How Eastern Horses Transformed English Culture
Johns Hopkins University Press 2009
This is a book about horses. Donna Landry‘s Noble Brutes: How Eastern Horses Transformed English Culture (The John Hopkins University Press, 2009) is all about how horses were a means of cultural exchange between the Orient and England. More than just exchange- there was theft and diplomacy as well.
Over two hundred horses were imported into the British Isles from the Orient between 1650 and 1750. Some of these, like the Bloody Shouldered Arabian, became cultural icons in their own right; the others spawned a whole industry of horse traders and trainers, breeders and riders- a whole equestrian sub-culture, in fact, one that was moreover celebrated in art and verse, and not just in the racing hubs of Newmarket and the far off outposts of Empire, where enthusiasts plotted how to get hold of the best the local equine stock had to offer.
So it was more than just genetic strains and riding styles that were affected by this influx from the East; these horses in fact helped create a way of life that is now seen as quintessentially English.