I love to read. I’ll read anything with words on it, from shampoo bottles to advertisements to, well, you’ve got the idea. I’ll read anything. Even though reading is fairly convenient now with kindle apps, audible books, and tablets, I still find myself forever loving the way a paperback book feels in my hands. You’re holding an entire world in the palm of your hands. You can transport yourself to any place in time: past, present, or future.
I’d like to blame my parents for this little hobby of mine. When my brother and I were little kids, my parents’ rules barred us from watching TV or playing on the computer until we’d read for long enough we could exchange our time reading for TV time. Sounds pretty smart, right? Frustrated us, but in the end this practice instilled in both of us a love for books.
When school was out for the summer, we’d head to the library once a week and get several books to plow through so we could sit very happily in front of the Fairly Odd Parents, or something. The point is, we both spent a lot of time with our noses in books, which lead to the discovery of some incredible equestrian novels.
Fall in love with “Mousie” James, the young woman who wins the Fuller Trophy at the Royal Winter Fair in Canada. It’s hard to tell who you’ll fall in love with quicker; the quirky chestnut stallion who has blossomed with Mousie’s love and attention, the quiet, sweet girl herself. It’s a heart warming tale so many of us can identify with because let’s face it. We’ve all wanted that eccentric, quirky horse who loves us above all others. It doesn’t hurt when that horse is an international show jumping star, either.
- The Eighty-Dollar Champion
There’s something about the heart of a horse that’s good for the heart of a person. After finding “Snowman” on a truck headed for slaughter, Harry de Leyer brought him home. Like Dancer, Snowman came from humble beginnings to become one of the most renowned show jumping Thoroughbreds. Who doesn’t like a story about an underdog, a little hope, and a lot of heart?
- A Circuit Series
Thank you, Georgina Bloomberg. This series of four books heads to the top of Junior level riding, the A circuit. Imagine if Gossip Girl’s cast went to WEF, and you’ve got the gist of the A Circuit series. The backdrop of competition, horse shows, and the Junior rider lifestyle will send you back to your equitation days.
- My Friend Flicka
An old one, but nevertheless a good one! This book I’ll even take in the movie form, thanks to Tim McGraw. My Friend Flicka tells the tale of a young boy from Wyoming, and his darling filly who he ends of calling (you guessed it) Flicka! Even though there is considerable emotion in this book, it ends with the fairy tale we all wish was more common.
- The Heartland Series
Amy and Lou Fleming take center stage in this series. Though also a TV show, Heartland is a long series that tells the tale of a family devoted to rescuing seemingly irreparable horses. The journey is heartwarming, offering a glimpse of what life is like as a “horse whisperer”. You’ll want to try joining-up next time you head to the barn.
- Willow King
Though a blast from the past (think navy velvet helmets and jodhpurs with straps), this series follows a Thoroughbred colt who was born with badly twisted legs. His person, Katie, takes care of him and pursues therapy to help straighten his legs until he’s able to compete in major races. What’s more is the author knows racing first hand. Chris Platt is one of the first female jockeys who raced professionally.
- Abby Malone
Shelley Peterson weaves a great underdog tale again in this not-so-sequel to Dancer. Abby Malone is a young lady with a horrible home life whose love for her animals is incredible. She, like so many of us, daydreams about the beautiful mare hanging out conveniently across street from her school. The end of this story brings us to a Steeplechase that makes you wish you were watching from the rail.
- A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color
Never judge a book by it’s cover, right? Well, never judge a horse by his or her color! This book gives priceless wisdom into that very revelation. It goes to show that a Quarter Horse might find himself in the jumper ring, and that regardless of breed, color, gender, and type… every horse deserves to be treated with respect. Another thing this book offers is insight into the way a horse views the world. Surely that’s a perspective we’d all be interested in.
- Hope Rising
Grab a box of tissues, and your dog or cat before you curl up on the couch with this read. It’s an awe-inspiring collection of stories from a rescue ranch in Oregon. The couple who owns the ranch offer a safe haven to abused horses, and emotionally or physically abused children. It is truly amazing to read the author’s accounts, and to begin to see firsthand the power of love, compassion, and kindness for others.
- The Thoroughbred Series
Ok, it doesn’t really matter how old you are to read these. Though they’re marketed to a much younger crowd, they’re a nostalgic set of novels that will simultaneously have you missing summer camp with your pony and have you dying for your next event.