While you're waiting for Living the Dream to appear, here are a few of my favourite horsy books which you might enjoy reading too. If you have some favourite books of your own, let me know and I'll add them to the list!

Clicking on each of the pictures will take you to their Amazon page.

FICTION:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Probably the most famous horse book of all time! Written in Beauty's own words, it tells his story from his birth, through his early happy years and then of how he passes from owner to owner, suffering all sorts of hardships. It has a happy ending for Beauty, although not for some of the other horses he meets along the way, so be ready for a few tears before you reach the final page.

 

 

Spirit of Punchbowl Farm by Monica Edwards

Monica Edwards wrote lots of stories set either on the Sussex coast or at a Surrey farm, full of events inspired by real life - she grew up in Rye and later on bought Punchbowl Farm with her husband. 

This is one of the Punchbowl Farm stories, and one of my very favourite. When it's decided that the ancient yew tree on the farm must be felled for the safety of the animals, Lindsey is horrified and tries desperately to think up ways of earning enough money to fence it off. Then she meets a figure from the past ... but will what she has seen be dismissed as truth or merely a figment of her imagination?  

 

The White Riders by Monica Edwards

This is one of Monica Edwards' Romney Marsh series of books: when a holiday camp is to be set up on the marsh, and the Merrow family are about to be thrown out of their farm, Tamzin, Rissa, Roger and Meryon decide something needs to be done to stop it. They decide to bring back the White Riders - but fitting in a bit of haunting with the pressures of everyday life isn't easy and before long it looks as though their enemy is on to them and they will be found out. An exciting and believable adventure.

 

The Great Rosette Robbery and other stories by Karen Bush

I hope you'll forgive me if I include one of my own books in this list! I had lots of fun writing these stories, and which were indirectly responsible for me writing It Only Happens in Stories.

There are eight stories, including tales about a pony that won't jump, a talented event horse which loses his nerve, show prizes that mysteriously go missing, a pony which finally finds his vocation, and how a stolen rosette leads to an unexpected but wonderful opportunity.

I am the Great Horse by Katherine Roberts

Another horsy autobiography, but as Bucephalus himself says in his introduction, he is no gentle mannered horse like Black Beauty. Far from it - this is Alexander the Great's first and favourite war horse, and like his master, he likes to be in charge. Starting at the point when Alexander first meets Bucephalus, a wild and unmanageable stallion that no one so far has been able to ride, it follows his progress as he battles his way from Macedonia across the world to Persia and India. It's quite a long book, but once you start, you'll find it very, very hard to put it down.

 

There Must be Horses by Diana Kimpton

When Sasha ends up at Kingfishers after yet another failed adoption placement, it seems to her like the perfect place. There are horses after all ... but there's a catch. This is only going to be a temporary place to stay and before long she will have to move on again: owners Joe and Beth are adamant about that. But Sasha has other plans: as she slowly begins to bond with a psychologically damaged horse, will she be able to change their minds?

This is a great story - although be warned that you might need a hanky before you reach the end. 

 

The Eventers Trilogy - Eventers Dream/A Hoof in the Door/Ticket to Ride by Caroline Akrill
Nobody writes a horse as well as Caroline Akrill - she manages to capture each individual personality beautifully, really bringing it to life. Equally important, she also writes a jolly good story - in this set of three books (which you can also buy as separate volumes) she covers the attempts by Elaine to get a toehold in the world of eventing. Starting out as a groom for the eccentric Fane sisters, after some difficulty she manages to purchase a promising youngster - and that's just the easy part.

Caroline doesn't just know her horses, she is also very good at doing funny. As well as a serious plot, there's some very believable humour packed in too. I've read these books so many times now they are falling to pieces, but they still succeed in making me laugh.

