Narrated in the first person as an autobiographical memoir told by the main character, a horse named Black Beautyóbegins with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. Along the way, Beauty meets with many hardships and recounts many tales of cruelty and kindness. Each chapter recounts an incident in Black Beauty's life and contains a lesson typically related to the kindness, sympathy, and understanding treatment of horses, with Sewell's extensive descriptions of horse behaviour. When Velvet Brown, an equine-loving 12-year-old living in rural Sussex, becomes the owner of a rambunctious, black tobiano horse (piebald), she decides to train him for England's Grand National race. Aided by former steeplechase jockey, Mi Taylor, with encouragment from her family, the determined Velvet gets her steed, affectionately called The Pie, ready for the big day. However, a last-minute problem arises with the jockey and an unexpected rider must step in as a replacement. In this first book of The Black Stallion series, teenaged Alec Ramsay, returning from India and a visit to his uncle, and an untamed, black Arabian stallion, meet when the horse is loaded onto the ship at an Arabian port. The pair are subsequently stranded on a desert island after the ship sinks. Dependent on each other for survival, the boy and horse learn to trust each other as they establish a close, lifelong bond. After being rescued, Alec and The Black return to Flushing Meadows, New York and befriends retired racehorse trainer, Henry Dailey. Henry recognizes the Black's superior breeding, and he and Alec secretly begin training The Black to race. But without a documented pedigree, Alec and Henry can only compete the Black as a mystery horse in a match race between two Thoroughbred champions, Cyclone and Sun Raider. In modern-day Wyoming, teenager Katy McLaughlin dreams of working on and, one day, taking over her father's ranch. She tames a wild mustang mare and names her Flicka, then finds that she and her new equine companion are more alike than she imagined. After her father sells the mare, Katy schemes to win back the horse by entering a dangerous race.
Set in the island town of Chincoteague, Virginia, the book tells the story of the Beebe family and their efforts to raise a filly born to a wild Chincoteague Island mare.
Paul and his sister Maureen's determination to own a pony from the herd on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, is greatly increased when the Phantom and her colt are among the ponies rounded up for the yearly auction.