Merrylegs is the first of the horses to leave for his new home. Then John comes and takes Ginger and Beauty to their new home at Earlshall Park, where they see for the first time Mr. York—their new coachman—a friendly yet firm middle-aged man. The man asks John about the temperament of these two new horses, and John replies that they are the finest pair of horses in the country. Of the two, he says, Beauty has a calmer temper and Ginger is a bit irritable if she receives harsh treatment. John also points out that they never had to use the checkrein. Unfortunately, the checkrein is necessary at the hall, Mr. York says, despite his own preferences against it. The lady of the hall will not stand for anything but check-reins and the heads of her horses must be held up high. John anticipates hardship and is loath to leave the horses here but leave them he must.
That afternoon Beauty wears the checkrein for the first time, and though he finds it burdensome, he is able to bear the annoyance. The next day the lady, upon seeing Beauty and Ginger harnessed to the carriage, demands that the coachman tighten the check-reins as the horses’ heads must rise higher. The coachman reluctantly surrendered and tightened the reins one hole. Day by day this pattern continued; the lady demanded that the coachman tighten the reins more and more until Beauty came to hate his harness and hate his carriage and especially hate his checkrein.
All this tension came to a head one day when the lady came down, more annoyed than ever, and demanded that the man once again tighten the check-rein. This was one step too far for Ginger; as soon as they opened the rein for adjustment she started kicking and flailing and knocking about. She managed to knock Mr. York in the nose and she unintentionally kicked Beauty as well. The grooms had to wrestle her to the ground and lead her back to the stables bruised and angered. After that incident they did not harness her to the carriages again. Instead Beauty had a new partner—Max—who had given in to the inevitability of the checkrein and bore it with no outward resistance. Mr. York in private voiced great annoyance with the lady and her unreasonable demands, but outwardly he did not disobey her and continued to use the checkreins on the carriage horses. For four months Beauty continued to bear that pain, and here he had no friend like John to take care of him. Mr. York, Beauty guesses, knew and sympathized with his pain, but had probably accepted the checkrein as inevitable and did nothing to relieve Beauty.
That spring, the Earl and some of his family departed on a trip to London, leaving Ginger and Beauty behind in the hall. Lady Anne, who stayed behind, would often take Beauty out on a ride. Beauty loved these rides, as she was a masterful rider and had a happy and gentle disposition. She is the one who gave Beauty his next name, “Black Auster.” One day however, Lady Anne decided to ride Lizzie—another horse on the barn, a gentle yet rather nervous mare—and leave Beauty so that the gentleman Blantyre could ride him instead. So the two riders and two horses went off and all went well at first. When they reached their intended destination, Blantyre stepped away for a few minutes and during that short span of time, a few carthorses and colts came down the road. One of the colts ran right into Lizzie’s legs and the nervous old mare panicked, kicked around and then dashed off with Lady Anne holding on for her life. Off they went, Anne unable to stop her frightened horse. Blantyre was back in a minute and upon seeing what happened, he leapt onto Beauty and the two went dashing off after the runaway horse. The chase was on. Sometimes Lizzie would be in sight, other times hidden. Up this hill and down that turn she went. Over one dike and ditch they leapt and so Beauty leapt right after them. TO their dismay, Lady Anne had fallen off after such a jump, and Blantyre—spotting two men in the distance willing to help—immediately dispatched one of them on Beauty to send word to the doctor. And so again Beauty had to dash back to town for the doctor and again he performed spectacularly. The doctor came in time and Lady Anne soon recovered and Beauty’s hope and joy in life started to slowly return.
Then Beauty shifts his focus to the man who acted as the substitute coachman when Mr. York was away: Reuben Smith. Smith was, according to Beauty, a highly capable, kind, hard-working man. He would have been one of Beauty’s best caretakers were it not for one critical flaw: he had a drinking problem. Though he could control himself for months at a time, every now and then he would have a bout and do something that brought shame upon himself and hard times upon his wife. One such time he was so drunk he could not drive his passengers back home, and so for that offence he was dismissed. However, Mr. York interceded on his behalf, and the kind-hearted Earl took Smith back in. So it was that one day, Smith was riding Beauty on an errand. On their journey a nail in one of Beauty’s shoes became loose. When they reached a rest stop, the hostler warned Smith about the nail but the man—having drunk during the rest—dismissed the man and left the shoe as it was. Then he took Beauty off on a gallop back home, whipping every now and then, as he was drunk and in a bad temper. Beauty’s shoe eventually came off during such a hard ride, but Smith failed to notice.
The next part of the road was particularly stony and sharp and Beauty’s unprotected foot soon began to bleed and hurt terribly. The journey continued and Beauty soon reached his limit. He stumbled and fell, unintentionally flinging Smith of his back. The man fell unconscious and soon died, while the horse could only stand there, trembling under multiple pains. Two men eventually came down the road from the opposite direction; they were looking for Smith and here they found him dead. Susan his wife would be devastated, one man was saying, and he must have in a terrible state to try and ride a shoeless horse over this type of road. After voicing these regrets the two men together plan how to take both the body and Beauty back to the hall.
The walk home caused Beauty severe pain; the man leading him gave him a makeshift wrapping and did the best he could but the three-mile trail after Beauty’s already painful journey only further damaged his health. Eventually, though, he made it; and, there in his old stables, he fell asleep despite the pain. In the morning the farrier attempted to treat Beauty’s wound. He would heal, the doctor said, but in the process of treating his wound they had to burn out some flesh and apply a burning fluid that permanently discolored Beauty’s knees. As for Smith, he was buried soon enough and his wife had to take care of their six children by herself; she could only repeat over and over her regrets that he drank when he was otherwise such a good man.