I read “America’s Major Horse Breeds Emerge” (Conformation Insights, EQUUS 473) with fascination. I’m amazed at the detail of research Deb Bennett, PhD, has done. However, for all the detail recorded in horse registries, the most unfortunate lack in investigating horses born before the late 19th century is the lack of good photographs.
All we have are drawings, prints or paintings, many of which are done in what was regarded as a stylish, graceful form. Artistic tastes showed a preference for light, elongated bodies, very slender legs, thin curvy, almost serpentine necks and very small heads. These characteristics show up in paintings and etchings of many outstanding horses of the 18th and 19th centuries, including several pictured in this article. It is unfortunate that the reliance on older illustrations inhibits our true understanding of horse conformation during these early years. Kathy Bell Greenville, South Carolina