Category Archives: Horse Books

Carousel Horse Christmas by Danni Roan

I recently downloaded Danni Roan’s Carousel Horse Christmas for free on Kindle.  This novella is a sweet, romantic read with horses featuring throughout.  Party planner Audrey Alberton is surprised but pleased to find she has received an anonymous gift for Christmas.  The beautiful horse figurine is stunning and beautifully crafted.  It brings a smile to Audrey’s lips.

Carousel Horse Christmas by Danni Roan | Equus Education (Click to buy - affiliate link)
Carousel Horse Christmas by Danni Roan | Equus Education (Click to buy – affiliate link )

What’s surprising about the gift is that Audrey has a run in with her friend Lisa with a horse that looks exactly like the gift she has received.  The owner of the horse – an attractive cowboy named Holden Bays – ends up chasing up Audrey to make sure she wasn’t hurt by the car accident.

In time, Holden is the only person that Audrey knows to be able to help a client with a horse party request.  As Audrey explores the attraction that seems to be mutual, she questions whether a relationship with a cowboy that lives hours away is something she could feasibly fit into her life.

Carousel Horse Christmas is an entertaining read that has a nice horse element to it. Although there is minimal horse information, there are plenty of horse scenes with the two main characters.  The interest between the two main characters also builds nicely although the happy ending to the story occurs over a very short timeframe.  For those looking for an enjoyable, quick read with a Christmas focus, Danni Roan’s novella will do the trick.

Author – Danni Roan
Fiction – adult / romance
In my library – on Kindle

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― H.R.H. Prince Philip

The Purple Hills by Alissa Callen

I downloaded this novella recently on Amazon after a search for some more horse reads.    The main characters of Alissa Callen’s The Purple Hills are an audiologist returned to her country town due to an ailing father and a single father, horse chiropractor.  I enjoy reads set in the country, I guess quite often because that’s where the horse stories are.  And of course, reading stories about people who have horse careers always interests me!  Then add in the promise of romance and I’m sold on the idea of the book in question.

The Purple Hills

The Purple Hills by Alissa Callen | Equus Education (Click to buy  - affiliate link)
The Purple Hills by Alissa Callen | Equus Education (Click to buy – affiliate link)

The Purple Hills had all of these appealing qualities and was an enjoyable, short read.  Horses did feature in the story, but not in quite enough detail for me.  I loved how the first chapter started with a miniature pony streaking past a window.

But although this pony Jelly Bean was a constant in the story, there didn’t appear to be a lot of horse focused moments.  And even though the main female character has a horse Cloud, he only really features in one scene.  Add to this the fact that the main male who is a horse chiropractor, I think this story had a lot of potential to feature horses in a way that wasn’t just a reference to them.  As a horse fanatic, unfortunately I cannot say that this was the case!

That said, the story is an enjoyable read and the characters realistic and easy to come to like.  The Purple Hills is a novella worth reading and I believe could have only been built on by making the horse aspect a descriptive part of the story, rather than a simple addition.  The story focused more on the human relationships – which were enjoyable to read – but I would have enjoyed additional information in the story about the horses, especially from the side of Hugh whose profession was that of horse chiropractor.

Author – Alissa Callen
Fiction – adult / romance
In my library – as an eBook it is.

Saving Grace by Amanda Wills

I recently downloaded a copy of the short story Saving Grace by Amanda Wills.  This story features Poppy McKeever of the Lost Pony of Riverdale series.  In this novel, Poppy finds a black and white cob filly on the side of the road, hit by a car and left for dead.

Poppy is relieved when the vet comes to tend to the filly but this relief soon turns to dismay.  The vet will not treat the filly unless she knows that someone will cover the bill – and it won’t be a cheap bill.  How can a teenager raise thousands of pounds to help save a young horse?

Saving Grace is a great story that is wrapped up nicely.  Poppy works with the whole community to try to save the horse.  She learns about setting up and running an event and the novel highlights all that is involved in running a horse show.  It also focuses on the issue of equine flu and how an infectious horse disease can impact a whole community where horses are kept.

