Query: Draft Animal Literature?

Bart Welling's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I'm teaching a new class on energy in literature and culture and would like to include a short poem or story (or novel excerpt, or perhaps even a short film) on what it's like to work with a draft horse, mule, donkey, etc.--a text that does a good job of representing the play of energies between human and nonhuman being involved in plowing a field, driving a stagecoach, etc.  I'm looking for a text that would help underscore the profound difference between animal/muscle energy and fossil energy.


Bart Welling
University of North Florida   

Donald Hall's "Names of Horses" may be a good poem for your purposes.

Mary Trachsel
University of Iowa

Hi Bart,

A useful place to start would possibly be with Stephen Caunce's book 'Amongst Farm Horses, The Horselads of East Yorkshire', published by Alan Sutton in 1991.

There are some nice first-hand accounts of what it was like to be a 'horselad'.

Best wishes,


I am sure there are lots of such texts. Jack London's works come to mind, such as Call of the Wild, White Fang, Jerry of the Island, and Michael.

There are a lot of unnamed draft horses, or definitely heavier stock horses, who appear in Enid Bagnold's National Velvet. They make a short appearance and are mostly mentioned to contrast The Pie's finer body type.