The media and the news aren't full of the best topics right now. We are right there with you when we say it's hard to read them every day. So we wanted to change things up a bit, and share some of our all-time favorite stories.
During these unknown times, it has been very easy to get sucked into watching the news nonstop or scrolling through our phones for hours on end. A positive message and distraction is something that we all need right now. Which is why we picked this particular topic for our first blog of the month. To break up the multitudes of articles and blogs you've been reading about the current situation, we wanted to share one about some of the world's most famous literary horses, what their stories are, and what their history is. Sometimes, you can't always find yourself in the comfort of a saddle riding through the best horseback riding trails in Charleston. Sometimes you have to turn the pages of your favorite books, and that's alright. They will be here to keep you happy and comfortable until we can see you again!
BLACK BEAUTY By Anna Sewell (1877)
There are many of us out there who believed that Black Beauty was a real horse and based on a true story. Some you might still believe that today. With his amazing popularity and renown, it's hard to imagine a world without Beauty, even if he just lives in the pages of our most beloved children's book. Remember too, Beauty is the one telling the story. As much as we LOVE the idea of a real talking horse, they are still just in our storybooks. The book is credited as one of the first major animal stories in children's literature, and we all know why. Beauty himself narrates the story, as we said before, and the book is the story of his heroic life. It is the story of a well-born and well bread horse living in a world before cars and most modern technology that we know today. The amazingly brave, strong, smart and obedient Beauty is sold to a very cruel master, after his happy early years. Under the hands of this cruel master, he collapses from ill-treatment and overwork. Thankfully, Beauty recovers under a new master who loves him dearly and lives an extraordinary life after this rescue. Not only is this a beautiful story, but it was also one of the first to teach the importance of kindness towards animals and about animal welfare. Black Beauty is sited as the most famous horse story ever written and is it is still very popular to this day. It is one of the best selling books of all time, having sold over fifty million copies. There have been multiple TV shows and mini-series, movies, theatrical adaptations, and a musical recording adaptation made by Walt Disney about or inspired by Black Beauty.
MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE By Marguerite Henry (1947)
This four-part book series was written between 1947 and 1992, inspiring many others to continue the Misty legacy in their own books. Even before many of us read Black Beauty, Misty and the many books written by Marguerite Henry were the first stories about horses we read and fell in love with. The story begins in Virginia in the mid-1900s. The island the story takes place on has become home to several wild horses who came from a Spanish ship that sunk in the 1300s. The horses made their home on the beaches and became wild after being left alone for generations, and have become a staple of this story's little town. Paul and Maureen, our two main characters, want to be apart of rounding up these wild horses to sell or train as the rest of the adults do in their town, but since they are so young they have been allowed to. The famous wild horse, Phantom, has never been caught by anyone in the town and happens to be the prize Paul and Maureen have their eyes set on. Against all odds and through many trials and tribulations, they round up Phantom and her foal, Misty. Paul and Maureen finally gain Phantom and Misty's trust and allow them to be ridden. Paul trains Phantom to race and wins to the pride of their town and their grandparents. Guilty with the knowledge that Phantom wants to run free again, Paul and Maureen let her go, while Misty wishes to stay behind. This beautiful story is a coming of age book in many ways and continues to hold onto this beautiful theme through the full book series. Have you read them all?
THE BLACK STALLION By Walter Farley (1979)
This series of books was written for the adventurer and daydreamer alike playing make-believe while we were growing up, or for those still daydreaming today. The first book that started the adventure was about a young boy named Alec. While sailing around West Africa, Alec befriends a beautiful stallion on board. When the ship sinks, Alec saves the horse by releasing him from his stall and they swim to a nearby island. When they are finally rescued after forming a very tight bond, Alec insists that his horse be reduced too. They go to America, where after training, the stallion is now called "The Black". The horses are entered into his very first prominent race and wins, breaking a world record while doing so. This incredible book proved that nothing can get in the way of your dreams. The following books in the series are about his three children, his life beyond that of the first book, and introduces many other incredible horses along the way. Even though Black Beauty was sited as the most famous horse story ever written, the New York Times has described The Black Stallion as "the most famous fictional horse of the century." There have been three movie adaptations and one TV adaptation of the book. The first two books in the series, along with the last were all adapted into the three movie adaptations. In total, there were twenty books in the series written over more than 40 years. Some of the books were written by Walter Farley's son, Steven has also written his own Black Stallion novels, which are not included in the original 20 book series. Which one was your favorite?
What is your favorite book or story about a literary horse? Is that where you came to find your love of horses for the very first time? Are the pages of these stories where you went you couldn't ride or visit your horse? Are these books ones you've shared with your family or plan to in the years to come? We hope you take comfort in their pages now, and they are getting you excited to ride with us again! When this is all over, we can't wait to take a trail ride with you on the best horseback riding trails in Charleston and in South Carolina!
Middleton Place Team