Black Beauty, Flicka, Secretariat, National Velvet, Misty of Chincoteague, and all the rest—horse books are a genre unto themselves, occupying an entire shelf (or more, should you add the 112 books in The Saddle Club series) of girls’ bedrooms everywhere. For all of the girls who lived and breathed horses (on the page or in the barn), the infatuation meant something that is difficult—or even embarrassing—to explain outside of the stable. Horse Girls, edited by Halimah Marcus, the executive director of Electric Literature, smashes all the stereotypes you might hold about riders and the way they relate to their horses, with diverse essays from the literary likes of horsewoman Jane Smiley and aspiring horse girl Carmen Maria Machado.
Go beyond the episode:
- Horse Girls: Recovering, Aspiring, and Devoted Riders Redefine the Iconic Bond, edited by Halimah Marcus (read her introduction here)
- “I Hate Horses” by T Kira Madden, excerpted from the book
- “How Horses Helped My Ancestors Evade Colonizers, & Helped Me Find Myself” by Braudie Blais Billie, another excerpt
- “Horse girl energy” (and all the memes) explained
- Though during the pandemic many people turned to riding—during which riders stayed six feet apart long before social distancing—horse fever has a long history
- Our host outed herself as a horse girl once before, in an interview with The Age of the Horse author Susanna Forrest
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
Download the audio here (right click to “save link as …”)
Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org. And rate us on iTunes!
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