“Horses are the survivors of the age of heroes.” (Theodor Adorno)
With the Melbourne Cup on today, the Race that stops a Nation (and in particular, the State of Victoria), and The Varnished Culture jaded by the whole thing (P hasn’t made money on the cup since Gold and Black), we thought a tribute to cultural nags would be nice.
They feature heavily in painting of course, from pre-history (above) and beyond:
And sculpture even more:
Horses have been acting humans off the screen since the medium started:
Though some of the equine roles can be unusually challenging:
Then there’s the horse in literature. The most interesting recent example is Something for the Pain: A Memoir of the Turf by Gerald Murnane. And see also the Four-Legged Lottery by Frank Hardy.[Without necessarily wanting to weigh-in on an emotive topic (on which we have no expertise), there has been a considerable imbroglio recently concerning jumps racing (hurdles and steeplechases). Yes, falls are hard to watch, and jumps are intrinsically dangerous to horses (and riders) but then life is intrinsically dangerous. As the character, coincidentally named Ryder, observes in John Godey’s novel, The Taking of Pelham 123, “If you won’t take a risk, you have to give up breathing, too.” We guess that if jumps races were banned, the hurdlers, not much good for racing on the flat, would end up in tins of dog food. Any self-respecting horse would freely choose the risk, and the thrill, of the race.]
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