• Kathy Troxler

A Magner & Whistlejacket Morning!


One of the perks of living "back east" is that there is no shortage of used book stores and, of course, Mike and I are always combing through them looking for horse and art books to add to our collection— the older the better! I picked up this book, The Classic Encylcopedia Of The Horse a long time ago, simply because the cover jacket featured George Stubb’s painting of Whistlejacket, one of the first "equine art" blog posts that I ever researched. I added the book to the shelf and never cracked it open until a couple of days ago and what a treasure it is! It was written by Dennis Magner and originally published in 1887 (under the title of The Standard Horse Book). As the forward by Catherine Riley sums in this 1980 reprint of the 1895 edition, the modern reader needs to consider the perspective of the author and the times in which he lived; and era in which the automobile was still just a gleam in the eye of madcap inventors, and in which the horse was still supplying a lot of the "horse power" that made the world go round. With careful reading you will see that while quite a bit of the information is about how to safely restrain difficult horses in a safe way, there is equal emphasis on rewarding and positive reinforcement! I’m still picking my way through the book, which is well worth the time not just because it's interesting reading but also to simply admire the quality of the illustrations in the sections on Shoeing and Diseases.

Detail from The Encyclopedia  of the Horse by Dennis Magner

For now, I’ll leave you with this little treasure found on page 27 under Preliminary Remarks, a section dealing with individual temperment!