Pony Club D manual - can't go wrong with that one.
My daughters enjoyed:
DK Eyewitness Companions Riding by Moira C. Harris & Liz Clegg - lots of colored pictures and step by step instructions and diagrams. Also covered all the disciplines, even Western, which is something we know nothing about.
A First Guide to Horse and Pony Care, Jane Kidd, Editor - good discussion of conformation and vet tips and causes/prevention of disease
I know this is super cheese, but...I credit a lot of my early horse sense to series like the Saddle Club and the "Thoroughbred" series. The stories are pretty drama-rama, perfect for kids that age, but they model a lot of positive horsey behaviors (like "Your horse is still loveable even if it's lame or hurt" and "Sometimes there are other things at the barn that are more important than riding"). If you're short on cash, try trading for them at www.paperbackswap.com and/or buying them cheap using something like www.bookfinder.com.
YEs! Happy Horsemanship! I actually read through it again - at age 33 - before starting lessons again after many, many years off And did get something out of it! It's terribly cute and very informative!
For fiction, this book is fabulous, yet largely under the radar. I have been a book reviewer for a horse magazine for 35 years, and this one came through one year, otherwise I'd never have heard of it either.
The Absolutely Perfect Horse by Ardith Mayhar and Marylois Dunn.
While it is written for the teen reader, it's a great book for adults, too, and I cry every time I read it because it really was "The Absolutely Perfect Horse."
"Afraid to Ride" by C.W. Anderson, plus any other CWs you can lay your hands on (skip Billy and Blaze books unless you have littlies in the house).
"Gentle Like A Cyclone," an anthology of short stories assembled by Phyllis Fenner - some of my alltime favorites are in here.
The Black Stallion books are books that I really read to death as a child.
For how-tos, the Pony Club manual is tried and true, but rather dry. I think there is a revised edition that adds color photography and is a lot more readable. There are also a host of wonderful British import books with fantastic photography, but I'd go with an American-written book if possible to avoid confusion with head-collars and rugs and horse boxes. My first horsemanship book was Margaret Cabel Self's Complete Book of Horses and Ponies, and I believe it was illustrated by Paul Brown.
I spent hours on my bareback pad trying to figure out a lengthened trot on a Western-trained horse who was older than God and had no idea what I was getting at. I also took him out and jumped low rock walls (very low) just like the riders in my favorite book. No helmet.
When they get older, "My Dancing White Horses, and "My Horses, My Teachers" by Alois Podhajsky give an introduction to training and caring for horses as a lifestyle and a calling, not just a hobby. The training books by AP are too deep for the preteen reader to take much interest in, and a sure way to turn off the beginner.
There are so many nice beginner books for young horsemen that I cannot remember a single name off the top of my head. There are way too many, and they are all pretty much of a type.
another vote here for the Saddle Club series, i was ADDICTED to them at that age! i was also in the Saddle Club book club, where i got four new books every month. i'm not sure if there is still something like that, but it was wonderful and kept a stream of horsey books coming to my mailbox!
maybe try a subscription to Young Rider magazine as well. i got that one too, and it's geared towards pre-teens with riding and grooming tips, breed profiles, easy-to-understand health information, and fun stuff to do with horses.
another perennial favorite is a huge glossy hardcover book simply titled "Horses". it was a British publication FULL of pictures and information about every possible aspect of horses, including a massive index of breeds in the back. i pored over that for HOURS when i was younger!
They will HATE themselves when they're older but The Saddle Club is addictive. (If, on rereads as an older, more horse-savvy teen, often...lacking in the authenticity department.) The TV show is silly bordering on stupid, though.
I totally second finding every C.W. Anderson book (Afraid to Ride, Another Man o' War, and of his nonfiction "Deep Through the Heart" and other thoroughbred stories) that you possibly can. Some of the rarer books can be tough to find, but they are absolutely worth it.
The Black Stallion--they get outright WEIRD toward the end of the series (aliens? Really?) but the early ones especially are fantastic.
If you can find Marguerite Henry's nonfiction--All About Horses, Album of Horses, Dear Readers and Riders/Dear Marguerite Henry, they all have lots of useful information at a pre-teen friendly level. (There's even a letter about moose in the last one I mentioned, for our Canadian friends. )
Educate them on humanity and animal husbandry with the pinnacle of benevolence Anna Sewell's Black Beauty - unabridged. Get one with GREAT art work. They will treasure it!
Ditto. it's a wonderful story and surprisingly uncheesy.
as to Saddle Club and Throughbred, do check with your local library, they might have a bunch so you can pick one or 2 as stocking suffer they don't have and when they are eaten up you can lend them from the library.
( the European counterpart was Britta and 'Bille und Zottel' when I grew up. Must haves in the horse crazy girl library)
naturally Misty and company
Flicka (saw Thunderhead DvD in my local closeout store, but gawd those movies are cheesy!)
Black Stallion (also a must have)
There are also a few good books out, encyclopedias about breeds. I had one (still have it some where) and it was very insirational. Who'da thunk it there are other horses than QH and TBs
Originally Posted by Bristol Bay
Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
Yessss, seconded for "Summer Pony" and "Winter Pony." Great, great books. They're fiction, but they have a lot about caring for ponies.
Anything by Jessie Haas but especially "Working Trot."
I, too, loved the Thoroughbred series and the Black Stallion series.
Anything by Marguerite Henry - especially her lesser-known ones. The one about the boy who wanted to ride with the Spanish Riding School is my all time favorite, for the Wesley Dennis illustrations. "Album of Horses" is wonderful too.
Marguerite Henry did one (I think it was her) called "A Horse in the House". I loved that one.
I really ought to dig through my books back home next time I'm at mom's and see what else I have. Flicka-check. Black Stallion--check. Shoot...I own lots of these! Too bad they're all in Iowa and I'm in MI!
Thank you for the suggestions you guys! I think they'll be excited.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.