Katie Richardson Joins the EHC Board

Katie Richardson has joined the EHC Board of Directors!

     Katie Richardson is the Head of Special Collections and Archives at Cal Poly Pomona. She was appointed to her current position at Cal Poly Pomona in August 2015. As the Head, she provides leadership in the management of the unit and develops a strategic and systematic approach to acquiring and maintaining historically significant collections that support the university’s mission (W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library, Pomona Valley Historical Collection, Southern California Wine and Wine Industry Collection, and University Archives). She manages access and reference services, outreach, instruction, exhibitions, digitization projects, preservation related issues, and donor relations for the unit. She oversees five full-time employees and numerous student workers, interns, and volunteers. Katie has worked extensively with rare book and archival collections in all types of formats. She has more than 10 years of experience in the archival field working in the academic, public, and corporate sectors. Currently, she is serving as Project Director on the 18-month NHPRC archival projects grant, “As California Goes, So Goes the Nation: Immigration, Agriculture, Public Policy, and Pop Culture throughout the 20th Century” which will conclude on March 31, 2019. In addition to her time at Cal Poly Pomona, she has also worked at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, and the Huntington Library. Katie has an MLIS from UCLA and a BA in History with a minor in Business Administration from SDSU. She is thrilled to be a member of the board!

Katie was instrumental in making Equine History 2018 a success, and we are glad to welcome her to the team!


CFP: Travel, Movement and Exploration in the Medieval and Early Modern World – MEMSA Conference, Durham (UK)

Call for Papers for the 13th Annual MEMSA Conference at Durham University on 11th-12th July 2019. This year’s theme is ‘Travel, Movement and Exploration in the Medieval and Early Modern World’.

13th Durham MEMSA CFP

The deadline for submission is Monday 25th March 2019.

We are looking for proposals of 200-300 words, for papers lasting twenty minutes to be sent to us at: memsaconference2019@gmail.com. Please find the full call for papers attached to this email.

MEMSA (the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association) is an interdisciplinary group of postgraduate students at Durham University. We accept paper proposals from postgraduate students and early career researchers working in any area of medieval and early modern studies.


Follow Equine History on Academia.edu!

One mission of the Equine History Collective is to establish a common historiography for equine history as a recognizable field of research. To this end, we have established an Academia.edu page for the Equine History Collective in order to generate a feed of articles and publications, and connect researchers with overlapping interests through the tag features. Follow us there!


Research Tags include: 

Animals in Literature; Animal Studies; Domestication; Equine; Equine Science; Equestrian Sports; Equestrian Nomads; Horses; Horse culture; Medieval History; Veterinary History; Zooarchaeology

Any other suggestions? 


Recent Titles to browse:

William T T Taylor, Investigating ancient animal economies and exchange in Kyrgyzstan’s Alay Valley

John Clark, Bibliography: early medieval ‘hinged’ curb bits

An annnotated bibliogaphy of early medieval “hinged” curb bits. This early medieval type of bit, first brought to wider attention in publications by Walter Gaitzsch, consists of two elements (often found detached): first, an upper frame, comprising a complex mouthpiece, mounted solidly to side structures, the cheeks, to which the head-harness would be attached; and second, pivoted to it and swivelling freely, a lower frame, usually rectangular, with attachments for the reins at the bottom. In some early examples the mouthpiece has a single long central rod ending in a knob that would have…

Darius von Guttner, Poland, Holy War and the Piast Monarchy,1100-1230

“Poland, Holy War and the Piast Monarchy” explores the evolution of the idea of holy war in medieval Poland. It examines the origins and practice of holy wars conducted by the Poles in the southern Baltic, the last bastion of paganism in Europe. The book traces the transmission of the idea of holy war to Central Europe and explains its impact on political and religious life in Poland. It takes account of the Polish missionary and crusading activity in Prussia, Pomerelia, and Pomerania. The book analyses the interplay between wars of conquest and holy wars and the emergence of the crusades…

Emilie Savage-Smith, Anatomical Illustration in Arabic Manuscripts. In: Arab Painting: Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts, ed. Anna Contadini [Handbuch der Orientalistik, I, 90]. Leiden: Brill, 2007, pp. 147−59 and Figs. 1-6

