#EqHist2018 Sponsors: Cowboy Magic


    In the final weeks up to #EqHist2018, we are running a series of posts to highlight our fabulous sponsors. Today we’re looking at Cowboy Magic. They have generously donated a detangler and greenspot remover– key items in most groomers’ kits– to our silent auction.


#EqHist2018: Brian Tyrrell on Breeding Thoroughbreds in the Post-Genomic Era

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters.

“Future Perfect: The Thoroughbred in the Post-Genomic Era”
Brian Tyrrell, University of California, Santa Barbara

With $15 million of funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers at the Broad Institute and contributors to the Horse Genome Project sequenced the genome of Twilight, a thoroughbred mare owned by Cornell University. The Horse Genome Project promised insights into curing some of the 90 genetic illnesses horses share with humans, but almost immediately after the sequencing of the genome, commercial firms sold the science as predictive. Thoroughbred breeders, long obsessed with genealogy, began reading DNA forward instead of backward. Building off Elizabeth Finkel’s elaboration of biologist Eugene V. Koonin’s “postmodern synthesis,” I argue in this paper that genomics became a universal language for a globalized breeding industry and that genomic breeding promised certainty for a fundamental unstable enterprise. In the 1980s, breeders, particularly those from Ireland and the United Arab Emirates, paid astronomical sums for Kentucky bloodstock. Wall Street bankers created syndicates and hedge funds for investing in thoroughbreds, and the market expanded to create the Bluegrass Bubble. Genomic testing emerged as a solution to a crisis of overproduction. The story of the molecular breeding suggests a relationship between risk and a resurgence of genetic determinism. Genomics promised insulation from the vicissitudes of biology and economy. While good horses still bred poor runners and the market behaved irrationally, the discourse of genomics gave the illusion of security.

#EqHist2018: Chris Goodlet on the D. Wayne Lukas Collection at the Kentucky Derby Museum

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters.

“Take the Limits Off”: The D. Wayne Lukas Collection at the Kentucky Derby Museum
Chris Goodlett, Kentucky Derby Museum

     In the spring of 2017, Thoroughbred racing Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas announced that the Kentucky Derby Museum would be the permanent home of his racing collection. At approximately 1,300 items, the collection documents the career of an innovator among Thoroughbred trainers. Lukas was the first trainer to have a true coast-to-coast racing stable with large numbers of horses and staff persons, a move that received both praise and criticism from the industry. His methods have, so far, produced 14 Triple Crown victories, 20 Breeders’ Cup wins and 26 world champion Thoroughbreds. He has mentored some of the country’s top trainers, including Todd Pletcher, Dallas Stewart and Kiaran McLaughlin.

     A study of the D. Wayne Lukas Collection provides material evidence of the changes in Thoroughbred training that transpired in the latter part of the 20th century. Among the questions to be considered are as follows: what were the characteristics of Thoroughbred training prior to Lukas, how did Lukas innovate and change modern Thoroughbred training and what have these changes meant for the current state of the sport and industry? Additionally, from the public history perspective, how does the Kentucky Derby Museum interpret and communicate these stories to its audience.                               

     In this presentation, Chris Goodlett of the Kentucky Derby Museum, will share images from the Lukas Collection and discuss the new 2,200 square foot exhibit that will open in the fall of 2018.

#EqHist2018: Alexandra Lotz on European State Studs

All month long we will be featuring speaker’s abstracts for the upcoming Equine History Conference: Why Equine History Matters.

European State Studs: Values, Significance, Potential
Alexandra Lotz

     The European State Studs derive from a time when horses played a vital role in transport, agriculture, military support and the representation by monarchs and members of important families. Thinking about the wide‐ranging relevance of horses in the past, it becomes evident why farseeing rulers founded not only royal studs for their own representative purposes, but also state studs to improve the quality of horses in their kingdoms. The quality of horses was a decisive factor for the
productivity and military successes of a state.

     After the motorization of transport, agriculture and war the amount of horses and with them the number of breeding institutions declined. Many have been dissolved, some are still under the authority of the state, some have been turned into foundations or run as private enterprises. The surviving state studs are not only places of animal production, they are living heritage sites preserving different forms of tangible and intangible heritage.

     At present, the European state studs are changing under the pressure either of the horse sector or of their political authorities. They are in a period of new orientation and re-structuring. When carefully managed, the studs can provide useful reference for challenges relating to sustainable development in rural areas. Their cultural landscapes can retain clear evidence of their historical origin, while maintaining an active role in society and economy. They can help understanding the quality of rural space for the preservation of cultural heritage, the protection of biodiversity and the quality of life of
the population.

Find Alexandra Lotz here.

#EqHist2018 Sponsors: UCLA 17th & 18th Century Studies

     In the final weeks up to #EqHist2018, we are running a series of posts to highlight our fabulous sponsors. Today we highlight the Center for 17th & 18th Century Studies at UCLA. They sponsor fellowships, workshops, and conferences (like ours), and also now offer a certificate in Early Modern Studies for UCLA graduate students across disciplines. They are currently running an international project, including exhibits and research, on empire, colonization, and the development of the modern transnational world. Check out “Making Worlds” here.