Fergus the Horse, the world’s most famous cartoon equine, is a “Social Media Celebrity,” sharing his daily meanderings, nickers and naps with over 300,000 Facebook fans, waxing poetic, pondering the philosophical, and garnering laughs by turns. Through all adventures (and misadventures) he is entirely authentic: the quintessential “Everyman’s Horse” with a herd of buddies eager to test their theories of humans and why they do what they do.
In October of 2015, Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) published Fergus the Horse’s first book, a treasury of his comic strips and greatest online hits. THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE was an instant success, promising more published fun with Fergus and his gang in the years ahead.
Following the holidays and before a planned trip south with his creator (artist and horsewoman Jean Abernethy), Fergus granted his first ever media interview and graciously divulged a little of what goes on when the computer is shut down for the night and he can take a break from answering fan mail.
Your creator Jean Abernethy modeled you a little bit after a favorite horse she owned when she was in high school. How do you feel the adventures you have had with Jean compare to the adventures she had with her “real” white-faced gelding?
FtH: She and that gelding were kids together. Their world was small then, she says, only encompassing a little farm in a rural neighborhood. They knew every inch of the roadsides, and back lanes of farms where the footing was good enough to go really fast. He seemed to enjoy it, too, and was never in a hurry to get back to the barn. There was freedom to explore the countryside in all seasons. She still tells me inspiring stories about waking up that gelding late at night in winter, and riding out into a bright snowy landscape, lit by a full moon, and how the horse’s footsteps made a bright “squeak” in the snow. I know that whether you’re a colt or a kid, that kind of inspiration stays with you forever.
The adventures she and I have had since then have traversed a broader world. We’ve been far and wide, visiting barns, trails, forests, cities…we’ve visited professional horses and equestrians of different breeds, sports, cultures, and climates. We don’t ride as fast as she and that gelding did back then, but we go further.
Do you like your name? How did Jean come up with it?
FtH: I’m very proud of my name. Jean says her grampa was named Ferguson Abernethy, and that his friends called him “Ferg.” I like the name “Fergus” because it gives me a place to look for a missing shoe.
If you could hand your book to one horse or human celebrity, who would it be?
FtH: I would like to give my book to Black Beauty. He lived through some rough stuff, at a time in history when horses really had to work hard, and forgive a lot of humans, just to survive. He did a good job, and thank heavens, ended up with a decent retirement. I would like to reassure Black Beauty (and the millions of horses who worked like he did) that life is getting more fun for horses…that a human, laughing, can break the ice in the hardship. If Black Beauty could see us today, he would see that humans are a better source of humor now, than at any point in our history!
Read the complete interview with Fergus the Horse at http://horseandriderbooks.wordpress.com.