“Black Beauty” is the compelling story of a rare black horse that won people’s hearts. Before reading the story I had never thought how much animals must have suffered over the centuries and still do, from cruel treatment by men. The author describes these cruelties that animals and especially horses undergo, in minute detail, and the true accounts that she gives are not flattering to men. It makes one realize the weight of responsibility we have towards God’s creatures. The author was exceedingly fond of these noble creatures and wanted to write a book not to amuse people or show her remarkable talent at writing a story. On the contrary, her aim was to raise awareness about the ill-treatment of horses.

During her lifetime she witnessed the horrid and repulsive ways that horses were treated and undertook to write a novel where she would squarely expose the wickedness and carelessness of men. And she manages to get her message across pretty well, by some very graphic and lively descriptions which at times become hard to swallow. The truth of the matter is that, humans have more than often failed in their duty to other living beings. The writer severely criticizes and condemns the lack of compassion, kindness, common sense and civility toward horses. I was much troubled for example when I read about the lasting effect that the laying of the whip may have on a horse, especially when a man is drunk or violent and callous. I was profoundly impressed by how much good it does to stroke and pat a horse gently and kindly. I was appalled by the size of our stupidity and imbecility since we would sooner follow fashion which dictates that a bearing rein must be put on a horse, regardless of the fact that it makes a horse suffer a great deal and shortens its life. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with the term just as I was, let me tell you briefly that a bearing rein is a fixed rein on a horse attached to a carriage which causes its head to be held high in order to look attractive. The horse couldn’t pull weight with its head up especially when going uphill and if the bearing rein was used for a long time it could result in the horse’s sickness.

Inside the book you are highly likely to fly into a rage by such other mistreatments of horses but the author records the good side of men as well and that is relieving and reassuring to the reader. Despite our weaknesses and wretchedness we still have the ability to love, to show kindness and to take care of others. Overall, it’s an excellent read and you should definitely find a way to read the novel. It will change your outlook on lots of things and especially animals.

Last but not least, I would like to say a few things about the author of Black Beauty. Her name was Anna Sewell (1820-1878) and this is the only book she wrote. She was from England. She was passionate about horses and her impressive knowledge about them is overt throughout the book. It is said that she never used a whip on her own horses. She died five months after her book was published and unfortunately she never got to see the success that it achieved.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is a charitable organization that has recommended the book.

Proverbs 12:10: A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal…