#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 http://www.horses-and-heritage.net. If you share my passions, I’d love to hear from you!

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#MemberMonday: Jeannette Vaught

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Jeannette Vaught
California State University-Los Angeles

American Studies PhD., University of Texas at Austin
English B.A., Minor in History, Vassar College 
Former equine veterinary technician . 

 

 

What got you in to history? horse history?
A lifetime with horses, a veterinary background, and the crucial discovery of STS while in an interdisciplinary humanities graduate program: it all came together that I could study the cultural history of equine science!

Who is your favorite historical horse?
Clever Hans — such a good boy.

What are you working on now?
A very slow-moving long-term project on the science, history, and cultures of equine-focused reproductive technologies in the U.S. [See a bit of this in the latest Humanimalia]

Anything else you’d like to add?
Incorporating agricultural history and animal studies into the fields of gender studies and STS is very important to me — I am always happy to find others to collaborate with and learn from! The photo is of me and my horse Dallas when we were both kids. We’re both much older now!

#MemberMonday: J.N. Campbell

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M.A. History

M.A. History of Decorative Arts

What got you in to history? horse history?
   I’ve always enjoyed thinking about it, discussing it, and wading into it. If you are lucky enough to have grandparents and parents that instill a sense of the past, I think that is grist for the mill. I went to the University of Kentucky for graduate school, and I drank the kool-aid, along with a bunch of hot browns and burgoo. I took jobs at the Kentucky Horse Park, and spent time at Keeneland. If I could have my ashes spread across the Haggin Course I would.

   Horse racing is such an important part of the American fabric. I think scholars, whether attached to a university or independents, like myself, can do much to shed light on the state of the sport. Honestly, I am concerned. The local track in the hamlet or even in the mid to large-size city is under attack. My hope is that somehow racing will not just be someday at a handful of tracks like Santa Anita, Gulfstream, or at the NYRA courses. We have to do all we can to lobby, cast our nets widely, and support the Sam Houston Race Parks and Turfway Parks in our universe too. Otherwise, its going to be pretty grim.

Who is your favorite historical horse?

That’s like asking which kid do you like the most. I am partial to turf runners because 330px-Wise_Dan_2012_03I truly believe that running on the grass is the way it should be. I know that sounds crazy, but the dirt just doesn’t do it for me. I got to see John Henry in person after he retired. But, all-time is Wise Dan. That record, his style, and just the way he battled back time and time again. It was impressive to witness.

What are you working on now?
  I just finished up this past summer a new brief on the history of the opioid epidemic. It is called A Time-Release History of the Opioid Epidemic, published through Springer’s History of Chemistry Series. This is the second brief (History of Aspirin was the first) that I have published with a good friend of mine who is a chemist called Steve Rooney. Writing together is a true joy and it has brought us closer together through some tough spots. Right now, I am focused on writing a weekly editorial for The Sports Haven. Long-term, Steve and I plan to complete a third volume on the history of Lasix and its impact on American thoroughbred horse racing. Stay tuned!

#MemberMonday: Mike Huggins

huggins
Mike Huggins
University of Cumbria

Ph. D., Lancaster University, 1999
Diploma in Reading Studies, Open University, 1988
Diploma in Management Studies, CNAA, 1986
MA, CNAA, 1983
Diploma in Religious Studies, Cambridge University, 1976
BA (Hons), Open University, 1975 (first class)
Certificate in Mathematics, National Extension College, 1969
Cert Ed, Durham, 1967

What got you in to history? horse history?
I initially taught in primary schools, specializing in reading, and later worked in teacher training and school inspection. But I did a doctorate on the nineteenth-century history of British horse racing to fill my time during the school holidays, and that motivated me to move into the academic world to teach leisure history.
Rather like Saul of Tarsus my conversion to horse history took a long time. I’ve never ridden a horse. Though amongst my many books are three on British racing’s history, covering the period from 1660 to 1939, including my most recent on the long eighteenth century, they’ve focused on cultural, social, economic and political themes and the debates about betting, and did not foreground the horses anywhere near as much as I should have. But I’m belatedly giving it more thought now.

Who is your favorite historical horse?Statue of Kincsem
Kincsem, the thoroughbred mare foaled in Hungary in 1874, is a favourite of mine, not least since mares can be overlooked. She won 54 races from 54 starts, many of them high standard, on racetracks across Europe, and later through her offspring influenced the breed.

What are you working on now?
I am currently exploring the cultural transfer and knowledge circulation of thoroughbred breeding and racing between Britain and Europe between 1700 and 1880.

