Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Reading List: Favorite Horse Fiction

I've been wanting to do a post like this for a LONG time now but it feels like a lot of work to do a book review for some reason. Also, I have SO many fiction and nonfiction books and I was going to try to put everything in one post but it just got too long so I kept giving up.

Instead I've decided to do a couple of posts. In this post I'm going to share my two favorite fiction horse books/series for summer and some of the runners up. The reason that I classify this "for summer" is that these two books are light and fun, easy reads so perfect for summer.

The House at Worlds End

This is my second favorite summer horse book. Even though it isn't specifically about horses the main character is a horse crazy girl and most of the book is focused on horses. It's also just a fun read about four kids who end up living on their own on a farm and they all have lots of fun, animal related, adventures. I love the writing (which is a bit dated in places) and there are lovely quotes like;

She had always wanted a kitchen where there was a saddle on the back of a chair and at least one bridle on the knob of a cupboard door.

Which is exactly how I dream of my kitchen. Unfortunately I think this book is out of print but if you can find it, I HIGHLY recommend it. Oh, and yes the author is Charles Dickens' great granddaughter. 

Another Kind of Cowboy

My absolute favorite horse book of all time and one of my favorite books in general. I'm not sure what makes this book so perfect but there are a few things that stand out to me. First, it's one of the few fiction horse books about Dressage. The only other books I'm aware of are the Dressage Chronicles (which I also really like) but most seem to be about jumping or racing.

Second it's a YA book but  I never feel talked down to or pandered to by her writing style. There's a lot of depth to the writing and her humor is dry and absolutely perfect. It's also a stand alone and fairly short so it's a perfect summer read.

Third, she NAILS dressage culture, absolutely nails it. Her description of the dressage clinician is humorously accurate and  she really seems to get dressage and the people who ride it.

Fourth, the location is in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I haven't been to Nanaimo but I have been to Vancouver Island and it was GORGEOUS and I'd love to visit again some day. The location of the book and her descriptions of the boarding school and dressage barn are fantastic.

Honestly I don't think I can accurately sum up what makes this book so perfect so I'll just highly suggest that you read it. (Now I feel like LaVar Burton "But you don't have to take my word for it")

Runners Up

The Dressage Chronicles - I LOVE this series as well but Another Kind of Cowboy is just a little better (and a little lighter) in my opinion as far as a dressage book and The House at Worlds End is just such a fantastically light summer book about adventures and farm life that it beats this out as well. 

Star of Shadowbrook Farm - This one is another YA book and isn't nearly as strong as Another Kind of Cowboy but it's also really good. It's written by Joanna Campbell (who started the Thoroughbred series) but this is a standalone and about jumping rather than racing. I also think the writing on this is stronger than the Thoroughbred series. 

Shadow Horse - This one is by Alison Hart who apparently also wrote some of the Thoroughbred series books. This is the first of a two part series and is also YA and also about jumping. This one is a mystery with a great twist. 

Other Books

Ambition, book 1 in the Eventing Series - This one is a bit darker and the writing is very suspenseful but, for me, not in a good way. I felt like I was going to freak out because it kept feeling like something really horrible and dark was going to happen and it just KEPT NOT HAPPENING. Well something really bad does eventually happen and then it gets worse, and then it gets a little worse, and finally everything is ok and there's a happy ending. 2/10 do not recommend.

Riding Lessons (and subsequent book(s)) - This one is also really dark. I read both books awhile ago and then picked up this one at a Half Price Books so that I could have my own copy. This one isn't suspenseful because bad things just KEEP HAPPENING and it's only a page turner because you keep waiting for things to get better. Spoiler, they don't really get that much better but somehow there's a happy ending. Great book, but not a light summer read.

The Mare (only partially a horse book)- my mom got this for me for Christmas this past year and I finally got through it. It's not a bad book, it's really well written and the parts at the barn and about the horses are fairly interesting but it's also fairly dark and it's written from different people's perspectives where it shifts back and forth all the time. As you can maybe tell I like light happy books where good things happen to nice people so this just wasn't my favorite. It did make me think though and was very well written.

Home to Woefield (not a horse book but written by Susan Juby who wrote Another Kind of Cowboy) - I also LOVE this book. It's a bit different, not about horses, and I don't think it's YA although technically I guess it could be. It's another light, fun, positive book about a young city girl who ends up on a farm. There's some suspense and some dark parts but it's got the same great, dry sense of humor and overall it's a really quick, fun, positive summer read. Think Another Kind of Cowboy crossed with The House at Worlds End ;)


  1. I haven't heard of any of these but they definitely pique my interest! Have you ever read "Traveller" by Richard Adams, maybe not a light book but its the story of General Lee told through the eyes of his favourite horse.

    1. I haven't but someone else recommended it to me recently. I'll have to look it up!

  2. Lots of good recommendations and I haven't heard of them either so that's awesome.

    1. Thank you!! I've really enjoyed trying t find some of the books that I enjoyed as a kid :)

  3. Thanks for some new recommendations! Have you read Jane Smileys YA series? I really like them.

    1. I wasn't familiar with that series and just went to check it out, they look really good! I'll have to get the first one. I've been looking for some new books to read :)

  4. I just really liked the picture of Levar Burton! Ohhhh childhood memories!

    1. I know right! So many good memories. I still remember that show and Ghost Writing (which was always my favorite).