the “Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea” Two-Day International Conference at the National Maritime Museum.


#MemberMonday profiles the current activities of Equine History Collective Members. If you would like to be included, please contact us:! 

2018: The Year in Review(s)

   We launched this blog in September 2017, and shortly thereafter we started running reviews of books and exhibits, and later added sources and archives, making a specialists viewpoint available. Our collective has grown exponentially in the last year, and we’ve been happy to feature our members as well. Today, we’re looking back at the last year (and change) of book reviews.

Write for us in 2019!

Books published before 2000

The Medieval Warhorse: Origin, Development and Redevelopment, reviewed by Katrin Boniface
The Medieval Horse and Its Equipment, reviewed by Katrin Boniface
Riding for Caesar, reviewed by Miriam Bibby
Kingdom of the Workhorse, reviewed by Miriam Bibby
Horses, Oxen and Technological Innovation: The Use of Draught Animals in English Farming from 1066 to 1500, Review by Jordan Claridge

Published 2000-2010

Le cheval et la guerre du XVe au XXe siècle, reviewed by Kathryn Renton
War Horse: Mounting the Cavalry with America’s Finest Horses, reviewed by Katrin Boniface
My Colourful Life: from Red to Amber, reviewed by Anastasija Ropa
Breeds of Empire: The ‘Invention’ of the Horse in Southeast Asia and Southern Africa 1500–1950, reviewed by Hylke Hettema
The Warhorse in the Modern Era: The Boer War to the Beginning of the Second Millennium, reviewed by Jane Flynn
The Comanche Empire, reviewed by Christopher Valesey

Published after 2010

The Perfect Horse: The Daring US Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped By the Nazis, reviewed by Jeannette Vaught
Race Horse Men, reviewed by Charlotte Carrington-Farmer
Mr. Darley’s Arabian, reviewed by Katherine Mooney
Here Comes Exterminator!, reviewed by Eric Banks
A plaine and easie waie to remedie a horse’: Equine Medicine in Early Modern England, reviewed by Janice Gunther Martin
Bedouin Heritage, reviewed by Hylke Hettema
Horse Nations, reviewed by Kathryn Renton

Equine History Collective Annual Meeting 2018

Equine History CollectiveEHClogo
Annual Meeting Report
December 2, 2018
W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, Kellogg Room  

Officers Attending:
Katrin Boniface, President
Janice Gunther Martin, Secretary
Kathryn Renton, Treasurer

Meeting called to order at 9:13 am.

President’s Welcome and Report:
    Katrin Boniface presented and explained the goals and vision of the Equine History Collective: to make horses legible to other historians, bring people together to share research both in person and through our website and other social media, and to provide a point of contact for interdisciplinary collaboration. She noted that the EHC would not be possible without the scholarship and collaboration that have gone before. She then presented membership statistics: as of the meeting, the organization had over 90 members, with 16 countries represented, and many disciplines. The Facebook group, open to anyone who works in equine history, had 84 members. There is an active Twitter account, with 609 followers, used for research sharing, calls for papers, and as the EHC’s main way to reach people who are not equine history researchers. The Instagram account has 88 followers, and she welcomed volunteers to take over running the Instagram account. There are 144 subscribers to the website, greater than the number of members. The main features of the website are Member Mondays (profiling members), Source Saturdays, and Shelfie Sundays for book reviews. She welcomed submissions for any of these features to the website. The website also posts calls for papers, reviews exhibits and archives, and lists members. The conference resulted in a sharp increase in visits to the website in the month of November.

    She added that we would like to sponsor talks and lecture series. As part of a W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library lecture series aimed at undergraduates, she will be giving a talk based on their collections in the spring. Talks like these support the public-facing mission of the EHC.

Treasurer’s Report:
    Kathryn Renton presented on accomplishments of the Equine History Collective in the past year, funding sources, and needs going forward. She welcomed suggestions and ideas about organizations to whom the EHC should reach out. Kathryn had initially visited the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, met its director, Jéanne Brooks, and considered having the conference in its Kellogg Room. Then the conference grew too big. The University Library at CalPoly Pomona provided space and logistical support, with special help from Katie Richardson in Special Collections– home of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, which we toured on Saturday. The Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture & W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center supported the conference, and arranged the tour of the Horse Center following this meeting. The EHC also received grant funding from the Western History Association and research institutes at UCLA with which Kathryn had been affiliated. Equine-related corporate sponsors provided in-kind donations for the silent auction, like the SmartPak gift cards. The EHC has put together applications for large grants, and has been in contact with the American Historical Association and Agricultural History Association about building relationships, and we are open to other suggestions. Janice Gunther Martin organized the book table, and received a great response from publishers. The EHC set an ambitious fundraising goal in order to pay for travel costs for all speakers, and though we did not meet this goal, we were able to provide free registration. We have some money left over to cover travel costs for applicants, and will send out reimbursement paperwork. We started selling t-shirts in an inventory-free system, which we would like to promote. We opened a bank account at a credit union once we incorporated.

