Horses were used for many purposes in Shakespeare's England: for travel, either on horseback or in carriages, for haulage and for pleasure, and for work in the fields. The upper classes were closely involved with horses, for jousting, hunting and racing. Horses was also essential to any army, both as cavalry and to draw supplies and artillery. Horse ownership was, however, much more widespread than might be imagined.
Horse and Man in Early Modern England shows how, in pre-industrial England, horses were bred and trained, what they ate, how much they were worth, how long they lived, and what their owners thought of them.
While they were named individually, and sometimes became favourites, many were worked hard and poorly treated, leading to their early deaths. They were, nevertheless an essential part of the life of the time and are strikingly depicted in literature and art, as well in many other records.