"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and fire. With too many wonders close inspection dispels both mystery and joy. Not so with the wonder that is the horse."
So begins The Encyclopedia of the Horse, an extraordinary volume devoted to humankind's most essential animal partner. Expertly folding together the evolution of the horse with every major breed and its contribution to civilization, author Elwyn Hartley, editor of Riding magazine for over 18 years and author of 30 books on horses, divides his subject into 10 historically chronological chapters, covering "in words and pictures, the development over 60 million years of the small jungle animal into the various and sophisticated breeds of the 20th century." Beginning with Eohippus, or the Dawn horse, from the Eocene period, Hartley takes the reader on a fascinating journey, stopping along the way to discuss hundreds of notable breeds, including Friesians, Arabians, Andalusians, Thoroughbreds, Shetland and Highland ponies, Mustangs, and Clydesdales. Also interspersed throughout are notable horse-and-rider partnerships, such as El Cid and Babieca, as well as over 1,000 full-color photographs, illustrations, and maps, making this ode to Equus as beautiful as it is fascinating. [via]