These horses of literature may not be real, but you'll probably wish they were.
For many equestrians, their love of horses started with a book. They met an equine hero within its pages and imagined what it would be like to own such a horse, to ride such a horse.
While there are countless books with equine main characters, here are six timeless equine heroes that any equestrian would love to have in their stable.
Introduced in 1877 in the classic tale of the same name, Beauty is perhaps the best-loved equine character of all time. Author Anna Sewell lets Beauty narrate his own story of life in 19th century England, and we learn a lot about him as he navigates numerous jobs, homes, and owners.
Beauty is calm when other horses are nervous and forgiving where other horses are not. He is gentle, versatile and, of course, beautiful. Basically he is the kind of horse every rider wishes they had.
His story became one of the best-selling books of all time and also helped bring positive changes to the state of animal welfare. Who wouldn't want to own a horse like that?
Made famous in Walter Farley's 1941 book "The Black Stallion," The Black was called "the most famous fictional horse of the century" by The New York Times.
A black Arabian stallion, The Black becomes stranded on a deserted island following a shipwreck, along with a young boy named Alec. He and Alec form a special bond, and after their rescue Alex helps The Black go on to become a champion racehorse.
Most horse lovers already dream of owning a gorgeous black stallion; if they owned The Black, they would own a champion one.
Thanks to the 1947 children's book "Misty Of Chincoteague," the world met Misty, a chestnut and white pinto who introduced many animal lovers to the wild ponies of Assateague Island. Better yet, unlike most of her contemporaries, Misty was real.
The story is still fiction -- she was born on a ranch in Chincoteague, not in the wild on Assateague Island as author Marguerite Henry portrayed in her beloved book -- but Misty the character is definitely based on a real life filly of the same name, and has been charming generations of readers with her penchant for mischief ever since.
One of the first things equestrians look for in a horse is that elusive quality known as heart. That's probably why so many have fallen in love with The Pie, the main character from Enid Bagnold's 1935 book "National Velvet."
The book's main character, Velvet Brown, becomes obsessed with winning the Grand National steeplechase with The Pie. As a 14-year-old girl and a horse of no special background or breeding the two are most certainly underdogs, but thanks to Velvet's stubborn belief and The Pie's exceptional ability and heart the two go on to greatness.
It's no wonder riders across the globe have dreamed of finding a horse like The Pie!
Shadowfax has galloped through the imaginations of horse lovers everywhere since his introduction in J. R. R. Tolkein's "The Lord Of The Rings" in 1954, and it's easy to understand why. Called "the lord of all horses," Shadowfax is a magnificent creature with a silver-grey coat and a number of special abilities.
The mount of choice for the great wizard Gandalf, Shadowfax is possessed with incredible speed. In the movie adaptation of the book, Gandalf is able to ride him without saddle or bridle, and he can even understand human speech.
As a bonus, he has a pretty fantastic name.
C.S. Lewis introduced the haughty but lovable horse Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-ha, or Bree, in "The Horse and His Boy" in 1954. Adventurous, smart, and a bit arrogant, Bree is a talking horse who meets up with a boy named Shasta and escapes with him from Calormen and into Narnia.
While arrogance is not an attractive quality in humans, it is somehow irresistible in horses, both real and fictional, and Bree is no exception. Readers everywhere have been taken by his conceit, vanity and insecurity, as well as by his grudging affection for Shasta. "Narnia and the North!"
These authors were dreaming big when they created these equine heroes, because these six horses have it all: courage, talent, charm, heart, power, and wit. Now if only they could trot right out of those pages and into our lives...