What was the influence of Black Beauty?
In the novel 'Black Beauty' by Anna Sewell, we see the plight of horses who are at the mercy of their owners to protect and care for them. In Victorian times and earlier in England, people had learnt horse-caring skills generationally -with techniques and lore passed down through families father to son and so on. The aristocracy would of course have been able to use horses widely at their pleasure for travel, hunting and recreation. The horses would have been kept in the very best surroundings and fed well in order,partly, to protect the investment. However, Victorian times were also notable for bringing great social mobility to the classes which meant that successful merchants and 'trade' people from the lower orders were now able to afford the keeping of horses. Sadly, many lacked the skill and knowledge and a great many horses started off well in their expensive new accommodation but then failed to thrive due to neglect and ignorance.Some were even beaten and mistreated by new owners who did not understand them. After Black Beuty, new legislation was introduced to protect horses.