Morgan Monday: Horse “Biography” Books

Remember when I thought I would post every Monday about my Morgan history project? Oh well. I’m slowly chipping away, anyway.

Right now, I’ve been thinking a lot about historiography, as in: how to structure and frame the narrative? What approach is the best use of the sources, the best way to tell the story, and the most thoughtful way to revisit important historical questions? How have other people framed their research and storytelling about equine history?

See, one of the hardest parts about writing a book about an animal is that – and forgive me if this seems stupidly obvious – animals don’t speak. They don’t communicate in any traditional sense, at least one that is captured by a typical primary source or historical document. That is doubly hard when you’re working on the story of an animal that lived in a time and a situation in which he was considered more or less disposable.

I’ve been assembling a list of books that are essentially biographies of individual horses, or in some cases horse breeds.

I’d love to hear of any more that you’ve read and would recommend. I need as many examples as possible to think about!

William Nask, Secretariat

Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit

Mim Eichlar Rivas, Beautiful Jim Key

Jane Schwartz, Ruffian

Elizabeth Letts, The Perfect Horse

Elizabeth Letts, The $800 Champion

Robin Hutton, Sgt. Reckless

Any others?

As a side bonus, when I was double-checking a few names & titles on Amazon (I am writing this on the road, not in front of my bookshelf at home), this book came up.


7 thoughts on “Morgan Monday: Horse “Biography” Books

  1. Walter Farley wrote a book about Man O’War that, though fictionalized for effect, was based in fact. I remember it being a really good book and devoid of any of the over-the-top effects that you know full well exist in the Black Stallion books!

    “Seattle Slew” by Steve Cady

    “Eclipse” by Nicholas Clee (haven’t read it, keep forgetting to get my hands on it)

    (BTW typo in first book above–author of “Secretariat” is William Nack, with a ‘c’ not an ‘s’. Only noticed because he used to write for Newsday back when I lived on Long Island, so his name is very familiar to me 🙂


  2. Battleship by Dorothy Ours and Renegade Champion by Richard Rust are both good ones. I’d be happy to send them your way if you want to read them. 🙂


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