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The New Zealand Horse - Stories of Kiwis and Horse

The New Zealand Horse

Stories of Kiwis and Horses, by Kim Swan; The Halcyon Press. 304pp. RRP $39.95. ISBN 1-877256-58-7.

June 25, 2006

reviewed by Karan Lawrence

In this age of celebrity, it is a blessed relief to pick up a book and read stories that, to use the author's own words, are "a celebration of unusual, exceptional and interesting beings, not those who regularly feature in the NZEF Bulletin or whose names are known to anyone vaguely equestrian-oriented but virtual unknowns".

Kim Swan's latest literary offering is a book that will appeal to all horse lovers. In her honest and unaffected style, Kim has succeeded in capturing in words the essence of the Kiwi horse and the Kiwi horse person.

Her own life as an experienced horsewoman has provided her with an instinct for a story. She has found stories where others may have been oblivious to them and she has related those stories in a crisp, yet warm narrative that allows the true character of her subjects to spring from the page and engross the reader.

More than 300 pages are used to tell 30 stories that are an eclectic mix of personalities and locations. There are draught horses and hot-blooded arabians, polo ponies and harness horses: we are reminded of the contribution made by our warhorses and even our humble trekking horses. These, and so many other types of horses are featured. Then there are the horses that are special simply for being reliable.

The characters are the types that can be found "just down the road". These are personalities, both equine and human, which would have remained unsung heroes were it not for the author's determination to record their exploits because she believed the "were so worth telling".

The book is liberally illustrated throughout with both colour and black and white photographs.

This is a book that would be an ideal gift, as the variety of equestrian activity covered ensures that the book is relevant to all horse lovers. But make sure you secure your own copy first.

The format of the book and the writers affection for her subjects, make The New Zealand Horse: Stories of Kiwis And Horses an enjoyable read. This is one of those books that will make you laugh and sometimes cry.

You will be entertained and enlightened.

But above all else, you will be imbued with a new reverence for the Kiwi horse person and the New Zealand horse.



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