Animal Studies Journal


[Review] Kristen Guest and Monica Mattfield, editors. Equestrian Cultures: Horse, Humans, Human Society, and the Discourse of Modernity. Animal Lives Series, University of Chicago Press, 2019. 276 pp. Differences in equestrian cultures have recently been brought home to me. My horse moved to a newly established yard which soon developed into one catering only for endurance racing horses. The horses were kept in small pens, only permitted into the stony field every second day. Human attitudes to the horses were functionalist with the horses always for sale to the highest bidder from the UAE. Galahad is back now at a happy hacking yard where the horses stand out all day, graze in green grass and function as a herd. One of his paddock mates, however, is a horse rescued from the notorious bush-racing. Horses, mostly stolen, are drafted into gang culture and raced at night near Cape Town. Three instances of horses living differently, yet always commodified as ‘products of modernity’ (1), as Guest and Mattfield put it in their introduction.