 

#MemberMonday: Alexandre Blaineau

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Alexandre Blaineau

PhD European University of Brittany,
Greek History

What got you in to history ?
   I am interested on the civilizations of the Mediterranean sea, especially the Greek civilization, whose ways of thinking and culture are powerful elements of reflection.


In to equine history ?
   I started working on Xenophon before becoming interested in equine history. Then, the two equestrian treatises of the Athenian author were the object of my interest. My PhD was about horses and riders in Xenophon’s works. Equine history is a vast field of study because it deals with the history of technology, social history, economic history, social history, cultural history… I am convinced that we must work in interdisciplinarity to better understand horses as “actors” of history.

Who is your favorite historical horse ?
Bucephalus ! [A popular answer! Kat Boniface & Chelsea Shields-Más answered likewise]

What are you working on right now ?
I’m working on centaurs, and also the reception of Xenophon.

#MemberMonday: #EqHist2018 Keynote Richard Nash

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We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker for Equine History 2018, Dr. Richard Nash. His work likely needs no introduction, including “‘Honest English Breed:’ The Thoroughbred as Cultural Metaphor,”  in The Culture of the Horse: Status, Discipline, and Identity in the Early Modern World, one of the works that reinvigorated the field of equine history.

PhD, University of Virginia, English

What got you into history, and into equine history?

   I have only worked two places in my life: the university and the racetrack; my parents were both English professors who met in their first year of teaching at the University of Louisville at a New Faculty mixer at Churchill Downs.  As my webpage indicates, my developing interest in theorizing nature-culture hybridity as integral to understanding “modernity” directed my attention to combining my two lifelong interests by studying the role of the creation of the thoroughbred horse in early modern culture.  That project, once began, kept proliferating and generating more avenues for exploration, which I imagine I will continue to pursue for some time to come.

Who is your favorite historical horse?

   I am sure many will agree with me that this is an almost impossible question to answer; there are simply too many possibilities for different reasons, and my mood fluctuates too much, for me to ever settle on just one.  I will say that we tend to think of “historical” in terms of the distant past, but it also extends right up to the present.  More than any horse in my lifetime, American Pharoah arrested my attention every time he AmericanPharoah_AE-Lmoved.   No matter what I was doing, if someone sent me a video clip of him galloping– not even racing or working, but just galloping– I would stop what I was doing to watch it immediately, because he hit the ground so perfectly when he ran.  That sheer aesthetic pleasure in pure animal physicality is an important part of how humans admire horses.  But my historical work is grounded in the era of the foundations of the thoroughbred and of the sport; and my interest as a historian, has always been in recovering significant figures too long neglected by history.  I have several of those who I work on, in various ways, but let me mention two in particular. A horse named Buckhunter, but most often referred to as the Carlisle gelding ,was arguably the first important gelding as a racehorse.  Obviously, he left no lasting mark on the breed, but early in his career, he won important races at York; and while he changed hands frequently, working his way down the ladder of competition, he continued winning when placed at the proper level for nearly a dozen years, finally breaking down in his final start, and being buried entire,* near where he died.  In many ways, he set the type for an important– and difficult– part of the sport.  Arguably, the most important horse to the bloodlines of the modern thoroughbred is a mare named Old Bald Peg.  While her importance has been known for some time in at least a statistical way– if one follows both sides of the pedigree, not just sire lines, no name shows up more often in a foundational role– some of my recent research is directing me to an argument that the breeding program developed around her by Lord Fairfax was also profoundly influential on those near neighbors of his in North Yorkshire who established the protocols for developing the thoroughbred.  So, now I have managed to name an intact male, a gelding, and a mare, so I will stop here.  Though I could go on forever.

What are you working on right now?

   My primary contribution to The Heath and The Horse was to tell the story of the early years of the Jockey Club, which had long (mistakenly) been thought to have been created Screen Shot 2018-08-06 at 9.36.36 AMin 1751.  My work shows that the Club was founded in association with King George’s visit to Newmarket in 1717, and the events that followed from that– one way or another, we can say that we have just witnessed the 300th anniversary of the Jockey Club. That work is, itself, part of a larger story that I am working on about the intertwining of horse racing with cultural and political history in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries; while there will be some discussion of preludes and codas, the heart of my narrative focuses on roughly the 100 years between the Restoration of Charles II and the death of the Duke of Cumberland and the breeding of Eclipse a century later.  The piece of that project that currently engages my attention is the important era– for both horse racing and national politics– between the last years of the reign of Charles II and the succession of Queen Anne; and the process by which certain racing courtiers active in the sport during the reign of Charles negotiated the establishment of parliamentary monarchy, and how horse racing served a purpose of political theater in that process that would serve as a prototype for the founding of the Jockey Club by their immediate descendants.