Saving Grace features many of the Lost Pony of Riverdale Series' characters | Equus Education
Saving Grace features many of the Lost Pony of Riverdale Series’ characters | Equus Education

Poppy’s best friend Scarlett features in the novel as well as Poppy’s family and other friends.  For those familiar with the Lost Pony of Riverdale series, they’ll enjoy this short story that encompasses the usual characters.  Saving Grace is an enjoyable read that is also factual about horses and horse care.  Highly recommended.

Author: Amanda Wills
Fiction – teen
In My Library? As an eBook!

Horse Crazy by Jean Halley

Pony books for horse crazy girls are an incredible genre.  I write within this genre in the twenty first century, having both a series for middle grade readers as well as one for young adult readers.  I also write various novels for adult horse book fans and find that all of these books are read, though the middle grade series is the most read.  And it seems this has been the case for many young girls since the 1930s, as Jean Halley’s book Horse Crazy explores.

How the horse-girl relationship can empower children, young adults and even adults is explored throughout the chapters of Halley’s book.  What I found alarming – and cannot say that I relate to here in Australia – is the large amount of women that appear to struggle in the US and find their freedom often in horses.  Horses are an incredible animal that provide freedom to those who struggle with disability, a lack of social skills, language barriers or other issues.

I was surprised to find that Halley was referencing or quoting texts that put women as more likely to fall into poverty than men in the US.  There was reference to them earning 79 cents for every dollar than men earned.  And for the single mother, life was harder as she worked to earn for, support and keep the family functioning.

Horse Crazy by Jean O'Malley Halley | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Horse Crazy by Jean O’Malley Halley | Equus Education (Click to buy)

I’m not sure if it’s my ignorance in these areas in Australia, or if this is a more wide-spread issue in the US.  But one thing is certain; horses can provide a freedom from these responsibilities and problems like no other thing can.  That was the theme throughout this book.

This book explores the frailties of humanity and shows how horses can be an escape from that.

Halley pulls examples from her own life where her childhood was filled with fear and violence and her pony was her only escape.  In the latter chapters of her book, the devastating world of slaughterhouses and the process involved is explored.  This was an eye opener for me with regards to the process carried out… the book is perhaps lightened well in the final thoughts focusing on men who love ponies and a group of adult men known as ‘bronies’ who love My Little Pony.

Horse Crazy is a topic that has horses well and truly at the heart of peoples’ lives and things that they hold dear.  It is a book that appears to address a lot of issues that many may not be willing to think or talk about.  I feel very blessed – and perhaps sheltered – as a tomboy who grew up loving horses to not have felt like a minority or someone who was being pushed to conform to what society considered ‘acceptable.’  To me, a love of horses has been a gift from God and one that was encouraged throughout my childhood, became my career and is something I am now involved in teaching others who have the same passion.  Horse Crazy is an interesting, somewhat controversial and enlightening read.

Author – Jean O’Malley Halley
Non Fiction – sociology
In my library – as an eBook

Learn About Horses, a Child’s First Guide to Horsemanship by Kathy Mann

Kathy Mann has a well illustrated, effective book for young horse fans.  It is titled Learn about Horses, a Child’s First Guide to Horsemanship.  I downloaded a free copy of this book on Kindle and have finally gotten around to being able to read it!

I have really enjoyed reading this book for many reasons.  Firstly, it’s practical and factual.  Secondly, it is simply explained so that young readers will understand as well as learn about horses.

It discusses horse housing – whether in stalls or paddocks.  It looks at the importance of closing gates as well as using a head collar and holding it appropriately.  It also explores safety of horsemanship and the different parts of the head collar, bridle and saddle.

In amongst each point made about horses and their care, illustrations add to the points made.  Kathy also explores the horse’s gaits, their need for fresh water all the time and the fact that they eat grass regularly.

The roles of horse trainer and horse riding teacher are explored.  In amongst this, the author provides images and descriptions of a rearing and bucking horse and why these need further training or help from an experienced person.

