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Because of Horses

Jan 19, 2018

Elise’s guest this week is science journalist and author, Wendy Williams. Her writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including; Scientific American, Science, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Audubon Magazine. She is a lifelong equestrian and is legendary for her love of horses. In her New York Times best-selling book, The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, Wendy chronicles 56 million years through extensive research and her conversations with horse experts from around the world, revealing how our biological affinities and differences help to define the horse/human bond. She shares her belief that horses and humans are bound to one another in a way that is somehow encoded in our genes.


Join Elise and Wendy today, as they dive into the rich history of horses, discussing their evolution, the connection between horses and humans, and how civilization has been affected through culture and language. They also discuss and take a look at Wendy’s views on the evolution of training horses, her insights into the nuances of the horse/human relationship, and the horse's future as the world becomes more mechanized.


Topics of Discussion:

[1:51] What stood out to Wendy during her research and conversations with experts for her book, The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion.

[2:50] 56 million years ago, horses were the size of the average household cat.

[4:13] How writing her book changed Wendy’s views of horses

[6:26] The similarities between horses and humans through a common evolutionary ancestor.

[7:53] Wendy’s suspicions on what humans have yet to learn about horses.

[10:38] Why Wendy believes it’s now time to view horses’ free-roaming behavior, systematically and over the long term.

[15:35] Where horses come from and where they evolved.

[21:00] How Wendy sees our relationship with horses evolving in the future.

[22:40] The challenge of being unbiased in the science world.

[26:14] The evidence that shows how people have always been fascinated by horses.

[29:31] How horses have been instrumental in our own culture and language.

[32:45] The adaptability and resilience of the horse.

[35:25] The nuances of the horse/human relationship.

[39:17] How Wendy views the evolution of training horses where people are trying to be more in tune with their horses.

[41:58] Wendy’s thoughts on how horses have evolved due to human intervention.

[46:54] Wendy’s insights into the current Mustang battle between conservationists, politicians, ranchers, and horse lovers.

[54:36] Why Wendy thinks people love horses so much and how some people are born with the "horse-loving gene."

[59:53] How Wendy came to write about horses.

[1:08:14] Wendy’s last notes on the future of horses and where to find Wendy and her books online.


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Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Wendy Williams

Her books on

Twitter: @TheNobleHorse


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, by Wendy Williams

Scientific American


The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times

Christian Science Monitor

Audubon Magazine


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