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The Majesty of the Horse [Hardcover]

Tamsin Pickeral , Astrid Harrisson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Sep 2012

The Majesty of the Horse is a celebration of an animal that has shaped the fate of mankind.

Written as a glorious celebration of this noblest of animals, the book explores the sheer beauty and grandeur of horses, revealing the central role they have played in human societies throughout the world and across the ages.

The book showcases equine photographer Astrid Harrisson’s amazing portraiture and stunning images of horses in motion, with pictures that capture the essence of many different breeds. It pays homage not only to the physical splendour of the horse – its grace, strength,and extraordinary adaptability – but also to the animal’s remarkable diversity. Equestrian specialist Tamsin Pickeral traces the evolution of the most significant and fascinating breeds, among them , the tiny, fiery Caspian, a native of the Caspian Sea’s south shore; the proud Thoroughbred; the genetically pure Icelandic Pony; the heroic Shire horse; and many others.

For millenia, horses have enabled mankind to work the land effectively, travel across vast territories, go to war, and ride for sport and pleasure. The Majesty of the Horse reveals the stories behind the breeds of horses that humans have bred to produce the most efficient horse to fight on, to pull a plough, to travel on, pull a coach, or work with.

Equestrian expert Tamsin Pickeral and award-winning horse photographer Astrid Harrisson spent a year combing the world in search of the best horses for The Majesty of the Horse.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007466897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007466894
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tamsin Pickeral was born in England a frightening amount of years ago. She is the daughter of a veterinary surgeon and an artist/art teacher. Art and animals have remained a defining influence on the author, who specialises in books on both subjects. Alongside her own books she has also been a major contributor to a number of multi-author art reference publications and exhibition catalogues. Her books are published internationally, and have been widely reviewed in leading newspapers and magazines.

Her academic training revolved around the arts, first with a period of time spent studying in Italy, before finishing her degree in history of art and architecture at Reading University.

Having learnt to ride (or at least stay on) at a young age on a belligerent ex-racing donkey, the author later moved on to competitive riding, eventing and showjumping with some success, and horses continue to play an important role in her life.

She wrote her first book (The Encyclopedia of Horses and Ponies, 1999) in the United States where she lived for eight years, much of it spent on a remote cattle ranch. During this period she continued her work with horses as well as being a veterinary nurse, while building her writing career. Following her move back to the UK, the author was able to devote herself full time to her profession.

Tamsin routinely works with contemporary artists including leading figurative painter Chris Gollon, the subject of her book, Chris Gollon: Humanity in Art, published 2010. She has just co-ordinated a number of British artists to exhibit and sell their works at the prestigious Parisian auction house Auction Eve and has recently finished work on American photographer Juliet Harrison's book Equiscape.

Her most recent book is The Majesty of the Horse, written in collaboration with award winning photographer Astrid Harrisson and published in the US in October 2011, due for publication in the UK in April 2012. This book has also just been released in New Zealand and Australia. The book is a major new study of the horse, its cultural relevance and the spread and development of 90 of the most important (and often rarest) breeds.

Currently Tamsin is ghost writing a book for someone else, but Shhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell!

For more information please visit

Product Description


"Both writer Pickeral and photographer Harrisson have a background in art and a love of horses. This lovely illustrated volume is more than a coffee-table book. Pickeral and Harrisson traveled across the world to research and photograph more than 80 breeds of horses--some common, some rare. The book shares little-known facts that explain the survival of horses in difficult environments; e.g., the purpose of the thick hairs that grow along the upper lips of Kazakh horses is to sift sand from the grass before they eat it, and the double coats of Exmoor ponies help them survive harsh winters. This volume is highly recommended for horse lovers, animal lovers, and art lovers."--Patsy E. Gray, "Library Journal", January 01, 2012

About the Author

Tamsin Pickeral is a horse expert and art historian who grew up in the English countryside surrounded by horses. There she developed a passion for these magnificent animals, their history and their relationship with human beings. She has worked with horses in Europe and North America, tending to their care, health and management. A widely published author, she has written several books on animal themes.

Astrid Harrisson began photographing horses while working on a ranch in Argentina. She has since travelled widely in Europe, the Americas, India, Africa, China and Australia, capturing award-winning photographs of equine subjects.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to treasure 27 Jan 2012
The beautiful photographs are atmospheric and moving and perfectly capture the essence of the different breeds photographed. The text shows the author's respect and admiration for the power and grace of the horses whilst reflecting her wide knowledge and experience. Some of the breeds featured are now so rare that this book may be the only way most of us will ever encounter them. Strongly recommended as a book to treasure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Origianlly ordered this book as a gift for a friend, though when it arrived had to order another copy for my friend, as spent the evening reading it.

Thought the book looked interesting and my friend would like it. When going through it found that the pictures are amazing and draws you in to the book and then the text is so informative and educational, even for a non horsey person and enlightened by the variations and traits of the different breeds.

Would recomend as a gift for anyone who likes horses, great photography or just even for your own coffee table.

My friend, who eventually received her present, absolutely loved it and in her words; 'Just returned to the office from a meeting across town and found your beautiful gift. It is so beautiful I cannot concentrate on desk clearance'

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 27 Jan 2012
By A. Rice
An excellent book.

Got to the book from Amzon link, having purchased another book by same author through.

Really good book with same interesting background on each of the horses and supported by really good pictures that capture that the traits and use of that particular horse type.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely gift! 12 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gave this to a horse loving friend as a Christmas gift and she was delighted with it. Hope to own one myself one day!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book! 9 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A beautiful book with magnificent photographs and lots of information, perfect for the afficionado or the coffee table! Much enjoyed.
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bought this as a birthday present for my SO, now she wants to get a horse even though we live in an apartment, so buying this might have been a bad idea. Still, it's a gorgeous book, quite big which is a plus since the photos inside are absolutely stunning, and the accompanying text is a fascinating read which chronicles all the horse breeds in their world and their history through the ages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horses 24 Aug 2013
By Ace
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you like horses you will love this book. Bought it as a present for a horse loving friend and she was extremely pleased.
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5.0 out of 5 stars magical 7 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a beautifully illustrated and informative book. You can open it and loose hours looking at it, it is so easy to read. Love it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very COncise
The information and explanatory writings about each horse, I think are second to none. Very expert information written in this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by zac
5.0 out of 5 stars Horse lovers book
This book sums up the beauty & grace of the most majestic & equally mythical creature known as horse. Book covers wide range of horse breeds & the information is very authentic. Read more
Published 16 months ago by shaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning photography!
Chose this as a Christmas gift for a horse-mad teenager.

Had a quick browse through before packing it and was very impressed with the quality of the paper and the... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Sarnia Cherie
5.0 out of 5 stars Horse lovers
Lovely'coffee table book.A wonderfully illustrated book for all horse lovers young and old.A lovely prestation or retinal gift for someone in the horse world.
Published 18 months ago by Madge
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book
bought as a gift for an equestrian enthusiast who was very happy about it!

amazing pictures and relevant & well written information about the various breeds... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ange S
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!
This is a wonderful history of the horse, beautifully presented - both the photography and the text. Highly recommended for all those interested in horses.
Published 18 months ago by S. Scurlock
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is Horseome!
Woah there! This book is totally HORSEOME. If I were you, I'd giddy up and get one. Or even two.
Published 19 months ago by Pauly B
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful publication
This book is a must have. The photos are beautiful and written so well.

This covers so many different horses some I have never heard of or seen, and our local one the... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by Katturgel
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