Reappraisal: Dark Horses And Black Beauties By Melissa Holbrook Pierson Essay, Research Paper
Four legs good Dark Horses and Black Beauties: Animals, Women, a Passion Melissa Holbrook Pierson ( Granta ) Melissa Holbrook Pierson would look to incarnate the innovator spirit. About four or five old ages ago she published The Perfect Vehicle, an history of her love for, and experiences of, Moto Guzzi bikes. Having one myself, I assumed it had more or less been written specifically for me, and so punctually made it paper-back book of the hebdomad. It was besides really good written: like many poets, Pierson writes ace prose. This book, nevertheless, is about Equus caballuss. I can be more dispassionate now, for Equus caballuss, every bit far as I am concerned, are either chilling, uncomfortable, or non fast plenty to the winning station. My ideal relationship with a Equus caballus, I decided some old ages ago, involved butter, Piper nigrum, a spot of lemon juice and a sauteing pan. Which is non an attitude I can prolong after reading Dark Horses. The thought of hippophagy is now barbarian, revolting. ( One of the facts we learn from this book is that all five equid abattoirs in the US are owned by Belgians. What & # 8217 ; s that all about, so? ) I suspect that a certain male imperturbability towards horses has to be connected, nevertheless tenuously, to a sense of green-eyed monster sing the privileged relationship adult females have with them. Cardinal to this book is the attractive force adult females, and misss, have for Equus caballuss. There are plentifulness of people who know about this sort of thing who will corroborate that adult females get on better with them than work forces do. One can conceive of that Pierson gets on really good with them so, from the manner she writes about them: & # 8220 ; They are a stirringly impossible mixture of power and daintiness & # 8230 ; They inspire fear even as they are filled with it themselves. They are wi
ld and they are utterly tamable…Even the males are pretty, as the females are powerful, and so horses seem to bear the same secret a little girl does about her own protean qualities even if the whole world would deny them.” That’s pretty much the tone of the whole book, by the way. If it is all a little too much for you, this soaring intelligence and lyricism, like Molesworth’s fotherington-thomas on smart drugs, that is a shame. Personally, I can’t get enough of it. It would seem to be the natural stylistic mode for what is becoming a genre: female poet writes about physical stuff. The first example I encountered was On Extended Wings, Diane Ackermann’s book about flying, but there are doubtless others. You can’t blame Pierson for getting carried away, though (and when she does, she carries you away with her). Dark Horses is as much a matter of feminist reclamation and assertion as of history and examination. “Riding is merely like flying or motorcycling or target shooting, in that female proficiency must be a matter of established record for several hundred years or the equivalent before it can be officially permitted, grudgingly and under duress. And precedents be damned, even if they are of ancient vintage.” Pierson, being a wishy-washy poet and not a hard-nosed zoologist, finds plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the notion that horses have minds. And not just minds – there is a story related here of the mare who saved a three-year-old girl from being trampled to death by a gelding – but telepathic minds. Pierson, when she is beginning riding lessons all over again with an instructor who promises to teach people to ride “in harmony with the horse”, is told not to pull on the reins to stop the animal, but to “think about [it] stopping”. It works. As does this book.