It almost seemed as though becoming obsessed with horses was a right of passage. Most of us went through at least a little phase of asking for a pony for Christmas, and pretending like we knew all about the giant animals. Obviously some people kept with it longer than others, but whether or not you are still into horses, chances are you remember reading and watching Black Beauty.
The story managed to transcend time, and even though it originally came out in 1877, kids still read it to this day. How much do you really know about the iconic story that launched millions of kids obsession with horses?
1. Author Anna Sewell was only paid $20 for the book
She sold the book to Jarrold and Sons in 1877 for 20 British pounds, which works out to about $27 American. However given the time difference, it would actually translate to about $350 today. It was published the same year and managed to become a huge success.
2. Sewell was 57 before she became published
She started writing Black Beauty when she was 51-years-old, and by the time she finished it she was 57. It was the first book she ever wrote and ended up being the only book she ever wrote.
3. She died five months after it was published
Sewell could have had a chance to renegotiate her contract, but she passed away from hepatitis just five months after the book came out. She never got to see just how big of an impact it had on the world.
4. Black Beauty was based on a real horse
Sewell had a horse when she was growing up named Bess who people believe was the inspiration for the horse in the story.
But did you realize that it actually had a real impact on the treatment of animals?
5. The book changed the way people treated their horses
The old methods of the “bearing rein” is said to have been changed because of Black Beauty. The way that people used to strap their horses heads to their chest had to be stopped because it was causing pain and respiratory issues.
6. The real name of the book is a lot longer
The full title is actually Black Beauty, His Grooms and Companions, the Autobiography of a Horse. Which doesn’t really translate well to a movie poster…
7. It’s actually one of the best-selling books of all time
Over 50 million copies have been sold in over 50 languages and manages to be one of the best-selling books of all time. Other books that have managed to sell 50 million copies include The Catcher in the Rye, Charlotte’s Web, and all of the Harry Potter books.
While most of us remember watching the 1994 movie, the fact is, if it wasn’t for this incredible book we wouldn’t have realized just how much we loved horses. Even if we didn’t love it, chances are you had a sister or friend who was totally obsessed.