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Before crude oil and the combustion engine, the industrialized world relied on a different kind of power – the power of the horse. Horses in Society is the story of horse production in the United States, Britain, and Canada at the height of the species' usefulness, the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century. Margaret E. Derry shows how horse breeding practices used during this period to heighten the value of the animals in the marketplace incorporated a intriguing cross section of influences, including Mendelism, eugenics, and Darwinism.
Derry elucidates the increasingly complex horse world by looking at the international trade in army horses, the regulations put in place by different countries to enforce better horse breeding, and general aspects of the dynamics of the horse market. Because it is a story of how certain groups attempted to control the market for horses, by protecting their breeding activities or 'patenting' their work, Horses in Society provides valuable background information to the rapidly developing present-day problem of biological ownership. Derry's fascinating study is also a story of the evolution of animal medicine and humanitarian movements, and of international relations, particularly between Canada and the United States.
Modern Purebred Breeding: A Scientific or Cultural Method?
Part One. The Breeding of Horses
The Light Horse
The Heavy Horse
The Farmer’s Horse
Part Two. An International Horse Market: The Remount Story
Finding Horses for the British Army
American Horses and War: A National and International Issue
Canada’s Equine War Effort: A Story of Conflicting Interests
Part Three. Governments and Horse Improvement
Understanding Heredity: The 1890 Report of the British Royal Commission on Horse Breeding
Producing Better Horses in the United States: Attempts to Control Fraudulent Activity and Market Share
The Canadian Experience in Horse Regulation: Continental and National Concerns
Part Four. Society and Horses
Aspects of a Pervasive Horse Culture in Society
Note on Sources
Margaret E. Derry is an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph.