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Modern horsemanning
A modern example of horsemanning

Horsemaning was reportedly a popular way to pose in a photograph in the 1920s in which the illusion of a beheading was created.[1] The horsemanning photo fad derives its name from the Headless Horseman, an evil character from Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".[2][3] Soon after its rediscovery later in the 20th Century, a series of horsemanning photos began trending on sites like Buzzfeed and people got inspired to recreate the original fad. Horsemanning began experiencing a revival in mid-2011, along with other photo fads such as planking and owling. All three fads were considered among the top 10 Facebook sensations of 2011.[4]


The objective of horsemanning is to make it appear that the photo’s subject has been beheaded. Horsemanning requires two individuals, one situated with one's head hidden (e.g. tilted backwards) with the other hiding his or her body and exposing only his or her head.[5] The resulting photo appears to show a headless body with a disembodied head lying beside it; in fact, it consists of one person's body and a different person's head.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History influencing Pop Culture and strange archival discoveries". Ohio Historical Society Collections. 
  2. ^ Ngak, Chenda. "LOL-worthy "horsemaning" photos". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  3. ^ "Horsemaning Replaces Owling with 'Headless Horseman'". International Business Times. 2011-08-12. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ Balasubramanyam Seshan (2011-12-26). "Top 10 Facebook Sensations of 2011". International Business Times. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  5. ^ Bee-Shyuan Chang (2011-11-21). "No Sag Yet for Planking". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  6. ^ Christine Friar (2011-08-09). "Horsemanning Is The Latest Photo-Posing Trend". Huffington Post.