Tiffany Francis-Baker explores how the relationship between humans and horses has shaped the British landscape, how horses have captured our wild imaginations, and how this connection has evolved and become part of our nation’s ecosystems. Many of us enjoy walking on a bridleway. These ancient networks are familiar to walkers and riders and crisscross the British countryside, but we rarely stop to think about how these old routes came to be.
In The Bridleway, Tiffany Francis-Baker examines our relationship with horses and ponders how they have become part of our nation’s ecosystems. From atop her horse, Tiffany discovers how horses are woven into the fabric of British culture, from street and pub names to trading routes and coaching inns. As she investigates how horses have shaped British landscapes, she offers a glimpse into the intriguing history of the bridleway.
Along the way, Tiffany visits a horse fair and learns about Traveller communities. She explores the role of equestrian sport and inclusivity, sees rewilding in action on the Knepp Estate in Sussex and undertakes detective work to uncover ancient bridleways lost to time and meet the closest living ancestors of the truly wild horse.
Part-domesticated and part-fiercely independent, horses can teach us a lot about our landscape and help us understand nature and our place within it. Except for the dogs and cats we choose to share our homes with, we have allowed horses far deeper into our society than any other animal. And as Tiffany investigates why horses have captured Britons’ attention, she reveals how deeply rooted they have been in our culture for thousands of years.