Kathy sums up the book in one simple statement: ride safe and have fun.  This final sentence outlines the whole focus of this book – to help horse fans to be safe around them and whilst riding them.  The safer they are and the more informed they are about what horses need, the more likely they are to have fun.  Learn About Horses, a Child’s First Guide to Horsemanship has a lot of valuable information, all of which will benefit the child learning about horses.

Author – Kathy Mann
Non Fiction – children’s
In my library – as an eBook it is.

Sweetbriars: Tabby’s Big Year by Hollie Anne Marsh

I was recently contacted by Hollie Anne Marsh to see if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the next book in the Sweetbriars series.  You can read the review of the first book on Equus EducationTabby’s Big Year focuses on the life of twelve year old Tabitha alongside her close friends Cate and Violet.

Tabby’s life appears to be an incredible roller coaster for such a young person.  She is keen to see her beloved horse Bliss come back to full health – and able to be ridden – after an injury.  She feels guilt for Bliss having hurt himself and is anxious to know what the vet will say in regards to his future as a riding horse able to compete.

Sweetbriars: Tabby's Big Year by Hollie Anne Marsh | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Sweetbriars: Tabby’s Big Year by Hollie Anne Marsh | Equus Education (Click to buy)

On top of this, Tabby is battling a sense of isolation with her father not around, her sister distant and living elsewhere and her mother more often than not missing in her life.  As she tries to juggle work, studies, horse riding and also keeping her dysfunctional family a secret, she is dismayed to find something else thrown into the mix.

A mare that she used to ride is to be sent off for slaughter.  And to make things even worse, it is at no fault of the horse in question.  Tabby passionately seeks out a solution and finds that in doing so, extra pressure is piled on top of her young shoulders.

Sweetbriars: Tabby’s Big Year

Tabby’s Big Year looks at family dynamics, the incredible joy – and pressure – of trying out for the British Young Rider’s Squad as well as nursing horses back to health from different ailments.  It is an enjoyable read and full of horses.  I have no doubt it will be enjoyable for pre teens as well as other age readers.

Author – Hollie Anne Marsh
Fiction – middle grade / teen
In my library – as an eBook it is.

Compromise Horses Heal Souls by Anna Rashbrook

Compromise is the second book by this author that I have read, the first being Challenger.  The two novels are loosely related with some characters that are in both stories. But readers are able to read them as standalone novels.  In Compromise, Molly finds herself struggling with the day to day tasks involved in her job in a local riding stable.

Compromise by Anna Rashbrook | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Compromise by Anna Rashbrook | Equus Education (Click to buy)

As more pressure gets put on Molly to step up into an overseeing role whilst their manager is in hospital, she finds that the joy of working with horses diminishes.  The gossip and nastiness of the women she works with overrides any joy that she used to get from horses and working with them.

As things come to a head, Molly is amazed to find herself suddenly without the security of a job or a home.  An unexpected compromise is provided to her in the form of Chris, a man who has been helping with her previous employer’s stallion.  Molly is surprised by Chris’ solution to her problem but feels that the situation offered may work for her.  She just questions if living with a man she barely knows is a good idea.

Compromise by Anna Rashbrook

As time passes, Molly comes to learn the role of milking cows on Chris’ farm. She also learns that the recluse farmer has a lot more going on than you may first suspect.  Compromise is an insightful look into the world of someone struggling with gender identity.

It features horses throughout and they have a healing affect on the main characters.  There is a faith aspect that is touched on lightly but seems to sit under the surface.  There are a couple of characters within the story that readers may love to hate, as they provide a good amount of friction in the story.  Compromise is an interesting read that finishes off nicely for each of the main characters involved.

Author – Anna Rashbrook
Fiction – adult
In my library – a digital copy.

Zoe’s Zebra by Catherine Florang

I downloaded Zoe’s Zebra for free recently on Kindle.  This children’s book is a very short story with many fitting pictures included.  The author has written the book as well as provided the ‘illustrations’.  Though rather than drawings, these appear to be photos taken of toys – a zebra as well as a young girl that represents Zoë.

