Reading List For Horse Lovers

Reading List For Horse Lovers

Entertainment can be hard to come by these days! We’ve got you covered! We’ve all collaborated to put together a list of our favorite equestrian books/authors! Fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, fantasy – we’ve got something for everyone! 

Beware Chestnut Mare – Jody Jaffe

The official version says that former beauty queen Josane Ashmore died after being trampled by her unruly chestnut mare. Her mother declares it was murder. Yet when Charlotte reporters Natalie Gold and Henry Goode go to Virginia to prove it, they find more questions than answers. Who set Josane up in her charming Middleburg shop? Why were her personal belongings disposed of so quickly? And, perhaps most chilling, who keeps trying to kill Nattie and Henry?

A Horse Of A Different Killer – Jody Jaffe

When a quarter-million-dollar show horse and a top trainer are found brutally murdered side by side, Natalie Gold, a reporter for the Charlotte Commercial Appeal, seizes the chance to get off the fashion beat she so detests: she knows the rich, competitive, and devious world of the show horse circuit. Teamed with handsome investigative reporter, Henry Goode, Nattie makes the rounds of the Carolina show horse circuit, pumping society matrons for scandals and tracking down trainers. But as she closes in on the truth, Nattie becomes the target for a series of increasingly savage death threats, not only to herself but to her beloved horse, Brenda Starr.

In Colt Blood – Jody Jaffe

When Nattie Gold’s boss at The Charlotte Commercial Appeal orders her to find a local horse whisperer to interview, she knows just the person: yellow-haired New Age belle Sarah Jane Lowell. Unfortunately, before Nattie can set up a meeting, Sarah Jane vanishes along with her newfound friend: Nattie’s eccentric father. Suspiciously, their sudden disappearance coincides with the brutal murder of Fuzzy McMahon, whose bludgeoned body was found at the very stable where Nattie was supposed to meet Sarah Jane. Who would stoop to such a bloody act of violence?

Dark Horse By Tami Hoag 

A young woman is missing and her twelve-year-old stepsister comes to Estes for help. No one but serious, studious Molly Seabright seems concerned about what’s happened to her troubled older sister. But Molly is convinced Erin is in danger. Estes has no P.I. license, no interest in a new career, and no desire to break her self-imposed exile. But the more she learns about the people Erin Seabright was involved with, the more her long-dormant cop instincts come back to life.

Fit To Show – Madden & Cooney

The Guide to Grooming Your Horse by Frank Madden, Bill Cooney, & Amy Rosi

A Very Young Rider – Jill Krementz

A ten-year-old girl relates her experiences as she and her pony train and prepare for riding competitions.

The Thoroughbred Series – Joanna Campbell

The series originally followed the adventures of Ashleigh as she was growing up; when Ashleigh reached adulthood, the focus of the books shifted to young Samantha McLean. During Samantha’s college and adult years, the books centered on Cindy Blake McLean, Samantha’s adopted younger sister. Late in the series, there was a large “time gap” before the series focused on a teenaged Christina and her cousin Melanie.

Warhorse – Micheal Morpurgo

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he can find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will, he ever see his true master again?

My Friend Flicka – Mary O’Hara

It seems Ken can’t do anything right. He loses saddle blankets and breaks reins . . . but then comes the worst news yet: a report card so bad that he has to repeat a grade. How can you tame the dreamy mind of a boy who stares out of the window instead of taking an exam? Enter Flicka, the chestnut filly with a wild spirit. Throughout one magical summer, both will learn the meaning of responsibility, courage, and, ultimately, friendship.

The Horse Whisperer – Nicolas Evans

On a snow-covered morning in upstate New York, a girl out riding her horse is hit by a 40-ton truck. Though injured, both 13-year-old Grace and her horse Pilgrim survive. Annie, Grace’s mother, refuses to have Pilgrim destroyed and hears about a man in Montana, a ‘whisperer’ who is said to have the gift of healing troubled horses. They set off across the continent to find him and there, under the massive Montana sky, all their lives are changed forever.

