"Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell is the first-person story of the titular horse as he falls into the hands of numerous owners throughout his life, some caring and others cruel. The novel is unique as the first book written from an animal's perspective.
In the first part of the book, Black Beauty talks about his birth in a meadow and his early days before he is sold to a horse lover named Squire Gordon. During his three years with the Squire, who takes good care of his animals, Black Beauty meets several other horses and gets to know the two horse groomers John and James. When unfortunate circumstances lead Squire Gordon to sell his horses, Black Beauty and his friend Ginger are given to Earlshall Park, and their life is much more difficult. When Black Beauty injures his knees in a riding accident, he must be sold yet again to a poor cab driver named Jerry. He continues to be sold from one master to another until he is finally reunited with one of his old grooms, who cares for him until the end of his days.
Sewell wrote "Black Beauty" in order to promote the humane treatment of horses, and it quickly captured the public's attention. Legislation was passed to offer greater protection for horses, and many of the old, fashionable methods of treating horses were discarded in favor of humane alternatives.