    She reported that in the future we would like to fund an annual conference, run an open-access journal, sponsor panels at other conferences, and assist equine history research through research stipends. We are hoping to get industry or corporate sponsors for panels or side events, and suggestions are welcome for potential organizations.  We would also like to update the WordPress account with additional capabilities, and use professional management systems to organize e-mail and social media.

    In terms of capacity, she explained that right now the EHC is run by three people. We need to clarify membership structure going forward, which will have financial implications, and are interested in feedback about the types of items and features that people would be interested in paying for. We would also like to write staff compensation into large grant proposals. Feedback on any of these ideas is welcome.

Secretary’s Report:
    Janice Gunther Martin provided background on the beginning of the organization. Kathryn, Kat, and Janice met over e-mail in May of 2016. After meeting other equine historians at Leeds, Kat created a website listing people interested in equine history and resources. We began discussing the idea of having a conference even back in May of 2016. Though the three of us had discussed other potential venues for the conference, Kat and Kathryn visited Cal Poly October 20, 2017 and the three decided to hold the conference there. Kat built the blog, we sent out the CFP, and had our first face-to-face meeting over Google Hangouts in January of 2018 to discuss the bylaws. The three met together in person for the first time March 16, 2018, and at this meeting Kat was officially voted the CEO, Kathryn the CFO, and Janice the secretary. The EHC gained official 501(c)(3) status in September, allowing us to open the bank account.

    Going forward, Janice noted that we would like a more professional logo and seal. She said that the EHC would welcome suggestions of graphic designers, or a volunteer with graphic design experience. She also said that we will need legal counsel going forward. Though the bylaws have been approved, the organization has grown enough so that we need outside assistance, especially for taxes and finances, and for the possibility of international events in the future.

Questions and Discussion

The floor was opened for general discussion. Full minutes will be e-mailed to members in the new year. Topics included:

  • Dates and locations of future conferences. The W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library will once again host the 2019 conference, tentatively the week of November 11.

  • Potential ways to expand partnerships with academics, the equine industry, and the general public.

  • An EHC-sponsored panel for Living with Horses was proposed. It was since been submitted, and accepted.

  • Nominations for President, Treasurer, and Secretary to serve 20202022 were opened. Nominations will close and a vote will be taken at Equine History 2019.

Meeting adjourned at 10:48 am.


Colleen Brady
Julia Crisler
Kristen Guest
Abbie Harlow
Masato Hasegawa
Kit Heintzman
Hylke Hettema
Philip Homan
Eloise Kane
Elise Lofgren
Alexandra Lotz
Monica Mattfeld
Erika Munkwitz
Richard Nash
Monica Rose Reilly Counihan
Amber Roberts Graham
Teresa Rogers
Tobi Lopez Taylor

CFP: Scientiae 2019

Early modernists, broadly conceived, take note! The next Scientiae conference will be held June 12–15, 2019 at Queen’s University, Belfast. Proposals for individual papers, complete panels, workshops, and seminars (roundtables) are due by December 30th, 2018, and should be e-mailed to For more information about submission guidelines and the conference, see

Scientiae is a recently formed, interdisciplinary, international community, which organizes an annual conference on early modern intellectual culture. From their website: “We welcome any and all scholars of the period’s literature, history, philosophy, music, print culture, social networks, and intellectual geography – in short, all scholars of early-modern intellectual culture – whose research finds a focal point in issues relating to the period emergence of modern natural science.”


#MemberMonday: Alexandra Lotz


Alexandra Lotz

Founder, Horses & Heritage
Ph.D. Candidate, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (GER)
M.A., World Heritage Studies
M.Sc., Building and Conservation Dipl. Ing. Interior Architecture


What got you in to history? horse history?

