Human-horse relationships take the central place in this edited collection examining the horse’s perspective by asking: How are human-equine relationships communicated, enacted, understood, encouraged, and restricted? The contributors apply varied disciplinary methods as they emphasize comprehending horses not solely in terms of their functional uses, but also as impactful participants in relationships, whether more—or less—equally. By exploring the “who” of horses, The Relational Horse offers a better understanding of horses’ lived experiences and interests within the worlds they share with humans, and a way forward for human-equine studies that more equitably represents the horse in those shared worlds.
Gala Argent, Ph.D. (2011), University of Leicester, is a Lecturer in Animal Studies at Eastern Kentucky University and a trans-disciplinary independent scholar whose publications concern human-equine relationships in the past and present.
Jeannette Vaught, Ph.D. (2015), University of Texas at Austin, is a Lecturer in Liberal Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at California State University-Los Angeles. She is a lifelong horsewoman and publishes on science, gender, and horses in the U.S.
Gala Argent Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Humans and Horses in the Relational Arena
Gala Argent and Jeannette Vaught
part 1 Relationships, Communication, and Connection
1 Synchrony or Dominance? Equine Social Relations in Feral and Domestic Horses
2 Can You Hear Me (Yet)?—Rhetorical Horses, Trans-Species Communication, and Interpersonal Attunement
3 Reining-in the Vital Powers of Horses
4 Ceremony and Psychoanalytic Thought A Theoretical Framework for Exploring Horse-Human Relationships and Connection Joseph J. Lancia
part 2 Attributions of Equine Subjectivity and Agency
5 “The Steed Knew Well His Master Was Slain” Human-Horse Relationships in the Age of Heroes—the Scandinavian Iron Age Kristin Armstrong Oma
6 Barn Banter An Exploration of Anthropomorphism and ‘Equine-o-morphism’ as Agency Dona Lee Davis, Anita Maurstad and Sarah Dean
7 “Horses are Like Babies” Work and Skill in the Care of Racehorses Rebecca Richart
part 3 Sex, Gender, and Exploitation
8 Mareitude Misogyny in the Horse World Julia Johnson
9 Is it Sex if the Veterinarian Does the Work? The Problem of Pleasure in Multispecies Sexual Labor
10 Believing Ginger Revisiting Black Beauty During #MeToo Angela Hofstetter
part 4 Personhood, Property, and the Interspecies Family
11 Negotiating Power, Personhood & (In)equality in Elite Horse‐Rider Relationships
12 How Horses Matter in Eastern Mongolia Cross-Breeding, Gaited Horses and Relationships with the Land on the 21st Century Steppe Robin Irvine
13 Horses as Healers Shifting Paradigms and Ethics in Equine Assisted Therapies Arieahn Matamonasa Bennett
The Relational Horse’s introductory yet theoretically grounded approach will appeal to researchers and students of human-animal and critical animal studies, equine behavior and ethology, and practitioners across various equine professions.