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Equine Athletes and Interspecies Sport

This article draws on a range of sociological literature including studies of sport, subculture, interspecies relationships and animal advocacy to understand the social processes that have contributed to the horse being defined as an athlete in equestrian sports. Using a combination of qualitative interviews and archival analysis, we identify trends in the equine industry that have provided the foundation for the emergence of a new type of equine athlete – the sport pony – in the context of late modern societies. We conclude by arguing that the popularity of the sport pony is a reflection of a general trend within the equine industry placing value on athleticism and esthetics.