Where do you see the field going?

   This question takes me back up to those theoretical questions where my project began: how do we think about modernity in relation to the question of nature and culture? How is such a set of theoretical questions necessary to re-thinking the anthropocentric stories of human history told by modernity, in order to develop better, more ecologically attuned historical narratives that see humans involved with other animals in a common history.  If the world we live in is not here for us, but rather includes us within it, then any proper historical understanding of how we came to occupy our current place in this ecology requires us to attend to more than just human actors. I think the future of the field is in contributing to a much larger transformation of thought, as we begin to learn how to think ecologically instead of anthropocentrically.

*This was a huge honor! See US Sport History: Death of a Hero for how recently it was unusual to bury a horse whole.

#MemberMonday: Jane Flynn

Toby at Marchington

Jane Flynn
PhD, ‘Sense and Sentimentality: The Soldier-Horse Relationship in The Great War’, The University of Derby (2016)
MA, Masters in Humanities by Research, The University of Derby (2011)
PGCE, English with Drama, The University of York (2000)
RSA Cert., Teaching English as a Foreign Language, The British Council, Hong Kong (1996)
BA, English Literature and Theatre Studies, The University of Leeds (1995)


What got you into history? Equine History
?

   I was introduced to ponies and riding when I was two. A local family would occasionally call my Mum and ask if I’d like to go out for a ride. Donned in wellies, my checky trousers and favourite “jazzy jumper” I was ready to go, and always beside myself with excitement. I remember Noodle and I demonstrating my trot (very bouncy) to my Mum and Dad, and how I could get off by myself. Noodle was an absolute star; a proper Thelwell pony who was wise beyond measure, but not without his cheeky moments! Since then little has changed – the ponies just got a wee bit bigger!

   This was the start of a life-long obsession I am now lucky enough to be able to combine with my academic work. I started off as an English Literature person, so my interest in Equine History really began with a steady trickle of the likes of Surtees, Somerville and Ross, Sewell, and Sassoon. It started turning into a historical interest when I found a copy of Glenda Spooner’s For Love of Horses at an antiques fair. The rest is history!

   The many wonderful (and very memorable) horses and ponies I have met and ridden over the years inspired me to do what I do now. Especially my old boy Toby, who taught me so much, gave me countless wonderful memories, and to whom I dedicated my PhD.

Who is your favourite historical horse?

   Soldiers often had their favourite horses, and it is they I immediately think of. They are too numerous to mention here, and I could write for hours about each and every one, but here are a few notable examples. Slogger earned his name, and the respect of the men in his unit, because he always tried his best. He was particularly admired for his ability to get waggons and limbers out of the mud when other horses, and even mules, would have given up long before. Lion was a mule who knew his own mind. It took four men to groom him, but for his driver he would do anything. Kitty patiently withstood all the noise and chaos around her. She featured regularly in the letters of the soldier to whom she had been assigned. He was clearly very fond of her; often expressing concern about her, or telling amusing tales of their adventures and exploits.

   Last, and by no means least, was a chestnut gelding called Songster.  Songster was a Songsterfirm favourite of the Leicestershire Yeomanry, and after the War became something of a local hero. He was affectionately described as having been “as artful as a barrowload of monkeys” – a character trait to which his survival of the War was largely attributed. After a long and active life (he hunted with the Quorn, and attended every Yeomanry camp until his last in 1935) Songster died at the grand old age of forty in 1940. Slogger, Lion, Kitty and Songster survive into modern memory, but only because they were remembered with such respect and affection by the soldiers who had known them.

What are you working on right now?

   I am currently working on a book project entitled Soldiers and their Horses: Sense, Sentimentality and the Soldier-Horse Relationship in The Great War. My proposal is under consideration at the moment, so watch this space!

Anything else you’d like to add?

   I will be presenting “The Pitiable Martyrdom of Man’s Faithful Friend: Portrayals of the Soldier and his Horse in The War Illustrated, 1914 to 1918” at the Artistic Expressions and The Great War conference at Hofstra University, New York, November 7th to 9th 2018.

   I will also be presenting “A Weapon in the Hands of the Allies: Transporting British Army Horses and Mules during The Great War” at the Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea conference, at The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, April 25th to 27th 2019.