You could also go to Classical Children’s Books to find some of the best classical horse books for children. For now, though just take a few minutes to scroll through my horse book reviews below until one catches your eye.
Title: Black Beauty
Author: Anna Sewell
Horse book review:
For one-hundred-and-thirty-two-years, Anna Sewell’s book, Black Beauty, has set the benchmark for all horse books ever made. It is not only the icon, the face of all horse literature, but of all animal books as well. Black Beauty is about a young, black colt that was born in the British countryside. The colt goes through dozens of owners, some good, some bad, during his lifetime. The book, as it is written from the horse’s point-of-view, is a very complex, interesting and eye-opening. There are many happy, lively parts in it, as well as a few dark, scary parts. Overall, this is one of the best horse books ever written and anyone who calls themselves horse-crazy must indulge themselves by reading it.
A Horse Named Viking
Title: A Horse Named Viking
Author: Caroline Akervik
Horse book review:
Life likes irony, and no more is that statement more apparent than in the story of Viking, a striking European warmblood foaled in Denmark. From a prestigious bloodline and brimming with the smoothness, ease and accuracy of irresistible dressage potential, Viking is a magnificent colt and has the definite makings of a champion competitor and breeding stallion…until his future is cruelly tarnished by his dam’s mauling of a brutal stable hand in defence of her foal. Written by a former Grand Prix dressage rider, A Horse Named Viking retells the story of Viking’s incredible life. Well-written with an uncluttered, knowledgeable style, it is lively and entertaining, with a sprinkle of humour and a few dashes of suspense; it will grow on you as you proceed through its chapters. It is clean, having no objectionable or controversial content, recommended for ages twelve and up.
Horse books by Marguerite Henry
Title: Born to Trot
If there is any writer of horse books who can stand up to the great legend of Anna Sewell, it is Marguerite Henry. Her horse books, Born to Trot, Misty of the Chincoteague, Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West, etc have won multiple Newberry Honor medals and ordained thousands of words of praise over the years. Born to Trot stars young Gibson, a trotting racer in training. Gibson is frustrated because all he ever does is train, train, train – never race, just train. Then Gibson’s chance comes with a young filly named Rosalind. Gibson decides to take her all the way to the top, and this book follows their story.
Title: Misty of Chincoteague
The time for Pony Penning Day on the Island of Chincoteague is arriving. It is the first time that Paul Beebe is allowed to go along too. He and his sister Maureen have been working hard to earn enough money to buy a horse at Pony Penning Day–but they want one horse in particular: the Phantom, the mare who has evaded capture for the past two years. Paul is sure he can round up the Phantom, and if he does, he and Maureen will buy her. However, Pony Penning Day holds so many surprises, the biggest one being that Paul brings in the Phantom and her newborn filly. Paul and Maureen want both the Phantom and her filly Misty, as Paul named her. Will their dream come true? Delve into the depths of this marvelous, touching story to find out!
Title: Misty’s Twilight
Dr. Sandy Price has dreamed since she was a little girl of getting her own horses at Pony Penning Day on the Island of Chincoteague. Now, finally, her dream is coming true! Dr. Sandy and her two children go all the way to Chincoteague to buy their dream horses. Immediately, Dr. Sandy falls in love with Sunshine, Misty of Chincoteague’s great-grand-filly. She buys Sunshine and takes her home. But the story does not end there. Sunshine gets bred to Big Bluffer, a Thoroughbred stallion, and the result is a feisty, Thoroughbred x Chincoteague Pony filly named Misty’s Twilight. Dr. Sandy immediately knows that there is something special about Twilight and is determined to make her into a star. But a star of what? Follow the epic story of Misty’s great-great-grand-filly.
Title: Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley
Molly wants a horse more than anything, but she knows that she will never get to own one. The only horse she ever gets to ride is Freddy Westover’s old, slow mare Della. But, beside all her doubts, Molly’s father buys her a mare for her tenth birthday. However, the mare, Lady Sue, is not what Molly expected. Lady Sue is tired and worn-out–she must be even older than Della! However, with love a care, Lady Sue son returns to her former glory and surprises Molly with a gift: a gorgeous mule colt. Molly names the colt ‘Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley’. She is determined to make Brown Sunshine into a champion mule…no matter what everyone thinks of him.
