Who is Ginger in the novel Black Beauty?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ginger, a pretty chestnut horse, is the stablemate of Black Beauty while he lives at Birtwick Park.

After Black Beauty grows to adulthood, he is sold to Squire Gordon in Birtwick Park. There he lives with Merrylegs, a "cheery, plucky, good-natured little fellow," and a couple other horses. Ginger and Beauty are with each other most of the time, so she and he get to know each other well. Ginger tells him that she was mistreated quite often; when she was first in contact with men, they handled her roughly.

As she continues her history, Ginger tells Beauty about having to wear the bearing rein, which forces the horse to keep its head high in a fashionable pose for pulling carriages. However, the bearing rein is unnatural and causes the horse severe pain in its neck. This mention of the bearing rein is one of the main reasons Anna Sewell wrote her novel; she was strongly against this cruel device as well any cruelty to horses and other animals.

Ginger eventually settles down at the Gordons' place. But after Mrs. Gordon becomes ill and they move away, Beauty and the others are sold. Beauty does not see her for some years, but one day as he endures some hardship, he sees poor Ginger pulling an old cab. She is thin, her joints are swollen, and she looks pitiful. Later, Beauty sees a dead horse and he hopes it may be the end of suffering for Ginger.

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