‘Horse Crazy’ Dives Deep Into Lost Stories Of American Equestrians

The sounds of Texas.

By Joy Diaz & Caroline CovingtonSeptember 14, 2020 1:46 pm, ,

New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir loves horses – so much so that she wrote a book about them: “Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love With an Animal.” But Maslin Nir’s love is deep seated. Horses helped her heal from the hypervigilance that plagued her after a traumatic knife attack. A horse also helped her father, as a young boy, escape to safety from the Germans during World War II. Those experiences compelled her to investigate equestrian stories that have been left out of American history.

“One of the things I probe in the book is who do horses belong to? They’ve been wrapped up in Americana and elite trappings, and the truth is that they’re Democratic, that horses are part of a much broader American story than we’ve ever been led to believe.”

“In  my book, I explore stories of equestrians who were erased from the American narrative. And I was particularly inspired by one Black cowboy, his name is Larry Callies, and he used his life savings to found the Black Cowboy Museum in Rosenberg Texas.”


“Larry said to me, ‘Sarah, when I wore my cowboy hat, the white kids in school would say, “You’re not a cowboy.” And the Black kids in school would say, “What do you think, are you a white guy?”‘ And he said, ‘I’m a cowboy, who’s the son of a cowboy, who’s the son of a cowboy.”


“The first winner of the first ever Kentucky Derby was a Black man. In front of Churchill Downs, where the storied Kentucky Derby is run every year, there is a bronze of Secretariat, the Triple Crown winner, galloping with a rider on his back. And there’s also a bronze of Aristides, that first winner of the first-ever Kentucky Derby, but there’s no rider on that horse’s back. And I assure you that’s because that rider was a Black man, and he was removed from the story.”

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