Handbook on Horses – A book review

Dorling Kindersley Handbook of Horses

Book Review

By Julian Moffat

Title: Dorling Kindersley Handbook of Horses.

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley,  Author: Elwyn Hartley Edwards

ISBN: 9780751327366,  Price: £12.99, Paperback, Size: 140 x 210mm, 256 pages.


Dorling Kindersley is a familiar name to many and has a strong reputation and a wide range of illustrated reference and educational titles for children and adults alike.

The Book

This is available as an A5 sized paperback with 250 stunning colour photographs covering 100 breeds.

The presentation of each breed is, I believe, perfect for the model maker with clear photographs of the whole animal side on and, in most cases, a separate photograph of the head.

The initial pages cover such topics as an explanation of horse family from prehistoric to the present. The Arab, barb and Spanish influences. There is an explanation of the anatomical structure of the horse and the life cycle. There are a host of informative chapters some of which cover such things as coat colours, markings, saddles, bridles and bits, as well as carriages.

The balance of the book is given over to the illustrations. The book starts with ponies, such as the Haflinger, Highland and Bardigiano etc, moving on to the many horse breeds, for example, the Frederiksborg, Danish Warmblood, Wielkopolski, and Appaloosa to mention only a few. The book moves on to the heavy horses, giving beautiful illustrations of these huge and magnificent animals.


Most of the illustrations are spread over two pages and are accompanied by a map showing the origin of the breed, a written explanation of the breed, its breeding and characteristics. There is a useful illustrated size comparison of the particular horse relative to that of a 1.8m or 6’ man.

Last, but not least, is an extensive glossary rounding off what is a thorough and excellently presented reference work.

In conclusion, this is a ‘must-have’ book for those who wish to model horses. Where ever the region, be it the Americas, Europe, India or the Russian steppes and whatever the era, this book will give you invaluable assistance.