Hot Blood – The Helen Brach Story – Ken Englade

The disappearance of fabulously rich Chicago candy heiress Helen Brach and the suspicious deaths of a string of champion racehorses are linked in a celebrated scandal that has reverberated through every level of the glamorous enclaves of thoroughbred horse breeding. When widowed heiress Helen Brach suddenly disappeared on the morning of February 17, 1977, after a visit to the Mayo Clinic, she left behind a lavender Rolls-Royce, Cadillacs in red, pink, and coral, an eighteen-room mansion, and a fortune now estimated at 75 million. She also left behind a mystery that would tantalize investigators for years.

Billie & Blaze- CW Anderson

A boy and his beloved horse and the many adventures they share. Known for fine full-page illustrations, each story revolves around the proper care of the horse and each features a lesson to be learned. These stories are truly enjoyable and timeless.

Ruffian – Jane Schwartz

The story of the exceptional filly Ruffian, a horse so dominating, she was likened to a legend. Beginning with her earliest days in Kentucky, the book follows Ruffian at every stage of her career and through the agony of her final hours–venturing behind the scenes of the racing world, and exploring the politics and personalities that came together to shape this extraordinary filly’s life.
Ruffian: Burning From the Start by [Jane Schwartz]

Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate best-seller, with Sewell dying just five months after its publication, but long enough to see her only novel become a success. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect.

In The Middle Are The Horsemen – Tik Maynard

In 2008, 26–year–old Tik Maynard faced a crossroads, not unlike that of other young adults. A university graduate and modern pentathlete, he suffered both a career-ending injury and a painful breakup, leaving him suddenly adrift. The son of prominent Canadian equestrians, Maynard decided to spend the next year as a “working student.” In the horse industry, working students aspire to become professional riders or trainers, and willingly trade labor for hands-on education. Here Maynard chronicles his experiences–good and bad–and we follow along as one year becomes three, what began as a casual adventure gradually transforms, and a life’s purpose comes sharply into focus.

In the Middle Are the Horsemen by [Tik Maynard]

Dick Francis – Racing Novels 

Dick Francis was a famous British steeplechase jockey and author of crime novels. This internationally acclaimed writer had published numerous novels in his lifetime which resonated well with horse riding lovers all over the world. He had a penchant for weaving intriguing stories that revolved around crimes that take place among horse riding communities. Every book had a central character who was narrating the story which enables writers to see life through his eyes. Over forty of his crime books had topped different international booklists due to his exceptional storytelling abilities.

Nerve: A classic racing mystery from the king of crime by [Dick Francis]

Rita Mae Brown – Mrs. Murphy Mysteries 

Murder mystery novels, that take place in the cozy town of Crozet, Virginia. The main protagonist is Mary Minor Haristeen, or Harry as her friends call her. She has a curiosity that just cannot be satisfied, and whenever a mystery shows itself, she is quick to jump on the case. She is assisted by three animal companions: Mrs. Murphy, a Grey Tiger Cat, Tee Tucker, a Welsh Corgi, and Pewter, an over-weight gray cat. With their help, Harry has been able to overcome the odds.

Sneaky Pie for President: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by [Rita Mae Brown, Michael Gellatly]

Rita Mae Brown – Sister Jane Series 

In the pristine world of Virginia foxhunting, hunters, horses, hounds, and foxes form a lively community of conflicting loyalties, where the thrill of the chase and the intricacies of human-animal relationships are experienced firsthand–and murder exposes a proud Southern community’s unsavory secrets.

