Good Reads

…from the Galloping Librarian


When I was just a toddler, my parents gave me an incredibly gift: a library card.  Since those early days of “The Tale of Two Bad Mice” by Beatrix Potter, “Harry the Dirty Dog” by Gene Zien and “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey, my love of reading grew and grew.  As I got older, horses featured prominently in my reading.  Favourites included the Pullein-Thompson sisters, Patricia Leitch, and Patsey Gray, to name but a few. 

When time came to graduate from the Children’s Department at the local library, to Adult, I was dismayed at the lack of horsey fiction available.  Luckily, over the years, this has changed.  I still read a few books a month and the majority of them have nothing to do with horses whatsoever but if you are looking for an equine theme to your reading pleasure this summer, try a few of the following.

If you have trouble finding these titles, don’t forget to visit your local library.  Many libraries stock these popular books and, if the book is not in their collection, usually offer a free interlibrary loan service to track those elusive titles down.



Riding Shotgun by Rita Mae Brown

When Pryor Deyhle Blackwood (Cig) is following hounds, she feels free from the stresses of her life as a widow and single mother.  However, who would ever think that while galloping forward with the hunt, one could gallop back three hundred years into the past?


Turning for Home by Sara Challis

Lady Pamela loves her country home.  And so does her interfering daughter-in-law, who wants to take it over. Desperate, Lady Pamela hires a companion, Maeve Delaney, a twenty-something Irish girl with forthright opinions.  Maeve’s headlong approach to life  soon as Lady Pamela back in the land of the living and the land of horse racing, her passion.


In the Presence of Horses by Barbara Dimmick

Losing her faith in people, Natalie Baxter returns to her hometown and takes a job at a local ranch. When a gradual romance builds between Natalie and the farm’s reclusive owner she is forced to confront the ghosts of her traumatic past and learn, like the tempermental horse she is handling, to trust again.


Flying Changes by Sara Gruen

Twenty years after her own riding career died, Annemarie Zimmer is worried.  Will her daughter achieve Olympic glory?  Or will it take her away from home and family and into harm’s way. The sequel to Riding Lessons.


A Portion for Foxes by Jane McClary

Set in the lush, green Virginia hunt country, with its stately mansions, elegant gentleman riders, hell-for-leather hunting matrons, poor whites and poorer blacks, A Portion for Foxes is a mixture of biting social observation and storytelling.


A Summer Frost by Elizabeth Walker

After her husband’s sudden death, Mary Squires is left broke and homeless with two young children.  Her only option, and not a pleasant one, is to move back in with her mother.  That is until local show jumper Patrick Brogan makes a very unconventional proposition.


Try also:   


Traveller by Richard Adams

Salthill by Judith Barnes

Outfoxed by Rita Mae Brown

 Riders by Jilly Cooper
Devil to Pay by Mark Daniel

Trail of Secrets by Eileen Goudge

Dark Horse by Tami Hoag

Bred to Win by William Kinsolving

Ms Longshot by Sylvie Kurtz

Ring of Fear by Anne McCaffrey

Kentucky Rich by Fern Michaels

In and Out by Barbara Moss

The Hunt by Jan Neuharth

Fox River by Emilie Richards

Barn Blind by Jane Smiley

Horseplay by Judy Reene Singer




Murder, She Meowed by Rita Mae Brown

At the annual steeplechase race in Crozet, Virginia,  one of the jockeys is found dead in the main barn with a knife plunged through his heart. Will amateur sleuth and  postmistress Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen figure out the crime before the killer strikes again? This novel was made into a family TV movie titled “Murder She Purred” and was filmed in Ontario with the hunt scenes taped at the Toronto & North York Hunt Club.


A Horse to Die For by Carolyn Banks

When her friend receives a beautiful horse as a Christmas present, Robin Vaughan learns that the horse had killed its previous owner and begins to fear that the creature is actually a dangerous animal from her past.


At Risk by Kit Ehrman

In this adrenaline-charged mystery, Steve Cline, the young manager of one of Maryland’s most prestigious farms, is hijacked early one morning along with some of his horses. His escape, however, turns him into a killer’s target.


Season for Murder by Ann Granger

Meredith Mitchell and Chief Inspector Markby team up once again to solve a murder which takes place at a Boxing Day Hunt. Part of a wonderful series of “Mitchell and Markby” mysteries.


On the Edge by Jenny Pitman

Jan Hardy faces a bleak future in Wales raising her two children and looking after a crumbling farm while under the suspicious eye of her bitter mother-in-law. Her only escape lies in her affinity with horses.  A heart-stopping tale written by championship trainer, Jenny Pitman.


Deadfall by Lyndon Stacey

Lincoln Tremayne has one ambition in life – to ride on the British Olympic three-day eventing team.  After a vicious attack on the stable owner’s daughter, his plans are put on hold.  It is clear that someone is trying to kill Lincoln and the race is on the find out just who that is.


Try Also:        


Lead a Horse to Murder by Cynthia Baxter

Chestnut Mare, Beware by Ellie Boatman

Trial Run by Dick Francis

Cover Up by John Francome

The Grave Maurice by Martha Grimes

Riding for a Fall by Lillian Roberts

Stalking Horse by Bill Shoemaker



Fighting Back by Georgina Colthurst

At 7:10am Georgina Colthurst was schooling one of her horses prior to her first international three-day event. At 7:30am, she was on the ground, paralysed.  The diagnosis was bleak.  Even if she survived and regained her speech, Georgina would most likely remain at least partially paralysed, with the mental ability of a child. There was no cure and no hope. But the neurologists had reckoned without the extraordinary courage and determination of Georgina.


Will to Win by Rachel Hunt

Rachel Hunt is a well-known name in the world of three-day eventing. In this, her autobiography, she takes us right back to the beginning, to her earliest days in the world of competitive riding at the age of three, and her development from showing ponies to international eventing.


Milton: Super Champion by Judith Draper

This is the biography of the first horse to ever earn 1 million (pounds sterling) in prize money.  One of the most successful show jumpers in history, this book covers Milton’s early days right through to his retirement in1994-95.


Four Square by Lucinda Prior-Palmer

This book is a tribute to Be Fair, Wide Awake, George and Killaire, the horses with whom Lucinda Prior Palmer (and, later, Green) won her first four Badminton Three Day Events.  Comical in parts, heart-wrenching in others, this book is a wonderful read.  Preceeded by Four Square, the biography of Lucinda and Be Fair.


Riding Through My Life by HRH The Princess Royal

The equestrian autobiography of Princess Anne in which she writes about her life with horses from showing ponies as a child to competing in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.  Princess Anne can be seen most recently cheering on her daughter Zara Phillips, who won the 2005 European 3DE Championships.


Try Also:


Olympics Equestrian by Jennifer O. Bryant

The Galloping Nurse by Jane Bullen

Eventing Groom by Joanna Capjon

The Road to the National by Rosemary Henderson

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Funny Cide by Sally Jenkins

My Hunting World by Jim Meads

Riding High by Ian Millar

Hunting by R.W.F. Poole

So Far So Good by Mark Todd  

Hayburner by Laura Crum     


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