July 20, 2019

Deeply Human Animals

“Whenever she can get away, Lisa Hanawalt, the illustrator behind the Netflix animated series “BoJack Horseman,” escapes to a barn to visit her real horse, Juniper. She leads Juniper on runs around a riding arena, braids her beach-blond bangs and trots her through the neighborhood, where she is greeted by many admirers. Juniper is a Norwegian Fjord horse, which looks like a regular horse that has been smooshed into a shorter, thicker, cuter horse. When I arrive at the barn, which is tucked into the hills of Griffith Park, Hanawalt introduces her with a wry intensity. “This is my daughter,” she says. “This is my beast!”

Juniper is looking extra cute today. She is having her picture taken, so Hanawalt has brushed her coat and picked the debris from her hooves. Hanawalt strolls Juniper easily down the middle of the street, but as she tries to coax her into a lush meadow, Juniper freezes. “She’s afraid of seeing another horse,” Hanawalt explains. “Social anxiety.”

When Juniper finally agrees to step onto the grass, she urgently plunges her face into it, chomping passionately until her jaw is overstuffed with uprooted weeds, which she grinds into a frothy, Nickelodeon-green ooze that sloshes happily from the corners of her mouth.”

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