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Horses of the World


Élise Rousseau, Illustrations Yann Le Bris; Translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan

Review by Nancy Brannon

In one Viking Cruises ads that plays on PBS, Viking founder and chairman Torstein Hagen philosophizes on spending time wisely. “So what one wants in life is experiences. …And what better way of spending time than traveling and continue to educate ourselves and broaden our minds.” Horses of the World is a book that takes you on a journey as a “mantle traveler,” as Isak Dinesen said, of horse viewing all around the world to every continent to see the multitude of equines that exist.

Horses of the World is a comprehensive, large-format overview of 567 breeds of domestic and extant wild horses. It describes and depicts every horse breed in existence. “Globally, the great majority of the breeds in this guide are rare, with very small populations, and they could become extinct very quickly,” the author writes. She begins with a basic guide to identify the breeds of horses including coat color and markings, gender, gaits, growth stages, and other characteristics.

Then begins the journey through time, covering animals that are, now extinct, the origins of modern horses – Tarpan and Przewalski’s Horse. There’s a section on hybrids, such as a Zorse (zebra and horse) and Mule. Then it’s off to see the world, starting in Northern Europe.

Chapters follow on Horses of Southern and Western Europe; of Eastern Europe and Russia; of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent; of the Far East and Southeast Asia. Then it’s on to Africa, with four chapters, one each on North, West, East, and Southern Africa. Next, travel to the American continent with Horses of North America, of Central America and the Caribbean, and Horses of South America. Finally, she travels to Oceania for the Horses of Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and French Polynesia.

This beautifully illustrated guide provides detailed information on each breed, including measurements, distribution, origins and history, character and attributes, uses, and current status. Every breed is accompanied by superb color photographs and color drawings. On your equine travels, you will learn about horses you never knew existed, and, perhaps attain a greater appreciation for the horses of the world.

Published by Princeton University Press, the book won the 2018 Outstanding Reference Sources Award from the American Library Association.

About the author: Élise Rousseauis a freelance writer and author of a number of adult and children's books on horses. She is an avid equestrian and has traveled all over the world to document rare breeds. Yann Le Bris has been a professional artist for eighteen years and has illustrated numerous books.

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