|Les Sellnow: The Journey of the Western Horse -- From the Spanish Conquest to the Silver Screen|
Press (Hardcover), ISBN 1-58159-094-7
Horse lovers eager to read a general book on the topic of western horses would do well to read Journey of the Western Horse -- From the Spanish Conquest to the Silver Screen by Les Sellnow. Written in a conversational tone, Journey takes readers through the history of the western horse, starting with the horse's introduction into the western world via the Spanish conquistadores.
The term "western horse" covers a multitude of horse breeds, ranging from the Appaloosa to the Paint, Quarter Horse and Palomino. Sellnow discusses the western horse's role among the Native Americans, as a wild horse, the Great Migration of the 1800's and beyond. Lovers of history and horses alike will enjoy this book. While it does not go into great detail, it presents an intriguing picture of how horses helped shape the west, won our hearts in horseracing and entertained us in film and TV.
The chapter on the western horse's role in war (chapter 9) made for some great reading, especially since it highlighted the horses used by George Washington, Cornwallis and Robert E. Lee. According to Sellnow, "A horse made a soldier more effective. Not only did a mounted soldier have a physical advantage over a foot soldier because of mobility and the power of the horse, he also had a psychological advantage. The thundering charge of cavalry could strike fear in a soldier who had only two legs and, perhaps, a sword or lance on which to rely."
Sellnow, a lifetime horseman, has written extensively about horses. A regular contributor to the magazine, The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care, his other books include Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding the Young Horse.
Readers of this book should keep in mind that it is not meant to be an exhaustive history of the western horse, nor does it try to cover every issue affecting horses today, such as abuse inflicted on rodeo horses or horses being slaughtered for food. Sellnow's book acts as an introduction to readers on the basic history of the western horse we have grown to know and love. He accomplishes this task with great skill.
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