What is Merrylegs's experience with the boy in Black Beauty?

Quick answer:

Merrylegs's experience with the boys in Black Beauty is very unpleasant. They use hazel sticks for riding whips and beat the horse much too hard. Eventually, Merrylegs rears up and lets them slip off, teaching them a valuable lesson about the correct way to treat a horse.

Expert Answers

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Merrylegs is generally a good-natured horse, who doesn't mind giving rides to children. It's always a joy for Merrylegs to give rides to girls, and he's always extra careful to ride as smoothly and quietly as possible when they seem a little frightened or unsteady.

With boys, however, it's different. Merrylegs tells a story about a rather unpleasant experience he had with a couple of boys. As always with boys, they treated the horse like a steam engine, believing him to be capable of going as long and fast as they pleased. The boys weren't being deliberately cruel; they were just ignorant. But it was still very uncomfortable for Merrylegs when they started beating him with a hazel stick, which they used as a riding whip.

These boys clearly need a lesson in how to treat a horse properly, and Merrylegs is just the horse to teach them. He does this by rearing up on his hind legs and letting one of them slip off. When the boy tries to get back on the horse, Merrylegs does the same thing again. The same fate lies in store for the other boy. When the other boy mounts the horse and starts using the stick, Merrylegs lays him on the grass.

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