This is the story of the horse in America. It is a story the horse cannot tell, and one that historians have neglected.
Ever since the first colonists arrived in Jamestown, horses have been vital to human survival. Horses helped us farm, carried us to explore the frontier, and pulled our barges and wagons and trains. Horse carried on their backs the first great superstars of American sport-jockeys-who were predominately African-American in the early years. Horse played a prominent role in our wars: more horses than men died in the Civil War. Though the transportation revolution changed some of the ways we use horses, there are still people who rely on horses to pull logs out of the mountains of Virginia. Though the military no longer uses horses in battle, there have been close connections between the military and show horses.
This web site presents substantial excerpts from the script for the television documentary that was first shown in October, 2002 on certain public broadcasting stations in Virginia. Within the script are links to still photographs used in the documentary, as well as to short streaming video portions of the video itself, and to web sites that contain other information of interest to those examining the history of the horse. A link to the teacher's guide is here.
The documentary The Horse: A Silent Hero of our History was conceived and has been generously supported by Arthur W. ("Nick") Arundel of The Plains, Virginia. Additional support has been provided by the National Sporting Library, Middleburg, Virginia, and by the Virginia Horse Industry Board, Richmond, Virginia.
The documentary was produced by George H. Gilliam, and was written by Gilliam, Lauren Parker Armstrong, and Jeremy Byrum. Original music was composed by Ellen and Pete Vigour and by 'Uncle Henry's Favorites.' Copies of the video documentary can be obtained by clicking on this link. This World Wide Web site was created by William G. Thomas, Benjamin Knowles, and George H. Gilliam.