Bright colors and ornate furbelows flash in this survey of horsey fashion through the ages.
The vague topic and Patent’s accompanying commentary—being noticeably thin on specifics—come off as pretexts for an album of portraits for coltish horse lovers. Unfortunately, Brett doesn’t pick up the slack, as both horses and human figures posing in her flat paintings are drawn with unfinished, generic features, and the various blankets, braids, straps, plumes, fringes, saddles and pieces of armor on view are neither consistently identified nor displayed to best advantage. Grouped by function, the gallery of 14 examples opens with war horses (including armored steeds from an unspecified period of the Middle Ages and an Egyptian chariot confusingly paired to an Assyrian scenario set several centuries too early). It then goes on to portray horses trained to dance, race or compete in never-explained ways as draft teams. Following a final batch duded up for parades or, in ancient Scythia, ritual burial, a pair of labeled portraits, one of equine body parts and the other of standard tack, is shoehorned in.
Even readers mad for all things horse won’t give this more than a quick graze before galloping off to richer pastures. (index, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 9-11)