Jan 9, 2018

The Horse in the West

A Comprehensive Picture History
by Bradley Smith

An older, large book full of photographs, that I picked up from a library sale. It's not quite what I expected. There are horse stories, but they're very brief, told in a reporting kind of style. It's a history of several horse breeds and how integral they were to the development of the Western area of the United States. The Arabian, Thoroughbred, Appaloosa and Quarter Horse. Mustangs are mentioned here and there. Quite a bit of early American history, how horses were brought overseas and introduced to the Native Americans, their importance in Native cultures and later in the book, the singular Appaloosa breed among the Nez Percé tribe. It's a lot about where certain breeds originated, great sires, the stud books, and what makes good conformation. I learned some about racing, rules regulating betting that made the sport legal again (it was banned as immoral during the early 1900's). I thought the section on Quarter Horses would have a lot about cutting horses, their skill working cattle and showing in rodeos. But really that part of the book seemed focused on how Quarter Horse racing differed from Thoroughbred racing. The pictures are fine, but nothing spectacular. I skimmed through a lot of the specifics on breeding lineages, admired the photos and am ready to put this book on my swap shelf. It would have been nice to see the artwork of appaloosa horses mentioned in the final chapter, but the descriptions were accurate enough I could find some examples online.

Rating: 2/5            253 pages, 1969

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