Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

The Age of the Horse

An Equine Journey Through Human History

by Susanna Forrest

From equestrian expert Susanna Forrest, a fascinating examination of the horse’s evolution—from its origins fifty-six million years ago to present day—through the lens of human history.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date May 15, 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2797-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $22.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date May 02, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2651-1
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00

About The Book

An essential book for anyone who’s ever been captivated by horses, The Age of the Horse is a breathtaking exploration of the connection between humans and Equus caballus. Equestrian expert Susanna Forrest presents a unique, sweeping panorama of the animal’s role in societies around the world and across time.

Fifty-six million years ago, the earliest equid walked the earth—and beginning with the first-known horse keepers of the Copper Age, the horse has played an integral part in human history. Combining fascinating anthropological detail and incisive personal anecdotes, Forrest draws from an immense range of archival documents as well as literature and art to illustrate how our evolution has coincided with that of horses. In paintings and poems (such as Byron’s famous “mazeppa”), in theater and classical music (including works by Liszt and Tchaikovsky), representations of the horse have changed over centuries, portraying the crucial impact that we’ve had on each other. Forrest deftly synthesizes this material with her own experience in the field, traveling the globe to give us a comprehensive look at the horse in our lives today: from Mongolia where she observes the endangered takhi, to a show-horse performance at the Palace of Versailles; from a polo club in Beijing to Arlington, Virginia, where veterans with PTSD are rehabilitated through interaction with horses.

With passion and singular insight, Forrest investigates the complexities of human and horse coexistence, illuminating the multifaceted ways our cultures were shaped by this powerful creature.


“In clear, introspective prose that underscores the astonishing depth of her research, Forrest tracks human history through the eyes of our equine companions . . . it is indeed that personal touch, that devotion, that elevates this volume from fascinating history to work of art.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Many a horse lover would prefer to spend their entire day on the trail or at the race track, with no other human to taint the majesty of the experience. Susanna Forrest goes even further, delivering all of history with a sharp equine focus. Through her fascinating delving she creates a magical world where these exquisite creatures reign supreme.” —Elizabeth Mitchell, author of Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing and Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty

“Horses are woven into human history. In some ways horses have made humanity what it is. Here, Susanna Forrest does a wonderful big-picture job of conveying what we have made the horse, what the horse has made us, and how diminished humankind would be without the presence of horses.” —Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

“Susanna Forrest is the outstanding writer at the erudite end of horse madness . . . To well-rehearsed facts, she brings new detail . . . for the horse-addicted, a book can get no better than this . . . original, cerebral and from the heart.” —Times (UK)

“The history of horse-human relations is, and continues to be, a rich and deeply troubling epic. Susanna Forrest has done it admirable justice.” —Jonathan Balcombe, author of What A Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins

“Susanna Forrest tells the complete story of the horse, from the Mongolian steppes to Victorian coaches and Amish farms, in a book filled with vivid anecdotes and big ideas.” —Boria Sax, author of The Mythical Zoo: Animals in Myth, Legend, and Literature

“Forrest covers wide sweeps of history with dexterity and panache.” —Literary Review (UK)

“Susanna Forrest is the ideal guide for exploring the ancient bond between horses and humans. Deeply personal and impressively researched, The Age of the Horse is a moving tribute.” —Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

“With grace, erudition, and keen insight, Susanna Forrest explores our fraught and glorious relationship with the horse . . . she reveals many surprises on the trail.” —Deanne Stillman, author of Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West

“[Forrest’s] passion for the horse leaps from the pages of a book that is a rich fount of knowledge for anyone interested in the innumerable and endlessly fascinating points where horse and human meet.” —Times Literary Supplement (UK)