 

Fly-by-Night by K M Peyton

K M Peyton is another one of those talented authors who can write believable horses, people and situations. In this book, Ruth Hollis has longed for a horse all her life - and with her family's move from London to a new housing estate in East Anglia, she is determined to get one. All she can afford is Fly, an unbroken pony: as she quickly finds out, not the best choice for a novice, nor the back garden the best place in which to keep him. This is a great book - and the good news is that you can read more about Ruth in the sequel 'The Team'. 

 

The Silver Bridle by Caroline Akrill

Another Caroline Akrill book - I do love her writing. Originally these appeared as three books - Make Me A Star, Stars Don't Cry and Catch A Falling Star, and you can still buy them as separate volumes if you prefer.

This time, aspiring actress Grace Darling succeeds in getting the lead role in a TV series - but having stretched the truth in order to land the part, now needs to learn how to ride. Both funny and sad, she finds herself being drawn into the world of horses as well as acting, and ultimately fighting to save the life of the horse who co-stars with her.

 

The Word on the Yard by Janet Rising

When Pia finds an ancient statue of the Celtic goddess Epona she finds it enables her to hear horses speak - although it's not always what she expects or wants to hear. Her new found talents aren't always helpful either and invariably end up further complicating her already complicated life. Things really start to go awry when she ends up with her own TV spot ...  This is great fun, a perfect light-hearted read: and there are four others in the series for you to enjoy too.

 

Blood Red Horse by K M Grant

If you like a bit of history in your horse stories, this one is a winner. Telling the story of Will and Hosanna, the 'blood red' horse which he is devoted to, it follows their adventures on King Richard II's Crusades and their battle not just to survive the conflict but to return home again.

 

NON FICTION

The Difficult Horse by Sarah Fisher and Karen Bush
As well as looking at reasons why horses can become labelled as difficult, this book provides suggestions as to how to avoid difficulties arising in the first place. If you do encounter problems there is also plenty of advice and loads of practical 'step by step' exercises to try. Worth reading even if you don't have a 'difficult' horse as the exercises can be done with any equine and have plenty of additional benefits such as improving the gaits and deepening the bond between you and your horse.

The Horse Rider's Hacking Handbook by Karen Bush and Stephen Jenkinson
Everything you ever needed - or wanted - to know about going hacking, whether on your own horse, a borrowed one, or a riding school or trekking centre mount! As well as covering all the stuff you need to know such as what to wear, where you can (and can't) ride, and how to cope with different sorts of terrain, there is lots of information about what to do in various emergency situations and ideas to make even your routine rides more exciting and fun.

This is an official manual of the Association of British Riding Schools. 

 

Show Jumping for Fun or Glory by Ernest Dillon and Helen Revington
Whatever your level and whether you just jump for fun or have more serious aspirations, you'll find that this book is stuffed full of good sound advice. It covers pretty much all you want to know, from finding the right trainer, working on the flat and over fences, practical exercises through to competing. There are some great tips from top riders and points to ponder too - this really is one of those books which should be in every show jumper's bookcase!

 


101 Riding Exercises by Karen Bush and Julian Marczak

A comprehensive and practical guide to improving your riding - there are lots of exercises to choose from which will help you tackle every aspect of your position. Each exercise is clearly explained, with accompanying diagrams and step-by-step instructions. There are also useful tips, a trouble-shooting guide and dismounted exercises.

This is an official manual of The Association of British Riding Schools.

Discover more horsy books that you may enjoy reading over at Jane Badger's website and blog, where you'll find reviews, author interviews and musings on all your favourite equestrian writers. Jane has also written a very good book herself, called Heroines on Horseback, all about how horsy stories have evolved over the years. Click on the picture to be taken to its Amazon page - although if you prefer, you can buy one from Jane directly AND have it autographed! Jane's website is at www.janebadgerbooks.co.uk where you will also find a link to her blog, 'Books, Mud and Compost. And Horses'. You can also follow her on Facebook or discuss horsy books with others at http://horsebooks.proboards.com

""I felt like I was Clare jumping at Olympia." (Amazon review by Mrs Diane Willerton)