Are you an equestrian at heart? Dive into these seven books that resonate deeply with the spirit of every horse enthusiast. From touching tales to rich histories, get ready for an emotional ride.
“Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell
“Black Beauty” is a touching autobiographical account of a horse, chronicling its life from its idyllic days as a colt on an English farm, through various owners, to his days of hardship pulling cabs in London. Sewell presents an evocative tale that emphasizes the need for kind treatment of animals. The narrative, told from the perspective of Black Beauty himself, offers a unique view of human behaviors, both kind and cruel, and highlights the deep bond that can form between animals and humans. Though primarily aimed at young readers, Sewell’s profound insights into animal welfare and her plea for kinder treatment make it a timeless classic appreciated by readers of all ages.
“The Man Who Listens to Horses” by Monty Roberts
In this compelling memoir, Monty Roberts opens up about his life and the techniques he developed to communicate with horses. Roberts, known as the original “horse whisperer,” delves into his childhood, marked by an abusive father, and the refuge he found among horses. He recounts his experiences observing wild mustangs in Nevada, which led him to devise his non-violent training approach, the “Join-Up” method. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Roberts believes that horses use a discernible, codified language, which he learns and uses to “speak” to them. This revolutionary approach has transformed how many think about horse training.
“Seabiscuit: An American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand
This riveting biography narrates the tale of Seabiscuit, an underdog racehorse, and his meteoric rise during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit was no typical champion. Despite his rough appearance and indomitable spirit, he became a beacon of hope for many during the toughest of times. Hillenbrand masterfully weaves together the lives of the team behind Seabiscuit: the charismatic owner Charles Howard, the quiet and introspective trainer Tom Smith, and the two jockeys, Red Pollard and George Woolf. Their collective story, set against the backdrop of a struggling nation, highlights resilience, redemption, and the powerful bond between man and beast.
“The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation” by Elizabeth Letts
This gripping narrative unfolds the tale of Snowman, a former plow horse, and Harry de Leyer, a Dutch immigrant and schoolteacher. Harry stumbles upon Snowman at a horse auction, saving him from certain doom, only to discover Snowman’s remarkable jumping ability. Within a year, the two of them rise through the ranks of the show jumping world, breaking records and winning the hearts of fans nationwide. Letts beautifully captures the essence of their bond, illustrating how determination, grit, and a touch of serendipity can elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary.
“The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World’s Greatest Racehorse” by Lawrence Scanlan
Scanlan delves into the life of Secretariat, the renowned horse that defied odds to win the Triple Crown in 1973. This biography does more than recount race statistics. It paints a vivid picture of Secretariat’s charisma, his powerful stride, and the heart twice the average size. However, the heart of this story revolves around the relationships that propelled Secretariat to the top, particularly the bond between the horse and his groom, Eddie Sweat. Scanlan beautifully juxtaposes the world of elite horse racing against the humble dedication of the individuals behind the scenes.
“Riding Lessons” by Sara Gruen
Annemarie Zimmer was once a prodigy in the equestrian world, destined for Olympic glory. However, a tragic accident not only ends her career but also claims the life of her beloved horse. Twenty years later, divorced and with a troubled teenager, she returns to her family’s riding academy. The return is fraught with emotional upheavals as Annemarie confronts past traumas, lost dreams, and a landscape that’s changed in her absence. Sara Gruen weaves a poignant narrative about second chances, family ties, and the healing power of horses.
“The Horse Behavior Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered About How Horses Think, Learn, and React” by Jessica Jahiel
This comprehensive guide by Jessica Jahiel demystifies equine behavior, offering insights into why horses act the way they do. Jahiel addresses a multitude of common challenges faced by horse owners, from biting and kicking to transportation anxieties. She blends scientific research with practical advice, equipping readers to understand their horses better and establish stronger bonds with them. By understanding the “why” behind certain behaviors, Jahiel believes owners can more effectively address and mitigate issues, fostering a more harmonious human-horse relationship.
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