Human-horse relations transgress the boundaries between rider and horse, researcher and researched, certainty and uncertainty. This presents profound ethnographic challenges. Presenters will explore their responses to these challenges.
The human horse relationship is much more than a palimpsest for the study of communities, societies, social theories, articulations of identity or encounters with a non-human other. Yet it often perceived as exactly that. Rather, it is a focus of research which, by its nature, subverts certainties, crosses the boundaries between subject and object, and makes us critically question both difference and similarity. It transgress the boundaries between rider and horse, researcher and researched, certainty and uncertainty. This presents profound ethnographic challenges. Out of the intersection of human and horse comes a myriad of insights into the rich, messy, often contradictory multiplicity of meanings each relationship inspires and embodies. Attempts at ethnographic endeavour must wrestle with everything from non-representational theory to necessarily experimental representational strategies dealing with embodiment, emotion and contingent failure. Further, most who research the human-horse relation are themselves biased - they are driven by their own relationships with horses. This session welcomes those who practice these multiple and mixed ethnographies to reflect on their practices -- their challenges, opportunities and in particular, the necessity of allowing the contingency of transgressive embodied practices to muddy the waters -- and to share them, both with each other, and with the wider anthropological community.