Title: Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West
Annie Bronn loved horses more than anything; they were in her blood. Most of all, Annie loved Hobo, her Mustang gelding. Hobo’s smartness and character caused her to be enchanted by his wild Mustang cousins which roamed the American plains. When the greedy cattlemen started killing the wild Mustangs for dog meat and to make more space for their cows, no one cared–except Annie. Follow the real-life story of Wild Horse Annie and her quest to save the amazing wild horses of North America through the words of this compelling, horsey masterpiece. I have recommended it for slightly older children as there are some mildly disturbing scenes which may frighten younger, horse-crazy readers.
Title: King of the Wind
Agba named the new colt ‘Sham’ after the sun. On the heel of the red-chestnut colt was the white spot of speed, but the wheat ear of misfortune was imprinted on his chest. Yet no harm seems to befall Agba and the swift, young horse from the Sultan of Morocco’s Stable…until Sham and Agba are sent to England as part of a gift from the Sultan to the King. In Europe, Sham and Agba are not appreciated for what they are, but little did everyone know that Sham would turn out to be the ‘Godolphin Arabian’, the most famous and influential Arabian stallion in history.
Title: Justin Morgan Had a Horse
When Joel Goss sees Little Bub for the first time, he just knows that there is something special about the young colt. Sure, Bub is undersized and spunky, but Joel falls totally in love with him. Then, Justin Morgan, the schoolmaster and owner of Little Bub, asks Joel to gentle the colt. Joel is trilled! There is nothing he would rather do. Soon, Little Bub is famous around the country. He can run faster than the fastest racehorses, out-pull the heaviest of oxen, and go for miles longer than the sturdiest of horses. This is the story of the runt of a horse that became the founder of one of Northern America’s most famous breeds of horses: the Morgan.
Horse books by Mary O’Hara
Title: My Friend Flicka
Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka is the touching story of a young boy named Ken who lives on a horse farm with his older brother, mother and father. All Ken wants is a horse of his own, but his father will not give him one because Ken is a ‘dreamer’ and valuable horses cannot be wasted on someone like Ken. Eventually, Ken’s mother persuades his father to give Ken a horse of his own. McLaughlin has great plans for Ken’s young horse, but Ken falls in love with a young filly, the daughter of an untamable mare called Rocket. Despite the fact that the filly comes from a line of wild, mean-spirited horses, McLaughlin agrees to give her to Ken. Rocket is killed in a freak accident and Flicka, the filly, is injured when her owners attempt to catch her. Everyone believes that Flicka will die…except for Ken. This is the tale of a boy and his young filly that he protects and loves at all costs. It is first in the trilogy, beautifully written and completely gripping. I recommend it for ages 10 and up; teenagers will also enjoy it.
Thunderhead is the second book in Mary O’Hara’s amazing trilogy. It stars Ken McLaughlin, his mare Flicka and Flicka’s new little colt, Thunderhead. White as snow, wild as a mountain lion and stunning as they come, Thunderhead has the makings of a champion racehorse. There is only one problem, however: the young colt hates humans. Ken soon discovers that his precious mare’s colt is a throwback to the Albino, the renegade stallion that used to terrorize the McLaughlins’ horse stud farm in the wilderness of Wyoming. Can Ken befriend the unmanageable colt and turn him into the champion he could be? Or will Thunderhead follow his great-grandsire’s path and turn Ken’s dream into a nightmare? I thoroughly enjoyed Thunderhead, finding it both gripping and moving. If anything, it is even better than My Friend Flicka.
Title: The Green Grass of Wyoming
This deep, emotionally-charged book is the final episode in the classic trilogy by Mary O’Hara. After the dramatic events of Thunderhead, Ken McLaughlin released his white stallion into the wild, leaving him in the sanctuary of the Valley of the Eagles. However, being a resourceful horse, Thunderhead has escaped from the valley and is now roaming wild and stealing mares from the surrounding ranches. Among the runaway mares seduced by the powerful stallion is the irreplaceable racehorse filly, Crown Jewel. She belongs to Carey Marsh, the charming young lady who resides near to Ken’s farm. As the fates of their beloved horses are linked together, it is only natural that both Carey and Ken should be thrown together also. Perhaps there is a possible romance blooming between the two young horse-lovers as Ken pursues his stallion through three whole states. Green Grass of Wyoming is a very compelling book. From what I remember, it is entirely safe for young readers, although I must add that the issues and conflicts faced by Nell (Ken’s mother) will probably confuse or go over the heads of most child readers.
