Lifelong horse enthusiast and author Gayle Stewart recently celebrated the release of the second edition of her book, 100 Horses in History. Gayle is a recipient of the Pegasus Award from the United States Equestrian Federation, commemorating outstanding service in attracting people to horses and horse related sports by advancing their popularity. 100 Horses in History features horses and ponies that have helped shape society, including some Arabian horses.
(Emma) Tell us about yourself and your history with horses?
(Gayle) I grew up in Oklahoma and my family had horses of all kinds. I started out riding Saddlebreds, and we had Quarter Horses, showed them, competed in rodeos, swam with them in lakes. We did have an Arabian colt at one time, but we were really too young and inexperienced to train him. He was too elegant for us to mess up!
I attended the University of Oklahoma and discovered journalism, especially feature writing. When I got my first job at the Daily Oklahoman, I became the go-to reporter to cover the many wonderful horse events that came to the city. Then I started writing features about famous horses for magazines and newspapers.
(Emma) What prompted you to write the book?
(Gayle) My brother is a wonderful horseman and a university professor with an Ivy League education. I value his opinion. One summer, he and his family visited us in Texas. We were having coffee on the porch, and I was flipping through a magazine. Then I saw an ad for a decorative plate with an image of Traveller and General Robert E. Lee. We started talking about famous horses. Someone brought up Macaroni, Caroline Kennedy’s pony. Then came Siete Leguas, Pancho Villa’s war horse. Followed by Lady Godiva.
My brother suggested that I open a file in my computer, and every time I thought of – or discovered – a famous or important horse, to enter it in the file. “Before you know it, you will have a book.” Well, it wasn’t that easy, but that is how it happened.
(Emma) Tell us more about the book. Who is the intended audience/genre?
(Gayle) As I delved into research, I discovered that there are many fiction and nonfiction books about specific horses, breeds, and jobs: i.e., The Black Stallion; Snowman, books about racehorses, war horses, and movie horses. All the Marguerite Henry fiction books are based on real horses. I thought it would be fun to feature a variety of personalities in one book.
100 Horses in History features eight chapters: “The Trailblazers”; “Movies, Music, and Timeless Tales”; “War Horses”; “Call to the Post”; “Celebrity Status”; “Heroes and Heroines”; “Stars of the Show”; and “Legend and Lore.”
100 Horses in History – True Stories of Horses Who Shaped Our World
chronicles the lives of some of history’s most fascinating horses. Marengo
carried Napoleon Bonaparte in his quest for world domination; Babe was
a brave mare who dived from a fifty-foot tower in a small pool below, just
because her rider asked her to; and Paul Revere’s horse, who, after the
famous midnight journey, was requisitioned by British troops as war booty.
These 100 horses (including a few fabulous ponies!) tell of joy, sport, war,
courage, triumph and tragedy. They are like people, making contributions
unique to their talents and time in history, in a race, a battle, a children’s book,
or a great adventure.
(Emma) Why do you think Arabian horses are so special, and how did you choose the ones featured in the book?
(Gayle) “The Trailblazers” chapter is about the foundation horses. The Godolphin Arabian and the Darley Arabian are two of these. The Arabian is intelligent, beautiful, and truly a prince among horse breeds. While working at an Oklahoma City advertising agency, I did some work for the Arabian U.S. Nationals in Kentucky, as well as the Nationals in Albuquerque. I met many of these champion horses, as well as top Arabian horse breeders.
Arabians in my book are: The Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian, Napoleon’s horse Marengo (who graces the cover), The Black Stallion (starring Cass Ole); and Babe. I selected these horses because of their talents, contributions, and the hoof prints they left on history.
(Emma) Is there any other information you would like people to have to connect with you or make a purchase?
(Gayle) The first edition, published in the summer of 2015, sold out. We just released the second edition, adding the new Triple Crown winners – American Pharoah and Justify.
Care to nominate a favorite horse or pony for a new edition? I would love to hear from you! The book is available for $24.95 from Amazon, the Barnes and Noble website, and from me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 100 Horses in History is 170 pages, paperback, and features more than 100 black-and-white and color photographs, paintings, and graphics.
To learn more about Gayle and 100 Horses in History, visit her website.