Zoe’s Zebra by Catherine Florang | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Zoe’s Zebra by Catherine Florang | Equus Education (Click to buy)

The story explores the use of horses as therapy animals.  In this situation, they are utilised to help a young girl enjoy life.  For whatever reason, Zoë has lost her passion for life.  And it is only when she comes into contact with horses and learns to ride that she finds herself enjoying life again.

Zoë must learn about being safe around horses before learning to ride them.  Although I love this aspect of the story, the illustrations of her riding are missing appropriate riding gear, especially a helmet.

As she becomes a capable rider, Zoë is drawn to a zebra that is kept at the same establishment.  Zoë is convinced she is going to learn to ride the zebra.  And in time this actually occurs, with the two building a special bond.  Zoe’s Zebra is a quick, easy read for young horse fans with plenty of illustrations.  I love the focus of horse therapy and how this was utilised to help a young person in read.  Some more horse facts for fans would have been a great addition.

Author – Catherine Florang
Fiction – children’s
In my library – as an eBook

“And certainly both Horses were doing, if not all they could, all they thought they could; which is not quite the same thing.” – C.S. Lewis

The Mystery of Riverdale Tor by Amanda Wills

In the latest release of the Riverdale series, Poppy McKeever has another mystery to solve.  There is a dog that has been worrying sheep in the local area.  This started with the sheep of Poppy’s best friend, Scarlett.

The Mystery of Riverdale Tor by Amanda Wills | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Poppy is devastated to find that she may have been able to stop the event – or at least learn who the dog was that could have taken away her friend’s family’s chance at a livelihood.  The distressed sheep may no longer be pregnant. On top of this, Poppy is concerned that her best friend won’t forgive her for having realised there was an issue when she first spied the sheep in a state of distress.

Throughout the Mystery of Riverdale Tor, Poppy works to solve the mystery that has so greatly affected her friend and their family’s sheep.  Alongside this she learns about TREC riding on horses. And so Poppy enjoys trying out this discipline on her beautiful grey gelding, Cloud.

A new celebrity moving into the area draws Poppy’s attention and she is excited to find she may have a lead on the sheep worrying dog.  The instagram fanatic has built a band of followers and although he may not be the sharpest tool in the box, he does have a dog that fits the profile of recent attacks.  But not everything is as it seems and the teen struggles to piece together the facts that could help her to solve the mystery.

The Mystery of Riverdale Tor is tied up nicely.  It does a great job of introducing readers to TREC on horse back and of exploring the importance of humane animal care.  This is another book of Amanda Wills’ that looks at horse ownership, riding and of course mystery.  Recommended.

Author: Amanda Wills
http://www.amandawills.co.uk/
Fiction – preteen/early teens
In My Library? As an eBook!

Sea Horse by Bonnie Bryant

The fourteenth book in the Saddle Club series is titled Sea Horse.  In this novel the three Saddle Club girls Carole, Stevie and Lisa find that they will be spending New Year’s apart.  It’s not an appealing thought, even though they each have something to look forward to.

Sea Horse by Bonnie Bryant | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Sea Horse by Bonnie Bryant | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Carole has recently acquired her first horse and plans to invest her time in training Starlight.  He is young and green with some bad habits and she wants to turn him into a reliable mount.

Stevie is dreaming about the New Year dance she will attend with her boyfriend Phil.  She just has to find the perfect dress to wear… and the funds to secure it!  This proves to be more challenging than she anticipated.

Lisa is excited to be visiting San Marco, spending the New Year on a gorgeous tropical island thanks to her parents.  She even gets to ride here but quickly finds that trail riding on the gorgeous island isn’t anywhere near as fun without her friends to guide her.

There are a lot of horse riding moments in the aspects that relate to Lisa and Carole.  Readers learn about the importance of getting back on a horse after a fall as well as persisting for the right reaction from a horse. Each of the girls battle through issues that arise whilst they are on holidays.

Although they are able to find a resolution to the problems they have, it just isn’t the same as working to solve the problem with their friends.  As they catch up after the New Year, the three acknowledge that life is easier when they do it together, even though they were thankful to be able to problem solve issues alone.

Author: Bonnie Bryant
Fiction – teenagers
In My Library? It is, along with others in the series.