Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.
–John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
I am a reader – I always have two, three, sometimes four books on the go. There’ll be something light, easy fiction to waste time in an airport. A horse textbook of some description, and something technical, on coaching, or physics, or anatomy, or philosophy or, or… And so, when asked about a book, it’s always tricky – oh, where to start?
One of my first favourites, obviously, was Black Beauty, way back when. I recently found an old copy of it, and re-read it, just to see. It’s like sitting down to tea and conversation with an old friend.
We read it now, almost 150 years after it was written (1877) and are fairly horrified at some of the things in it. Taking horses into war. Carriage horses hauled up into a frame with bearing reins. Horses working as pit ponies. All things that most people now are not so happy with.
(Yes, bearing reins still exist, now, more politely called overcheck or side check, but hopefully (naïvely?) they aren’t over tightened as they were for poor old Black Beauty).
But, as I was reading, I wondered, if someone re-wrote Black Beauty now, what would people in 2170 be thinking?
Rolkur, or LDR jumps up. Is that as bad as sending horses into war? Cranking shut nosebands, the need for blood rules at competitions? Western classes and races for 2-year olds? Will riding horses at all be frowned upon – there is already a group of people who say that any work on horses is cruel and unnatural. Will we even still keep horses as companions, or will the only horses be those who live wild? Will there still be horses at all, the rate our green spaces are being consumed. Or, will we still have them, but only living in high rise apartment type blocks.
If books can truly change the way we think, can we not take a few lessons from Anna Sewell. What worries you now, that will be looked at in a few years to come, and have our descendants asking, just how did they get away with that???
So, what else is on my list?
What’s on your list?