The Book Stall
Horse People
Writers and Artists on the Horses They Love

Horse People
Writers and Artists on the Horses They Love
edited by Michael J. Rosen
Artisan, 2002

Dick Francis, Jane Smiley, Diane Ackerman and Gretel Ehrlich are among the 43 artists and writers who contributed to this anthology celebrating horses and their owners.

The collection is exceptional for the quality of the writing and the diversity of its artwork, which ranges from prints from a video entitled "Sparky Moves to Manhattan" to paintings  by Latvian artist Ivars Heinrihsons.

In Puissance, Jane Smiley writes about overcoming her fears:  "After 20 years I resumed horseback riding. The moment was Proustian--I walked into a stable and smelled the sweet, sour, green, moist, richness of muck and it filled me with longing."

Henry Taylor writes about training a jumper and Franz Lidz interviews the horse racing novelist Dick Francis. There are reflective pieces by Michelle Huneven, Gretel Ehrlich, Lucy Grealy and Jo-Ann Mapson about horses who impressed them deeply. And there's Gary Gildner's account of his first ride on horseback as a boy.

The essays, which cover a wide range of human-horse relationships and emotions, are both enlightening and inspiring. Even those who have never been in a saddle will be drawn in by the artwork and stirred by the writing.

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Horse People
Horse People

Soon it would begin: a slow wraithlike materialization of horses. Roans, chestnuts, bays, blacks, pintos, buckskins. Silent at first, then occasional whinnies  -- like heraldic trumpets. Drawn by the sweet feed. We'd be surrounded by gently snorting horses, shuffling towards us like patients in a hospital ward. Sometimes they'd play at being spokked and shy away if you tried to pat them, but usually they just came forward and bumped you with their muzzles. There we'd be, surrounded, lightly buffeted by these nearly mystical creatures -- the soft whoosh of their breath, the smell of horse, the friendliness of it all."
-- Candyce Barnes
Boots, Saddle, To Horse, and Away!


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