Tuesday 06 June - 16h00 | Ian Clayton

William Shatner's New Book on his Passion for Horses

86-year-old Canadian actor William Shatner has become a cultural icon over the years for playing characters such as Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek series, and for his irrepressible and witty sense of humour. But what might be less known is the Montreal native’s deep and lifelong love of horses.

 - William Shatner's New Book on his Passion for Horses

Shatner as Captain Kirk in Star Trek
Credit : Wikimedia Commons

That passion is front and centre in Shatner’s new book, Spirit Of The Horse — A Celebration in Fact and Fable, written with Jeff Rovin. And as a review on NPR in the United States puts it, “From the first words of Spirit of the Horse, it\'s clear that this is a man who is wonderfully, hopelessly in love with the creatures.”

The book, NPR adds, brings together everything from anecdotes and memories to historical myths and fables, as well as old training manuals, to create a memoir which asks the questions: “Why do horses have such a hold on humans? What about them captures us so intently?”

Anecdotes in the book range from Shatner buying his first horse impulsively on the advice of a 12-year-old friend, to his quirky dreams about horses, to visiting Superman actor and three-day eventing rider Christopher Reeve after he was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident: 

“[Chris] couldn’t walk, he had no control over his body below his neck, he couldn’t even breathe without a ventilator. He said with his first breath, in about three phrases, ‘Tell me. How your horses are. And how much you love riding.’ Those words, the intonation, the longing he put into them—they will stay with me always.”

The Emmy-winning actor from dramas like Boston Legal may not always provide the most up-to-date scientific information on the nature of horses, but his book is a passionate ode from a man who compares stables to ‘cathedrals.’ And as others have noted, this passion may have started thanks to an episode of Star Trek. In season one’s “Shore Leave', Shatner and Leonard Nimoy filmed a scene alongside a peaceful horse. “Standing near a settled horse, with no pressure to do anything other than absorb the morning," Shatner recalls, "that was magic.”

Further reading...