Just because lots of kids love horses doesn’t mean you have to be a kid in order to love horses. As any horse person would tell you, a love of horses is a lot like chicken pox. It strikes first in childhood, but it stays with you forever. Check out six books below to get your horsey-fix. After all, the smell of books is almost as good as the smell of horses.
Centered Riding, by Sally Swift
If you’re lucky enough to have ever had a riding instructor or mentor of any kind, chances are you’ve heard of this book. Swift’s has been one of the pioneering voices in the global movement toward humane, respectful horsemanship. She was one of the first to present the idea that the competent rider uses body, spirit, and mind to communicate with horses, rather than simply relying on force to intimidate the horse into compliance. This book will inspire, guide, and empower both you and your horse and is an essential addition to any rider’s library.
Chosen by a Horse, by Susan Richards
In the mood for a grown-up horsey novel? If so, this poignant tale is an excellent choice. In rescuing Lay Me Down, a retired and badly neglected racehorse with a foal in tow, Susan Richards embarks on a heart-opening journey of love, family, and redemption. This rich and beautifully written tale is an homage to the spiritual connection human beings can have with animals and calls to mind the Anatole France quote, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
The Complete Horse Riding Manual, by William Micklem
This is an excellent pick for English-style competitors looking to hone their techniques. How to pair horses with riders, how to keep your horse and yourself in tip-top shape, and how to strengthen the camaraderie between horse and rider are just some of the topics explored. Show-jumping, dressage, and cross-country aficionados will love the specific instructions and real-world, skill-building tips offered by this book. Beginners can benefit, too, since it’s never too early to learn good habits and challenge yourself.
Eleanor McGraw, a Pony Named Mouse, and a Boy Called Fire, by Katharina Marcus
Do you know a horse lover who’s mostly grown up? Say, a teen who has exhausted this horse-obsessed kid’s reading list and is ready for something little more angsty? Look no further, because this Young Adult (YA) novel has all the necessaries for a great ride: an unpredictable pony, young love, and family strife. With its page-turning charm and edgy dialogue, this super-fun read is sure to appeal to not-so-young adults as well.
The Faraway Horses: The Adventures and Wisdom of One of America’s Most Renowned Horsemen, by Buck Brannaman
First of all, if you have not seen Buck, the 2011 documentary film about legendary horseman, Buck Brannaman, you need to get that done before the Horse Person Police come and take your Horse Lover ID card away. Once you’ve been reduced to a laughing, crying, cheering mess by the film, you’ll need no convincing to pick up this book. If you’ve been around horses and horse folk long enough, you know there are mere mortals who love horses and do our best to learn their ways, and there are those people who making riding look more natural than walking. These are the folks who seem more at ease at a bareback canter than in a rocking chair. Buck Brannaman is one of those folks, and he will convince you that you can be one, too. Buck’s strength is in breaking down what appears to be an innate gift into a concrete set of skills, and helps us translate our convoluted human commands into a kind-yet-assertive language readily understandable by our equine companions. With Buck’s help, prepare to be amazed, prepare to be inspired, and prepare to be a much, much better rider.
Borrowed Horses, by Sian Griffiths
This moving story begins when Joannie Edson gets some bad news. The Equestrian Olympic hopeful finds herself at a crossroads when her mom’s multiple sclerosis worsens. Joannie does the only thing she can, move back to Idaho to help out with her family’s struggle. Once there, it becomes clear her beloved horse is getting on in years and won’t be able to compete. Joannie must decide whether to pursue the romance she has long put off in favor of her career, or to pour all her energy into an abused and frightened mare that just might hold the key to her Olympic dreams. This book is full of themes familiar to many lifelong riders—small-town gossip, tested dedication, and the value of compassion. Most of all, Borrowed Horses reminds us our four-legged companions teach us much more than we could ever teach them.