#MemberMonday: Marie-Eugénie Kaufmant

Marie-Eugénie Kaufmant 

le-cheval-au-theatreCaen University (France, Normandy), Professor of Spanish Literature of the Golden Age / ERLIS (Research team)

Associate Professor (maître de conférences), Brest University (France, Britany), 2005-2016

Accreditation to direct research (HDR), Paris-Ouest Nanterre-La défense University, 2015

PhD (2004), MA (2001), french « agrégation » in Spanish language (teaching accreditation, 2000) and BA (1998), Paris IV-Sorbonne University.


What got you in to history? Horse history?kaufmant

The horse led me to History, more exactly to the history of Spanish equestrian culture in literature. One of my earliest memories is the contact with an horse’s warm, odorous and reassuring muzzle! I spent my childhood , with all kind of animals, in the landscapes of Normandy’s Orne department, a well-known region of equestrian breeding close to the historical Haras du Pin.

This context and a passion for Golden Age literature and theater, mostly and both, explain my research interests, with a dissertation on Poetics of natural spaces in the comedia nueva (published in 2010, Casa de Velazquez, Madrid). My studies on open and natural spaces led me naturally to the important presence of horses in this Early Modern Theater. From space to horses, socio-dramatic mobility and equestrian symbolism in literature encouraged me to analyze, through dramatic texts, several aspects of the fascinating horse culture of the Spanish Golden Age and the Early Modern equestrian ideology, which are so predominant in these plays.

Who is your favorite historical horse ?

My favorite historical horse should be Babieca, the Cid’s one, because of the special adaptation of horse and rider with each other, perhaps the first literary, equestrian and historical couple of Spanish literature. But you might have gathered that I prefer mythical and legendary horses to historical ones. And, of course, my favorite mythical horse is Rocinante because of his foundational stature, since in Cervantes’s words and poetics, he is the first horse of all horses by name (Rocín-ante means ambiguously ‘old horse-before’), as the origins of horse literary history. It brings me pleasure to think that these mythical figures and their ironic names (Babieca and Rocinante) transcend the tragic fate of so many labour and war horses they can have represented historically. How many such warm historical and anonymous muzzles should have needed some affectionate care ?! In some way, I would like to believe that their tragic historical beings can be redeemed from anonymity and sublimed by the fascinating horse history and especially the literary one under the tutelary figure of Pegasus.

What are you working on now ?

According to the regional importance of horses in Normandy, one of the specialisms of Caen University is research on horses in all fields. Some colleagues from my research team ERLIS have already directed a seminar on horse culture in several linguistics areas (L’Imaginaire du Cheval). As a Profesor of Spanish literature, after the publication of my monograph (Le cheval au théâtre dans l’Espagne du Siècle d’or, Orbis Tertius, 2018), I am continuing my own research on horse culture and poetics in Hispanic literature and I am thinking about directing some collective work on horse history and literature in Hispanic fields.


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


#SourceSaturday: Fellowships Available the Kentucky Historical Society

khs fellowship flyer

The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) contains multiple collections of interest to equine history researchers, and offers short-term research fellowships for scholars. As Frankfort is conveniently located in central Kentucky, the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland Library, Ashland (Henry Clay Estate), and other potential places of interest are also accessible. The 2019 funding cycle deadlines are March 1 and October 1. For more information about the fellowship guidelines and how to apply, see https://history.ky.gov/for-researchers/research-fellowships/fellowship-guidelines/.

Collections of interest include, but certainly are not limited to:

Alexander Family Papers/Woodburn Farm
Stephanie M. Lang (Associate Editor, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, and Coordinator, KHS Research Fellowship Program) informs us that this is one of the largest collections at the KHS, and equine history scholars have found it to be of particular interest; research with this collection has included the development of Thoroughbred bloodlines, Civil War horses, and modern veterinary medicine. The letters with the horse image in the KHS fellowship flyer above are from this collection!

