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The horse in New Zealand: Attitude & Heart by Carolyn Mincham

Attitude & Heart traces the history of the horse in New Zealand.


. Horses weren’t fun. They were transport. They mustered sheep. They pulled the Cobb & Co coaches.
The practical use of the horse is gone now from New Zealand life. My horse doesn’t take me places – I take him places, dragging him along in his expensive horse float behind my four-wheel drive.
But there was a time when horses served a commercial purpose in this country, and Carolyn Mincham’s book documents this time, from 1814, when the first horses arrived in Northland and were mistaken by Maori for taniwha, through to the present day.
The Horse in New Zealand: Attitude & Heart began life as Mincham’s PhD thesis, which is how it reads. The early chapters are the most thorough and you suspect they formed the initial core of her work, discussing the social revolution created by the horse in colonial New Zealand.
The later chapters touch on just about every specialist aspect of equestrian life.

Although the brief for the book is too wide, on the plus side Mincham covers an extraordinary amount of valuable and worthwhile terrain that has never been documented before. My favourite chapters are those that cover off the case for naming the national breed: should it be a Maori bush pony or a Kaimanawa, or even our excellent thoroughbreds? Which defines us? And the pictures, many of them contributed by well-known local equine photographer Annie Studholme, are strong and support the text brilliantly.

There’s a genuine love of horses inherent in The Horse in New Zealand that shines through, including some lovely pictures of Mincham’s own gorgeous Anglo-Arab, Minnie, which epitomises the attitude and heart of the title.

Hardback First edition Vg ++++condition + Dustjacket
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  • Seller location: Wanganui, Wanganui, NZ

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