Author: Nicole Golding/Adam Goodfellow
With an introduction by horse whispering legend, Monty Roberts, a section with twenty full-colour photographs in the middle and loads of interesting facts, Whispering Back is a must-read if you are into horse whispering or horse gentling. It the true story of Nicole Golding and Adam Goodfellow, two intrepid young people who train in horse gentling under the two greats, Monty Roberts and Kelly Marks. It is the story of what they do with their talents and all the horses they help and love. It is a very interesting book and is quite funny in some parts, an extremely moving read for mature horse-lovers and those who are passionate about horse whispering.
Mr Revere and I
Author: Robert Lawson
I positively adore this book; for years, Mr Revere and I has been a treasured favourite of mine. Have you ever heard the story of Paul Revere’s Ride? In that story, the horse had no name; in Mr Revere and I, an account of the adventures of Paul Revere and his horse, the horse does have a name: Scheherazade (or just Sherry for the sakes of pronunciation). This book is sort of like an American story of Black Beauty because it is written from Sherry’s point-of-view. It is full of action, adventure and funny bits. A brilliant read, whether you are horse-crazy or not.
Author: Lauren Brooke
This touching series follows a young girl called Amy Fleming from Virginia in the USA. After Amy’s mother dies in a car accident she has to take over Heartland, the horse whispering and healing farm that her mother ran. Follow the story of Amy, her older sister Louise, her grandfather Jack, her boyfriend Ty and everyone else involved at Heartland as they sort out many horse–and people–problems through the stories in this emotional series. I recommend it for younger teenage readers as there is a lot of relational and emotional content that some parents may not desire their young children to get into.
Horse books by Terri Farley
Series title:The Phantom Stallion
I love this series! In this group of epic stories, Samantha Forster, a young cowgirl from Nevada, returns home after living in San Francisco for two years after being sent there by her father, who was worried that she would fall into a coma like she did after she fell off her black colt, Blackie. When Samantha arrives back at River Bend Ranch she sees a wild white stallion who everyone calls ‘The Phantom’. After she meets this untamed, pallid ghost of a horse, Samantha is even surer that the Phantom could possibly be her young colt, just grown up. Read through all of Samantha and the Phantom’s adventures as they battle horse rustlers, flash floods, storms, greedy people and so much more!
Series title: Wild Horse Island
Written by the same woman who wrote The Phantom Stallion series comes Wild Horse Island, straight out of the magical and misty rain forests of the Hawaiian Islands. The star of the book is thirteen-year-old Darby Carter, a young girl who–during a trip to Nevada–fell in love with a wild mustang filly which was hit by the bus that had been taking Darby to the ranch she was going to stay at. After returning home to California, Darby’s grandfather, a horse breeder in the Hawaiian Islands, invited her and her wild mustang, Huko (meaning ‘star’ in Hawaiian), to visit him in Hawaii. But Darby’s ‘holiday’ turns out to be so much more than a peaceful visit. Follow Darby as she battles wild hogs, ghostly stallions, dangerous cliffs and wild waters. I love this series and so will you!
This lovely, horsey and adventurous series covers the amazing fictional stories of several different girls and their beloved horses. Each book is about one of these horse-loving children and the adventures they and their horses have; whether that adventure may be riding to warn your uncle in the American army of the approaching redcoats at the time of the Boston Tea Party (Ride of Courage) or trying to save your beloved Tennessee Walking Horse from being sold (Changing Times), you will love and relate to the unforgettable characters in this series.
