Black Beauty lives at the end of Main Street and Pegasus takes wing from the pasture around the corner in an equestrian exhibit touring public and school libraries worldwide. The exhibit, titled The Literary Horse: When Legends Come to Life, pairs up to 100 photos of today’s horses and riders with family-friendly, secular, and cited public domain quotations from the world’s great books.
“From Achilles’ splendid chargers to Don Quixote’s Rocinante, the horses of myth and literature are alive and thriving in our neighborhoods,” said the exhibit’s creator, award-winning equine photographer Vanessa Wright.
More than 250,000 children, teens, and adults have visited The Literary Horse since its debut in May 2008. The exhibit is touring rural through metropolitan schools and libraries worldwide, and among its shows, it has complemented libraries’ celebrations of national and international events, including Children’s Book Week, the Kentucky Derby, and the World Equestrian Games.
Showcasing first-time riders through Special Olympic and Olympic champions, and equestrian disciplines ranging from carriage driving and show-jumping to jousting and mounted archery, The Literary Horse provides visitors with a real-life tour of world classics, such as the Iliad, Anna Karenina, and Richard III, as well as beloved children’s tales, such as Black Beauty, The Arabian Nights, Cinderella, and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
The exhibit, though, extends beyond its images. Because it is touring public and school libraries, after exploring the scenes of heroic horses and horse-people, visitors can trot over to the shelves and jump into the books that follow their adventures. And because each exhibit features local equine and equestrian programs, visitors can contact the programs’ organizers and become riders, assistants, or volunteers.
“I hoped these images would help people see themselves in the great books and inspire them to live their own legends,” said Wright. “Heroes aren’t just people who lived long ago – they are our neighbors, our family members, our friends, and ourselves. The beauty, heart, and spirit we admire in legendary horses exists in our pasture pets, service horses, and competition partners. Together, we face challenges as thrilling and as extraordinary as the quests of old. After all, every great story, at its heart, reflects the greatness that is already within us.”
The Literary Horse: When Legends Come to Life is touring public and school libraries worldwide through 2012. Summer 2012 bookings are available in the UK to complement celebrations of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information, activities, and a booklist, or to schedule an exhibit, visit www.TheLiteraryHorse.com.