From the authors of several animal anthologies (Cats of Myth, 2000, etc.), a feeble ode to equines. Hoping to get at the heart of the “secret sharers of our soul,” the Hausmans collect legends and lore from around the world that contemplate the relationship between humans and horses. Some of the tales are engaging (“The Horse of Antar” pays spirited tribute to an Arabian), and some of the anecdotes are interesting (Jimmy Stewart rode the same horse in every Western), but the prose is poor and filled with stereotypes. The Arabian horse is hot-blooded like “her master”; the vaquero’s blood “held centuries of wisdom”; and an American mustang, Comanche, “presents an ancient paradigm—one that is as old as the sharpened point of steel.” So . . . about 200 years old? While the volume is billed as folklore, the authors clearly aren’t folklorists; among other mistakes, they erroneously conflate a Greek and a Navajo myth simply because both contain a horse motif. They do better when they focus on an individual animal or specific tale, such as the Thoroughbred, with a mouth so soft she could unscrew the lightbulb above her stall and drop it into her water bucket.
Even the most ardent equestrian will have a hard time slogging through this trite collection. (24 b&w illustrations)