Katharine Mershon, The Theology of Dog Training in Vicki Hearne’s Adam’s Task

“The Theology of Dog Training” demonstrates the rich and surprising ways in which religion plays a primary role in how people make sense of their relationships with their companion animals. In the first sustained analysis of Adam’s Task in religious studies, I argue that feminist writer and dog trainer Vicki Hearne describes a form of relational redemption that allows for the restoration of a prelapsarian language between humans and animals; a recovery of a time before humans sinned against God and subsequently lost their authority over animals. Training, which begins with the act of naming…

Andrea Ford, Sport horse leisure and the phenomenology of interspecies embodiment

This article presents an auto-ethnography of the experience of sport horse riding. Drawing on phenomenological and anthropological theories of embodiment, I argue that the aspirational goal of sport riding is co-embodiment between horse and human, in which kinesthetic perception, intention, and volition merge. Co-embodiment requires time and practice to develop a shared multi-species culture in which bodies can be attuned to one another, and profound attention to both the immediate moment and the other being. I suggest that the interspecies component of sport riding, and the sport component…

Tom Tyler, The Rule of Thumb

The opposable thumb is commonly considered to be a unique and defining component of the human hand, itself the perfected endpoint of accumulated ages of evolution. Aristotle, Galen, Macrobius, Montaigne and many others have all sung the praises of this magnificent digit, which makes possible the indispensable variety of grips and grasps on which human supremacy depends. The anatomist Charles Bell argued that the hand evinces intelligent design, and that the superficial similarities of this incomparable appendage with those of other creatures are by no means indicative of homological…





#MemberMonday: Charlotte Carrington-Farmer

Charlotte Carrington-Farmercarrington-farmer-2-e1550123838192.jpg

Associate Professor of History, Roger Williams University

Ph.D. History, University of Cambridge

M.A. History, University of Warwick

B.A. History, University of Leicester

What got you into history, and into equine history?

It’s a cliché, but I’ve always loved horses and I’ve always loved history; so combining the two is a dream come true. As an undergraduate and graduate student in the U.K., I had superb mentors who inspired my love of early American history and the history of the early modern Atlantic world. Notably, Professor John Coffey at the University of Leicester, Professor Bernard Capp at the University of Warwick, and Dr. Betty Wood at University of Cambridge. I moved to the U.S. in 2012 to take a job as an Assistant Professor of early American history at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. Taking the job at Roger Williams University completely shaped the course of my career, not least because I’d written my undergraduate dissertation on Roger Williams (the man, not the university.)

Carrington-Farmer 1Up until to this point, I’d never heard of equine history, let alone thought about writing it. I considered myself a social and cultural historian. My Ph.D. centered on crime and dissent in early New England, and from this I published a biography of Thomas Morton. At this point, a few things happened simultaneously that led me to equine history. I discovered that my new home had a deep connection to equine history. Rhode Island was home to the first truly “American” breed of horse: the Narragansett Pacer. I instantly wanted to know more, especially how and when the breed emerged and why it became extinct. At this point in my career, I was looking for a new research topic and exploring the rise and fall of the Narraganset Pacer was the perfect fit.

I’d always owned horses, and I’d competed in working hunter and side saddle classes growing up in the U.K. Thus, I started my first piece of equine history investigated Rhode Carrington-Farmer 4Island’s own Narragansett Pacer. At the same time, I flew my own pony, Machno Cara, (a Welsh section C mare) from England to Rhode Island. When Cara crossed the Atlantic, my interest in Atlantic history and equine history came together in a way I could have never imagined. I started exploring how and why horses crossed the Atlantic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, specifically New England’s equine export trade to the sugar colonies in the Caribbean and South America. I’m now hooked on equine history!

Who is your favourite historical horse?

When working on my article, “The Rise and Fall of the Narragansett Pacer,” I came across a Narragansett Pacer that Rip Van Dam of New York (later Governor of the State) owned who was quite a character! When Van Dam’s agent tried to ship the horse from Rhode Island in 1711, the horse jumped overboard and swam back to shore. When Van Dam finally got the horse home, he wryly noted that he “always plays and acts and never will stand still, he will take a glass of wine, beer or cyder, and probably would drink a dram on a cold morning.” This was my kind of horse!

