Free Nature Studies: Horses

Next to the dog, the horse is the most faithful four-footed friend and valuable servant a man has.

Read the current chapter online: “A Faithful Servant”

  • Illustrate a notebooking page with drawing of a horse.  Use the verse at the beginning of the lesson, Job 39:19, as a caption for the page.  You’ll find notebooking helps below.
  • Make a list of ways the horse was used in times past.  (Can you imagine the milkman, the grocer, the butcher and the drygoods man bringing their wares to your door?)
  • Find out what a census is and what it is used for (scroll down).
  • These days horses are included in the census of agriculture.  Consult this resent USDA Census Chart and determine approximately how many horses there are today.
  • This book was written in 1927.  Are horses still cheaper to use on small farms today?
  • During the time the book was written, the story of the evolution of the horse found its way into textbooks (read the background at  We need to remember scientific theories come and go, and that scientists themselves do not all agree on these theories, some being completely disregarded with time.  It is typically the media and publishers who propagate what are only theories as truth:

    “I admit that an awful lot of that (imaginary stories) has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs (in the American Museum) is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared perhaps 50 years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now I think that that is lamentable….”

    Dr. Niles Eldredge, curator of the American Museum of Natural History
  • Make a list of Scripture references that refer to the horse with these topical helps.
  • Read “How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix” by Robert Browning.
  • Older students can read Ben Hur by Lew Wallace.
  • Read about General Grant’s horse “Jack” and and General Lee’s horse “Traveler” along with other horses of the Civil War at
  • The “great woman artist” referred to is Rosa Bonheur.  You’ll find more information under Something to Do #3 below.
  • Make a horse notebook.  Here are two options:
    • Use the various breeds mentioned to make a horse breed notebook. Include specific features of that breed, an illustration, and famous horses that are of that breed. Add breeds other than those mentioned in the book.
    • Use the famous horses mentioned to make a famous horses notebook. Include pictures or illustrations of famous horses.  Include the breed of horse, interesting characteristics, and why it was famous.  These horses can come from history, literature, or favorites in your own backyard.
  • Make a chart of the different categories of horses, such as draft, driving, riding, work, race, and ponies.  Include illustrations and brief descriptions or interesting facts about a few breeds from each category.  You’ll find resources below to help.
  • Learn about the Percheron and Clydesdale draft horses at Oklahoma State University.  Create a compare/contrast chart showing the similarities and differences.
  • Learn about the Shetland pony and the Iceland pony at Oklahoma State University.  Create a compare/contrast chart showing the similarities and differences.
  • The tale of the Iceland pony’s tail and how it protects him from the weather he lives in is an excellent opportunity to explain the difference between macroevolution and microevolution. Helps at
  • At one time horsehair was used for sutures. But no more….
  • Read the history of using horse blood to make the diphtheria vaccine in an article a the National Museum of American History.
  • Something to do #1: Read “Sheridan’s Ride” by Thomas Buchanan Read.
  • Something to do #2: You’ll find the nursery rhyme “I Had a Little Pony” in The Real Mother Goose:

    I had a little pony,
    His name was Dapple-Gray,
    I lent him to a lady,
    To ride a mile away.
    She whipped him, she slashed him,
    She rode him through the mire;
    I would not lend my pony now
    For all the lady’s hire.

  • Something to do #3:  View “The Horse Fair.”  View Rosa Bonheur’s other works at The Met to answer the author’s questions on pg. 242.
  • Something to do #4:  Use the Horse Guide at Oklahoma State University to select a horse to write a story about.  You’ll find additional resources below.
  • Something to do #5: Read about the various uses of the horse throughout American history at
  • Something to do #6: You’ll find horse story resources below.  Choose one to read and narrate.
  • Copy and memorize Proverbs 21:31.
  • Read Job 39:19-25.  Make a list of the characteristics of the horse as described in the passage.
  • More about horses from the Book of Knowledge:

Everyone loves a horse and admires him in action. Whether he is an Arab or Thoroughbred, eager for the race, a great Percheron or Clydesdale, throwing his weight against the collar as he hauls a heavy load or draws a plow through the fresh earth, or a child’s shaggy Shetland pony, as proud of his pretty trappings as is his little rider, every line of a horse’s body shows that he is built for strength and power.

Next to the dog, the horse is the most faithful four-footed friend we have, and no other animal has given us truer service or can show greater devotion to his owner….

“The Horse Family,” The Book of Knowledge
  • The Horse Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers horses beginning on page 274, and continuing through page 280.

Further Investigation

Just the facts at

Breeds of Horses
Complete directory at Oklahoma State University.

Historical Timeline — Farm Machines and Technology
Timeline of changes including horse to machine.


Agriculture in Motion
Lesson plan from OK State extension that includes a comparison of old and new ways of farming.

Apologia Biology Study Guide
Quizlet covering macroevolution and microevolution.  (Scroll down to see all of the questions.)


Rosa Bonheur by Fr. Crastre
Public domain work discussing the author’s life.  Includes color copies of some of her works.

Coaly-Bay, the Outlaw Horse by Ernest Thompson Seton
Short story included in Wild Animal Ways.

Five True Horse Stories

Five True Horse Stories by Margaret Davidson
For young readers, these true stories cover:

  • Justin Morgan’s horse, the first Morgan horse.
  • Pacing White Mustang, a horse no one could catch.
  • Misty of Chincoteague.
  • Clever Hans, a horse who could read people’s minds.
  • Brighty, a Grand Canyon donkey.

You’ll find more books about horses in our horse unit study.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Population Change Over Time
A short lesson plan on the census at the Census Bureau.

The Horse: A Unit Study

The Horse: A Unit Study
Our own unit on horses that includes a wealth of information, printables, and other resources covering the history, anatomy, and care of the horse.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
Paper with lines on bottom and room on top for illustrating.  Can be used to create a horse notebook.

Animal Report Form
Record the fast facts on this free form at Highland Heritage.

Horses Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, and Something to Do #2 and #4.

You’ll find more horse notebooking helps in our horse unit study.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World

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