These suggested questions are included to
enhance your group’s reading of Beauty’s Son.
1. Based upon what you learn about Beauty’s
Son in the first chapter, what do you think
one theme of this novel is likely to be? Are
there any interactions between horses and
people in the first chapter which illustrate
2. Early in the novel, Son has this to say
about communication between people and horses:
“Some people assume we can’t understand
anything; others think we can understand a
lot.” Why do you think some people assume
horses are “dumb beasts,” and yet others think
they are sensitive, intelligent beings? Which
do you think and why?
3. Everyone who encounters the chestnut mare
Respect responds strongly to her. What is it
about Respect which commands attention? Mrs.
Winchester says, “When half of her fire turns
from anger to the work, she’s one of the best
horses I’ve ever ridden.” Explain what Mrs.
4. The horses in Beauty’s Son are distinct
individuals. Evelyn, the instructor at River
Rock, says of the horses in her stable: “All
of these horses could tell us some stories, if
they could talk.” Think about the different
horses you have met. What stories do you think
they could tell? How do horses tell us their
stories without using human language?
5. Tiffany Alexander is a rider who expects
her horses to perform well even though she
doesn’t know how to ride well. Have you ever
known a rider like Tiffany Alexander? How does
learning to ride well help you communicate
6. Toddy and Kurt are both jumper riders.
Compare and contrast their attitudes toward
their horses. Think of a show rider you
admire, in whatever discipline. Read an
interview with them, and learn what they have
to say about riding and training their horses.
7. It is said that every time you ride a
horse, you are training that horse. Explain
what is meant by this statement.
8. Son is horrified by Respect’s death. How
might Respect’s life have gone differently? Do
you think there are “rogue horses,” horses who
are just born bad? If not, explain how such
horses are created.
9. The only place the horses don’t speak to
each other is at the rental stable. Why do you
think they don’t communicate with each other
10. Some of the people Son encounters are kind
to him. How do even some of the minor
characters, such as Kelly at “Junior’s Family
Farm,” play an important role in Son’s life?
11. Have you ever watched horses interact with
each other? If so, in what ways do they
communicate? And in what ways do they
communicate with people? If you could talk to
a horse you’ve met—or to one you might meet in
the future—what would you say?
12. Have you read Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty?
If so, in what ways does the world of
contemporary horses contrast with Black
Beauty’s world? How does it compare?
13. The book’s epigraph is an old English
saying: “Show me your horse, and I’ll tell you
who you are.” How do we learn who the novel’s
human characters are by meeting their horses?
14. Does the filly Nicki and Adam adopt from
the auction remind you of an earlier
character? Why is the fate of that filly
likely to differ from that previous
© 2013 Anne H. Wood and Brian Keesling. All