Summation: Delightful saga of the four–legged equestrian type
Rating: 5 out of 5
The real name of the leading character of this enthralling saga will probably never be known despite appearing in an award winning movie. The reason is obvious: it is a head-strong stallion.
As a foal, a neighbourhood boy is entranced by this majestic creature. Fate intervenes. His father, an inebriated nere-do-well of a man, unbeknown to his son, is also enthralled with him. This occurs at an auction where the impecunious fellow is supposed to purchase a regular stout-hearted work horse. Instead reason vanishes as he bids way past his financial means, a veritable fortune much more than his modest income will allow for this veritable race horse, the very antithesis of what he requires.
His counter bidder, we eventually discover, is none other than his stone-hearted landlord. Forced to redeem himself to prevent eviction, he undertakes with the assistance of his son, to make amends by planting an unpromising stony patch of land with turnips.
Fate and chance intercede. Serendipitous events follow further serendipitous events whereby the horse is sold to a cavalry unit of the British Army en route to France as part of the initial troops entering WW1.
The death of the officer in an ill-fated cavalry charge with swords drawn, leads to the horse being captured by the Germans, being briefly befriended by a sweet French child.
The warhorse, initially called Joey, is recaptured by the Germans and is destined to be worked to death drawing howitzers.
After further adventures, Joey is reunited with his trusted owner and miraculously returned to Britain.
One is enthralled, drawn into a long forgotten world, where vehicles were the exception rather than the rule and horses were still the accepted mode of transport, “attack vehicle” on cavalry charges and ploughing “machine”.
Life was hard and cruel. Happenstance, fate and chance were one’s lot in life. Stunning visuals complement a riveting story. It is a worthwhile purchase.