What are you working on now?

I just published an article entitled: “The Rise and Fall of the Narragansett Pacer,” in Rhode Island History, Winter/Spring 2018, Volume 76, Number 1, pp. 1-38. The article was accompanied by an exhibition of my research on the Narragansett Pacer, which was installed in the Providence Arcade from May to July 2018 by the Rhode Island Historical Society. I also just published a chapter entitled: “Trading Horses in the Eighteenth Century: Rhode Island and the Atlantic World,” in: Kristen Guest and Monica Mattfeld, eds., Equine Cultures: Horses, Human Society, and the Discourse of Modernity, 1700-Present (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.) At the moment, I working on a book project exploring New England’s exportation of horses to the sugar colonies in the Caribbean and South America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I have a sabbatical coming up next spring, and I’m looking forward to doing some more archival work in the Caribbean. I’m excited about integrating my research into my teaching, and I plan to develop a class on horses in the early modern Atlantic world at Roger Williams University.

Carrington-Farmer Image 2

Anything else you’d like to add?

Merging my love of horses and Atlantic history is something I never knew (or dreamed) was possible. However, doing equine history is not always pleasant, especially when looking at shipping horses across the Atlantic. I found this out when working on shipping log books at the archives at Mystic Seaport. Captain Henry Bowers recorded the horrendous conditions for the horses on a voyage to St. Kitts on the Brig Gleaner. When the main deck filled with water, “the Horses began to give out.” Within an hour, most of the horses were “unable to stand,” despite of the crew trying everything to keep them upright. The crew tossed part of the awning and fifteen bundles of hay overboard to try to ease the vessel, but to no avail. When a hurricane struck the brig, nearly all of the horses fell and were in a “drowning condition.” The crew then “cut…the dead ones up and threw them overboard.” Disaster continued when the starboard quarter was struck and the crew desperately tossed more hay overboard. The assault continued and the ocean made “fair breach” on all sides of the vessel, at which point the Gleaner lost all her fowls and pigs. A few days later, on 23rd January they lost another horse, which left only eighteen alive out of the forty-three they started with. The horses that were still alive were “very much chaffed” when they finally arrived in St. Kitts on 2nd February. When the horses arrived the sugar colonies they often had a very hard (and short) life; especially if they were draught horses crushing the sugar cane. Gruesomeness aside, I hope to add to the rich historiography on both Atlantic history and equine history by centering equines in the story of trans-Atlantic trade and sugar production.

#SourceSaturday: Narragansett Race Track archive (1934-1978) acquired by the Rhode Island Historical Society



The Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) has recently acquired the most significant, extant archive of nearly 30,000 negatives of photographs taken at (and by) the Narragansett Race Track (NRT) for over 40 years (1934-1978).  _JDK4646_1.jpgRichard Ring, the Deputy Executive Director for Collections and Interpretation at RIHS, recently gave a talk in January 2019 about the acquisition, highlighting some of exciting trackside images (which you can see here). The negatives are not currently accessible to scholars, as they will need to be digitized, cataloged, and properly stored for long-term preservation. However, there are plans in the works to make them available in the near future.

A Brief History of the Narragansett Race Track (Richard Ring)

In April, 1934 the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a law permitting horse racing with pari-mutuel betting. This was a system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; state taxes and the “house take” are deducted, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets. Walter E. O’Hara, a self-made Irish-born mill owner from Fall River, MA, began construction of the track in June and opened it in August—it took seven weeks and $1.2 million to build—sparking a Rhode Island story of sports, money, and politics. By 1937 the NRT was the most profitable racetrack in the country.

“Gansett,” as it was more popularly known, attracted crowds of 40,000 or more, including world-famous millionaires and celebrities. It became a gathering place for the glitterati of the late 1930s and 40s; millionaires like Alfred Vanderbilt; movie stars like Mickey Rooney, Jimmy Durante and Milton Berle were regulars, as well as star athletes like Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and singers like Bing Crosby and Cab Calloway all came to see and be seen, to play the horses, and to engage in the sport of kings.

An excellent article on the track and the political controversy surrounding it appears in “The Great American Racetrack War: What happened to the most profitable horse track in the country?” by Richard Farley in Town & Country (June 9, 2017).

#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!