Horses and history are a combination of my two great passions. As child I visited Marbach State Stud, one of the oldest horse breeding institutions in Europe, for the first time. I think this is the place where the whole horse fever broke out, which since then is a decisive part of my life. Marbach became the place of all my childhood dreams and I visited as often as possible. During my school time I spent most of the holidays at the federal riding school of the stud but this wasn’t enough, I needed to have own horses. I did for 25 years, participated in a number of fantastic long distance riding tours in North Africa and Europe, was working as riding guide in Iceland, groomed top sport horses up to championship level in Europe and North America and am involved in the organization of one of the most prestigious traditional horse shows of Germany since many years.

My family supported my horse passion, but when I came up with the idea to become a professional rider my parents were not that enthusiastic. Thus, I studied subjects related to other fields I’m interested in: historic buildings, architectural conservation and cultural landscapes. I had the chance to spend a semester abroad at the University of Virginia and another one at Deakin University in Melbourne, participated in heritage workshops at Kakadu National Park and the World Heritage Centre in Paris where I also did an internship at the headquarters of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). During this time I learned about different concepts of heritage, about tangible, intangible and living aspects which often appear in combination.

Still being very much horse oriented it was unavoidable to apply what I learned to equestrian heritage. I finished my Interior Architecture studies with a thesis about the Brandenburg State Stud Neustadt (Dosse) and after my two Master degrees I moved to Marbach, where I set-up a network of historic state studs. For seven years I acted as manager of the European State Studs Association with the objective to preserve and to promote European Stud Culture. This brought me in touch with the leading historic breeding institutions of Europe, including the former Imperial Stud Kladrub, today the Czech National Stud, which became a focal point of my activities.

In 2016 I founded “Horses & Heritage” in order to raise awareness for equestrian heritage, which seems to be an often overlooked but absolutely essential part of human history.


Who is your favorite historical horse?

If I can name only one of all those wonderful horses who have accompanied humans in history, this is Bairactar, the favourite riding horse of William I. King of Wuerttemberg and the founding sire of the famous Weil-Marbach Arabians.

Bairactar - Litho unbekannt-600px


What are you working on now?

My current research project deals with the architectural heritage and the cultural landscape of Marbach State Stud in Germany. With more than 500 years of history Marbach is one of the oldest horse breeding institutions of Europe. The first written record dates back to 1514. The stud was established by the dukes of Wurttemberg as their court stud to provide a stimulus for the improvement of horse breeding in the dukedom. It is located in the south-west of Germany and is part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve for the Swabian Alps. Marbach includes 960 hectares of land, three stud yards and four satellite farms. Two of them have developed from secularized monasteries.

Generations of horses in their interaction with mankind have shaped the scenery and thereby formed a unique cultural landscape. The spacious stud premises, from administration and residential buildings, stables, barns, historic riding arenas to simple horses for herders at the remote summer stables, are registered as monuments as well as alleys, groups of trees, wells, bridges and open spaces. The architectural heritage is diverse. The origins of some buildings date back to the 16th century, but structures of the 19th century predominate.

During the second half of the 20th century extensive construction works changed the face of Marbach and at the beginning of the 21st century a master plan was developed in order to improve the infrastructure for the growing tasks in the fields of education, events and tourism. Different new structures and building alterations have already been realized, others are still in preparation.

Every development implies an intervention in the mature cultural landscape. Careful planning based on knowledge and understanding is essential to find adequate solutions. So far scientific work in connection with the stud has focused mainly on aspects of horse breeding and agriculture while the history of the stud premises lies largely in the dark. The objective of the dissertation project is to shed light on the historic connections within the Marbach cultural landscape and to explain its significance to lead to a better understanding for the future handling of this unique heritage. The Dissertation project is supervised by Prof. Dr. phil. Leo Schmidt at the Cultural Heritage Centre of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg.


Anything else you’d like to add?

Horses fascinate and inspire us through their beauty, their elegance and their character. They fire our imagination, symbolize freedom, strength and power. They are ambassadors, build bridges and connect humans across borders and generations.

Until a few decades ago the hoof-beat of the horse determined the rhythms of agriculture, transport, courtly representation, war and peaceful existence. Today, most people are not aware of the distinguished role horses used to play and accordingly they are not familiar with the cultural significance of the different breeds, their breeding places and the numerous evidences of the human-horse-relationship from prehistoric times onwards.

Horses & Heritage is addressed equally to stakeholders of the equine and the culture sectors, horse lovers and heritage enthusiasts. I’m tying to fill the gap between theoretical research and real life offering presentations, publications, advice in heritage management and interpretation. My “Horses & Heritage” tours to the most precious historic breeding institutions, riding schools, equestrian collections and other places of interest are increasingly popular.

You find further information and my contact data at If you share my passions, I’d love to hear from you!