African Americans in the Thoroughbred Industry Oral History Project
From their website: “This series focuses on the experiences of African Americans working in the thoroughbred industry in Kentucky. The majority of interviews focus on backside occupations including hot walkers, exercise riders, and groomers. Other occupations include trainers, clockers, and jockeys. Interviewees discuss employment opportunities for African Americans in the racing industry, individuals they have worked with including owners and trainers, living conditions at the track, how they were trained in various occupations, working on horse farms, family life, race horses they have worked with, and the Kentucky Derby. Most of the interviews were conducted in Louisville with individuals who have worked at Churchill Downs.”

Frank Bradshaw Collection
From their website: Frank Bradshaw “bred, and showed saddlebred horses at many horse shows across America from the 1950s until the 1980s… This collection consists of photographs, both color and black and white, of Frank Bradshaw and his work as a breeder, trainer and shower of saddlebred horses. Several of the photographs are of him and a horse he was showing in a horse show. One of the most famous saddlebred horses he showed was ‘My My.’ The collection also has 0.5 cubic feet of manuscripts that were mainly his business records regarding breeding and training horses on his horse farm. There are also several periodicals relating to horses, horse shows and the saddlebred horse world. Frank Bradshaw and the horses he showed are included in several of these publications. There are also rare books and pamphlets related to horse shows and saddlebred horses.”

Ronald Morgan Postcard Collection
This collection contains about 11,000 Kentucky postcards dating from the late 19th century to the present, and includes a variety of horse postcards.

#CFP: Gender and Horses

     In 2015 the fashion magazine Vogue placed US Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, on its cover. Captured by well-known fashion photographer Seven Klein, voguePharoah’s stylized portrait saw him classically situated before a white background, his side to the viewer, and with a garland of roses draped over his withers. The public outcry was immediate. Instantly equating the horse’s body with those of the human models in the magazine’s pages, many readers considered his lean, Thoroughbred shape ‘sickly’. One reader argued the editors had ‘altered the photo to reduce him to nothing more than some of the anorexic models featured in your magazine’. Similarly, another reader questioned whether ‘horses have to be as skinny as models nowadays? Awfull!! [sic].’ However, other readers quickly came to Pharoah’s defense, and using the language of body positivity often called upon to resist the fashion industry’s ideal body shape for women, quickly called for his critics to ‘#stopbodyshaminghorses’.

     The Pharoah controversy immediately equated the (male) horse with the feminine – a Thoroughbred of the racing world with the thoroughbreds of the modeling industry – in a gendered mixing of animal and human bodies. Such mixing is not unique, and is a ubiquitous component of human-horse relationships over time. However, the relationship between human and non-human gendered bodies, their performativity, and identities has only recently come under scholarly investigation. As a result, this book collection seeks to continue the discussions on horse-human gender and gender performance begun by such works as Monica Mattfeld, Becoming Centaur, Donna Landry, Noble Brutes, and Karen Raber and Treva Tucker, Culture of the Horse. It will explore horse-human interactions (and intra-actions) from a theoretically knowledgeable viewpoint, while offering new perspectives on how human and animal gender was created, experienced and performed.

Possible paper subjects can include, but are not limited to, the following:

– definitions of ‘performance’
– femininity and feminization of horse/human
– masculinity of horse/human
– material feminist perspectives
– female equestrians over time
– gender and identity
– gender and politics
– case studies of horse-human relationships

     We invite papers that explore the role and ‘intra-action’ of horses in gender from all time periods, from a wide array of geographies and contexts, and from multiple disciplinary perspectives within the humanities. Papers that explore horses and gender in non-Anglocentric equestrian cultures are especially welcome. Please send abstracts of not more than 300 words along with a brief biography, also of not more than 300 words, to Kristen Guest (kristen.guest@unbc.ca) or Monica Mattfeld (monica.mattfeld@unbc.ca) by March 30 2019.

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 http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/equus-story-of-the-horse-about/16877/. 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: equinehistory@gmail.com! 

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