Have you read Black Beauty?

Kathleen Walker-Meikle’s book, The Horse Book, has some background on the well known book Black Beauty. I loved this book as a child and thought I could share what she says about it here.

The novel Black Beauty was written by Ana Sewell ‘to induce kindness , sympathy and an understanding treatment of horses’. Sewell, who was disabled from a young age, became dependent on horse-drawn transport and respected the horses that did this work. The book was a strong call against contemporary cruelty to carriage horses. She particularly took against the bearing rein, which forced horses’ heads up high into an uncomfortable but fashionable position. The book became an international bestseller when published in 1877. It is narrated by Black Beauty, the horse, whose adventures as a carriage horse form the basis of the novel. Other horses that make an appearance include the cab-horse Captain (an old war-horse who had been ridden in the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava.), a cheerful pony named Merrylegs and the tragic Ginger whom Black Beauty last sees as a broken down cab-horse and then dead in a cart.

Kathleen Walker-Meikle

I think it would be fair to say that every person who loves horses has probably read this book. It does not sugar coat the plight of horses in Victorian times. Have you read it ?

36 Comments Add yours

  1. kunstkitchen says:

    “Black Beauty” was a book many times as a child. An unforgettable story that makes me emotional even today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Rab says:

    Excellent book! Classic! A book all kids need to read! It touches more than emotions, but walks in the soul.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it does. Thanks for this comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes many years ago, I only really remember the grief I felt & that I wondered what the author had seen, it was beautifully written & I related to it as I always had conversations with animals still do, lol. I watched the movie a long time ago but once was enough. Thankyou for the insight into the author. I have an elderly friend whose father was disabled & he got around everywhere with horse & carriage very caring man his father.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment. I’m glad you found something of interest you could relate to in the post.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Avery says:

    Can you believe I have never actually read it?! I have several different versions of it. Of course seen the movie countless times and some of the other movie versions. I did get it on audio book the other day and am going to listen soon! I did not know that history behind the story.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. JD says:

    Count me as another who has read it. A friend read it to his young 8 year old daughter. He had trouble with the archiac writing style, but his daughter loved the story. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes the language was different then but I’m glad the daughter liked it despite the old world language.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that book! I feel bad for the horses that are abandoned by owners after their useful life is spent in service

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is so sad.

      Like

  7. Sarah Davis says:

    It has been a long time since I read it, but I still think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lesley says:

    I’ve only seen the film, the one with Elizabeth Taylor in it. That was when I was a child (ages ago!) and I’m not sure how true to the book it is. I haven’t read the book, but I will now. 😀

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      The book is a good one. The film with Elizabeth Taylor was National Velvet I think and a different story but still a great film

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lesley says:

        You’re right, I’m getting them mixed up! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          No worries. National Velvet is a classic horse story and a wonderful one

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Emma Cownie says:

    I loved this book although to be honest, as a child, I spent more time looking at the beautiful colour plates in my version than actually reading it. The fate of Ginger absolutely broke my heart. I couldn’t bear that part.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is not a happy end for poor Ginger. That upset me as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. dprastka says:

    YES! I’ve read it and it was only until recently I learned of it’s author and her bringing the plight of horses to light. You bring even more insight as I didn’t know she was disabled. I must say though my favorite horse stories that I devoured were all the Black Stallion books series. 🐴❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think Black Beauty is a social commentary on Victorian England . Realistic and not light hearted. I only know the Black Stallion movie. But what a great one that was!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Robyn says:

    I did! But by accident. When I was a kid I loved the movie The Black Stallion and I wanted to read the book. I picked up Black Beauty thinking it was the same, and it wasn’t, but still good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      The Black Stallion is also a wonderful story.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I never read any horse books, but I love to do. I will write and keep this book name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a classic book and gives you a good picture of life in Victorian England. Well worth reading !

      Like

  13. Yes, read it as a child. The beginning of my life long love for animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Camryn says:

    I’ve read it and I’ve seen the Warner Brothers’ movie of it. It was one of the movies I watched over and over when I was young. I also watched Flicka, still one of my favorites to this day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Ah yes! Flicka was a good one too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Camryn says:

        I always loved the western theme of it… and I might have been slightly obsessed…. 😅

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Sirri Rimppi says:

      The WB black beauty film was one of the most cherished films of my childhood, even more so than the book of some reason

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Camryn says:

        It was very beautifully made, I remember loving the big open pasture that they showed in the beginning with the pond and Black Beauty laying next to it!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I have not 😦 Just found a copy at the library. Will read thanks to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That’s great. It is a classic. And also

      Liked by 1 person

      1. anne leueen says:

        Oops got cut off. Also worth considering that this is seen as a children’s book. I think nowadays books for kids are easier going in terms of life’s realities.

        Like

  16. KShai1715 says:

    One of my favorites! Read several versions of it growing up, and have seen several movie versions from the animated one to really badly done ones to the greatest movie version – the 1994 version.

    The book is beautiful, the story is so sadly true…even now.

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it is a sad story in many ways. I’m am sorry to say that there are still horses, donkeys, and mules in some parts of the world who are worked to death and not well treated. But in many of these places entire families depend on their equine for their livelihood. I am a supporter of the Brooke . This is a charity that helps people in developing countries to look after their horses, donkeys or mules better and to educate them on how to care for them. They don’t rescue these animals but will give veterinary care if necessary.

      Like

  17. Yes! Read it as a child and have seen various movie versions as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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