I have a nephew who trains horses for a living. As a child, he repeatedly claimed that he hated to read…until he discovered the Pony Pal series. He tore through every one of the books and any other book or series about horses he could find. With that memory in mind, here are four books that I think echo some of that passion.
These are not books just for horse trainers, though. I loved all four books in spite of my relative unfamiliarity with all things equestrian. Yet they are centered enough on the majesty of the horses to have lasting appeal for readers who actually know something about how to ride a horse.King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry. My seven-year-old listened to this audiobook after we found it was available through the library’s online collection last summer. After he finished the book, he begged me to read it to him again. When I went to the library’s information desk for help locating a copy, the librarian’s eyes lit up. “Oh, I love this book,” she said. That is always a great sign. Another good sign: After we read the book together, my son listened to the audio version again a few months later.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is a YA fantasy novel that revolves around an annual race of wild water horses. The setting as a whole is so fantastically done, and the suspense revolving around the race itself really propels the action. If this is all sounding familiar, it’s because I’ve already sung the novel’s praises when I reviewed it here.
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry was recommended to me by my niece, who is a passionate horse lover. Once she found out the book is inspired by a true story, and that the Pony Penning Day still happens each year, she has made it her life’s goal to go to the auction. Since she is only five years old, there’s still time. I had no idea the book was by Marguerite Henry, author of King of the Wind, until I picked it up on her recommendation. The real Misty was the author’s horse and inspiration for the novel, which is probably why the book so perfectly conveys the compelling bond between a horse and the person that loves her.
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley is the companion novel to The Hero and The Crown. If truth be told, The Blue Sword is actually my favorite of the two. We explore the world McKinley created through the eyes of Harry Crewe as she falls in love with the mystery and hills of Damar. Quite a bit of the action takes place on horseback, including a section of the book devoted to the traditions and competitions of the King’s Riders. As I mentioned in my review of The Hero and The Crown, the two books can be read in any order. If you’re looking for horses, definitely start with The Blue Sword.