The Black Stallion was published in 1941 and was written by Walter Farley whilst he was still in high school. It was published whilst he was an undergraduate at Columbia University and was an instant hit. Farley based the character of Alec Ramsay on himself; hey shared a love of horses and like Alec Farley wanted a horse of his own more than anything whilst he was growing up. He even entered a contest run by a magazine company which offered a pony as first prize to the child who sold the most magazine subscriptions. Farley did not win the contest and never did own his own horse, but when his uncle, who owned a number of show and jumper horses, moved to Syracuse where Walter and his family lived, he had access to the stables and spent as much time there as he could.
Farley loved writing fiction even as a young boy, and his first story, also with an equine hero, was called The Winged Horse and was penned when he was just ten years old. Although he has subsequently written for newspapers and magazines, as well as the radio, he is still best known for his incredibly popular Black Stallion series. Of the thirty-four books he has written, twenty are about the Black Stallion. This includes the final book Walter Farley wrote shortly before his death in 1989, a novel called The Young Black Stallion, which Walter co-wrote with his son, Steven.