Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 28

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 28

A Job Horse and his Drivers

  • At the livery stable, Beauty is lent out to all kinds of drivers, including totally clueless ones. Because he's good-tempered, Beauty has the bad luck of being lent out to the most awful drivers, and he describes a few different types.
  • First up, the "tight-rein" drivers, nervous people who hold the reins as hard as they can. For a horse like Beauty, this "is not only tormenting, but it is stupid" (28.2). Tell it like it is, Beauty.
  • Then we've got the opposite situation, the "loose-rein" drivers, "[…] who let the reins lie easily on our backs, and their own hands rest lazily on their knees" (28.4). Beauty doesn't think this technique is nearly as bad, because he doesn't usually need help from his driver, but remarks that it's a terrible tactic for easily startled horses and cultivates bad habits. It's generally the mark of a careless driver, he thinks.
  • One such clueless driver takes Beauty out one day to pull his children and wife in a carriage, paying no attention to Beauty, and Beauty gets a stone in one of his front feet.
  • Beauty thinks any good driver—and he mentions Squire Gordon or John—would have immediately seen that he was hurt. But the clueless man isn't paying attention at all: "Whether the man was partly blind, or only very careless, I can't say, but he drove me with that stone in my foot for a good half mile before he saw anything" (28.8). And even then, he complains that they've given him a lame horse. Um, sir, we think you might be the lame one in this equation.
  • Luckily, a farmer stops them and says he thinks that Beauty must have a stone in his shoe. The kind farmer dislodges it, saying, "[…] it is a wonder he did not fall down and break his knees into the bargain!" (28.15). The clueless driver actually says he had no idea horses could get stones. So, um… maybe you shouldn't drive horses, dude.
  • The farmer says Beauty is pretty hurt and should be driven carefully.
  • Beauty explains that this sort of terrible ridiculousness is a pretty typical experience for a job horse.

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