Tuesday, October 4, 2016
If Wishes Were Horses by Susanna Forrest
“Horse-heaven, and a must-read for any woman
whoever hankered after a pony.”
If Wishes Were Horses:
A Memoir of Equine Obsession
"Susanna Forrest grew up in the 1980s near Norwich, and like many a girl, she yearned for a pony. She was never to get one, but this didn't stop her becoming obsessed with all things equine. If Wishes Were Ponies is the story of that all-consuming interest, and of the author's nerve-wracked attempts later in life to ride once again.
However, as Susanna Forrest's journey unfolds, it leads her to horse-obsessed princesses, recovering crack addicts, courtesans, warriors, pink-obsessed schoolgirls, national heroines and runaways across the ages. From girl-riders of the Bronze Age, to lavishly adorned equestrian Victorians and twenty-first-century children on horseback in Brixton, she explores the development of this Pony Cult from its earliest times to the present day. Alternating between Berlin, London and Norfolk, urban, suburban and rural, Susanna Forrest visits gymkhanas and pony shows, horse refuges and inner-city riding schools, acquainting herself with fabulous figures such as Alice Hayes, a medical missionary turned horsebreaker who was the first woman to ride a wild zebra, and a fragile and fierce old lady called Hope, who today carries a knitting bag full of painkillers for her old riding injuries. In doing so, she takes to the saddle once more and rediscovers her own riding legs in this frank, eclectic and captivating memoir of an ever-changing equine world."
I'm the author of If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir of Equine Obsession, published by Atlantic Books in 2012. I began researching the book late in 2004 after I moved to Berlin. I'm currently working on a second book for Atlantic called The Age of the Horse and blogging all sorts of random and fascinating things about horses, humans and history.