Study Guide

Black Beauty Chapter 3

By Anna Sewell

Chapter 3

My Breaking In

  • Now that Beauty is older, he's shiny and bright black, with "one white foot and a pretty white star" (3.1) on his forehead. (Okay, all the horse lovers can swoon on the count of three: one, two, three. Better now?)
  • Farmer Grey examines Beauty when he turns four and decides Beauty is ready to be broken in. Just so you know, breaking in a horse is not like breaking in a pair of shoes—it means training a horse to wear a saddle and bridle. Beauty himself explains all the finer details of the process; lucky for us, he's a great teacher (especially for a horse).
  • Beauty gives a vivid description of how awful it is to wear a bit, "a great piece of cold hard steel as thick as a man's finger to be pushed into one's mouth […] so that in no way in the world can you get rid of the nasty hard thing. It is very bad! Yes, very bad!" (3.4).
  • On the flip side, if you wear a bit, Farmer Grey gives you treats and praise, so Beauty gets used to it. Slowly Farmer Grey introduces Beauty to the saddle, horseshoes, and a harness, always taking care to make sure Beauty isn't scared. Note to horse enthusiasts: This chapter is packed with horsey details and pretty much everything you'd ever need to know about Victorian horse equipment.
  • Farmer Grey even takes Beauty to a field near a train just so Beauty can get used to the sound of a train passing: "[…] as I found that this terrible creature never came into the field, or did me any harm, I began to disregard it" (3.10), Beauty explains. He credits Farmer Grey for making him "as fearless at railway stations as in my own stable" (3.11).
  • Beauty and Duchess often go out together so that Duchess can teach him how to behave in a double harness. She also reminds him that men can be kind, but they can also be cruel and ignorant, and horses have no control over who owns them. But even so, she tells Beauty to always do his best, and "keep up your good name" (3.13).

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