In Nature’s Metropolis, historian William Cronon illuminated the tight relationship between cities and their hinterlands when market relations mediated flows of products between them. Thus, he notes, a ‘rural landscape which omits the city and an urban landscape which omits the country are radically incomplete as portraits of their shared world’.1

Nineteenth century cities drew heavily on their hinterlands for food to feed their human populations. The same hinterlands, however, also provided the flow of hay, oats and corn to feed the city’s horse population, without which cities could not function. And, over the course of the century, just as food production for human populations in the largest cities shifted further and further west, so did the growth of feed for their horse populations.