Winnie the Horse Gentler
Author: Dandi Daley Mackall
When thirteen-year-old Winifred Willis moves to Ashland, Ohio after spending the last two years of her life moving through the ‘I’ states in the USA after her mother died in an ill-fated car accident, she is utterly miserable. Winnie has not cared much about anything since her mother, a nationally renowned horse gentler, died when she was eleven; that was, until she met Wild Thing, the beautiful, abused Arabian mare. Winnie is determined to own Wild Thing and gentle her, but many obstacles stand in her way. Follow Winnie and Wild Thing through their eight amazing stories, which I know you will love!
Author: Peter Clover
Sheltie is a naughty, clever and fun Shetland pony owned by Emma, a young girl who lives in Great Britain. Together, with their friend Sally and her pony Minnow, they have many adventures in the English countryside. They enter gymkhanas, capture crooks and find missing animals! The Sheltie series is great for children in the 8-11 age group, but might be found a little bit simple or immature if you are older than that.
The Saddle Club
Author: Bonnie Bryant
The Saddle Club is a really fun series that follows three girls called Lisa, Carol and Stevie and the horses they ride at Pine Hollow Stables. This may sound quiet, but believe me, it is not! From battling spoiled rich girls to trying to find missing friends, The Saddle Club is anything but a boring, stereotyped horse club. If you are about twelve, romantic and horse-crazy, then this series is perfect for you!
Circle C Adventures
Author: Susan K. Marlow
This is a great series which is about a young girl called Andrea Carter and her horse Taffy; it follows them as they go about their daily lives–and adventures!–on Circle C Ranch. This series is not as horsy as the rest of the ones that I have reviewed, but I think it is fantastic and so do all my other horse-mad friends, so if you enjoy horses and adventure, I am sure that you will like these three lovely books.
Author: Samantha Alexander
Hollywell Stables is a small place in the British countryside where rescued horses can have an untroubled existence in a safe haven. But for Ross, Melanie and the rest of their family who run it, this place is far from carefree. From dealing with spoiled rich girls, to fighting thugs and struggling with money problems, the Hollywell Stables crew has plenty to keep them busy.
Author: Judy Waite
The Horse Healers series is totally brilliant. It stars young Nicky, a gypsy boy, who has a special gift for healing abused, neglected or troubled horses. However, because of his race and shyness, not many people will trust Nicky with their horses. But he has got some friends, like Brenda, who owns the beautiful mare that Nicky loves called Eclipse, and Megan, who manages the stable Nicky works for. Together, with his friends, Nicky helps heal and save horses in trouble.
The Black Stallion
Author: Walter Farley
The Black Stallion series, though it is over fifty years old, has always been a favourite read for horse lovers. This series is so popular it has even been made into several movies! It stars young Alec Ramsey, an American boy who meets the Black, an untamed black stallion on a boat trip. In a rough storm, the boat sinks and the Black and Alec get washed up on a small island in the ocean. They eventually get rescued and are taken back to America. Then, Alec discovers the Black’s amazing speed and starts training him to race. After this first book from The Black Stallion series came over seven others. If you like adventure, mystery and horses, then this is the series for you!
Author: Patricia Leitgh
The Jinny series follows the adventures of fourteen-year-old Jinny Manders and her half-wild Arabian mare, Shantih. They live in the wild Scottish moors which are full of deer, birds and farms. Jinny also has a special connection with the Tinkers of this region. I am personally not a huge fan of this series: because of Jinny’s large amount of contact with the Tinkers and their religious sites there are a lot of foreign and somewhat unnecessary spiritual things in these books. You may like it if you like novels that have a lot of magic, supernatural and paranormal things in them, but if you are at all sensitive, conservative or easily disturbed by things of a creepy spiritual nature, then you might want to pass these books by.
Author: Joanna Campbell/Alice Leonhardt/Mary Newhall/Chris Platt
Horse series review:
This series, Thoroughbred, follows several racehorse-crazy girls and boys (Ashleigh, Samantha, Cindy, Melanie, Dylan, Cassidy, Christina and Parker) as they take their journeys to becoming professional jockeys, eventers or renowned horse trainers in the horseracing world. The books are very well-written and action-packed, but I would not read them if you are under twelve years of age due to relational content and tragic events that could possibly disturb younger readers. Overall, it is a must-read series if you are really into horse racing, training, breeding and eventing; you will learn bucket loads of things about the various competitive horse sports, as well as fall in love with the equine and human characters featuring in this series.