Out of Hounds: A Novel ("Sister" Jane Book 13) by [Rita Mae Brown]

Build Confidence Over Fences – Holly Hugo-Vidal

 As your horse covers the last few strides toward a jump, do you see a distance, or do you see a disaster? Jumping doesn’t have to be frightening. Learning to ride with confidence over fences is like learning to swim with confidence: You may never make the Olympics, but you can learn to perform competently, safely, and consistently. After all, riding is supposed to be fun, not a continuing episode of “Fear Factor.” Building confidence is best done systematically, beginning with fundamentals and working logically toward more advanced skills. Even if you’ve been jumping for years you’ll find that revisiting the basics improves your skills. 

Wylde Ride: A Horseman’s Story – Joe Dotoli

The biography of Peter Wylde, a boy who won the Maclay Finals at age sixteen and later became an international equestrian superstar. In the late 1970s, a twelve-year-old boy and his parents arrived at horse trainer Joe Dotoli’s stable to inquire about his services. Relying on his memory and photographs, Dotoli chronicles his thirty-year relationship with Wylde as his trainer and friend, sharing the inspirational journey of a horseman who viewed his accomplishments as second to those of his horse. From the first day, Wylde rode his horse around the trainer’s field, Dotoli details how he helped build the confidence of his student who already seemed bound for prominence in an extremely competitive sport. From Dotoli’s stables to the Olympic Games in Athens, the story of Wylde’s evolution into an equestrian superstar will inspire young riders to choose the honorable track and, above all else, become horsemen first.

The Hounds Of Anwnn – Series by Karen Myers 

George Talbot Traherne is just doing his job on a fine autumn morning, keeping the hounds together for the huntsman of the Rowanton Hunt in Virginia along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Doesn’t pay to get distracted by a white stag in unfamiliar territory, though. Next thing you know, you might find yourself… somewhere else. The land is the same but not the people. Their huntsman has just been murdered, and George is tapped for the job. It’s an emergency — the Wild Hunt is only two weeks away, and if it doesn’t happen on schedule, the antlered god Cernunnos will take the realm from its ruler Gwyn ap Nudd and find someone who can mete out justice with the Hounds of Hell in his place.

Can George keep the Wild Hunt on track despite the attempts to thwart it? Will he be accepted by those he wants to defend who view his timely presence and his human blood with suspicion? Above all, what does Cernunnos want of him and how far will he go? Can he survive the attention of a god?

If you have any favorites that we didn’t mention, reach out and let us know! Check out these great submissions too!

The Eighty-Dollar Champion – Elizabeth Letts

Submitted by Farm House Friend – K. Landon of Huntsville Alabama

Harry DeLeyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse. The recent Dutch immigrant recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up nag and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, he ultimately taught Snowman how to fly. Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping. 

Horses Adored and Men Endured – Susan Friedland-Smith

Submitted by Farm House Friend – A. Ellison of Glendora California

Trot through Horses Adored and Men Endured and you’ll sneak a neighbor’s Palomino to a horse show, buy a green gelding as the first horse against all conventional advice, and trek across the Irish countryside on a sassy chestnut. Tag along on several cringe-worthy dates starting with food poisoning at prom to the surprise pie fight. Be there when Susan finally falls head over heels with someone tall, dark, and handsome (it’s a bay Thoroughbred gelding!).

The Monday Horses by Jean Slaughter Doty 

Submitted by Farm House Friend A. Rayburn
Set in an A-circuit hunter-jumper stable, following an accident to her pony, Cassie is offered a catch-ride on a top pony and rides in pursuit of a Horse Of The Year Award.


The Crumb by Jean Slaughter Doty

Submitted by Farm House Friend A. Rayburn
A young girl and her pony become involved in the horse show circuit when she gets a job helping out at a nearby stable and riding school.

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Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley is great!


Please consider the winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden. You must read all three! This author knows horses. It is a fantasy based on Russian fairy tales. Also the horse masters (may be out of print). It was a disney movie from years ago, but the book is way better.


You are missing a great book from your list. It’s called Milo’s eyes. It’s about a blind equestrian and her horse. It is amazing!!!

Licia Mosher

Phar Lap – saw the movie , assumed it was a book….?

Lori Masuda



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