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Well written horsey novels for grown-ups

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  • #41
    A strong recommendation for Racing My Father: Growing Up With a Riding Legend (2006) by Patrick Smithwick. His old and well known Maryland family doesn't get any more horsey and the stories are great.

    I haven't read, but have heard very good things about the almost Forest Gump-like life of Jimmy Winkfield. An African-American man who won the Kentucky Derby 1901 and 1902 then went to Europe and Russia for more victories, fame, fortune, and love.

    Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend (2006) by NYT's writer Joe Drape.

    There is also Wink: The Incredible Life and Epic Journey of Jimmy Winkfield which came out in 2004, by Ed Hotaling.

    I think the Drape book is being peddled as possible movie and I swear I recall reading a prominent actor buying up the rights.


    • #42
      next time you are over, Tiempo, just step into my house...you will see my 2nd passsion...


      • #43
        Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
        I always enjoy Rita Mae Brown's. They do vary in quality somewhat but I find them absorbing whether the plot is well organized or not...
        I have to say, her books are beginning to make me wonder whether hunt clubs attract psychopaths, or just Sister's. Or maybe Virginians are just a murderous lot? Tthe number of people connected to the Jefferson Hunt who've either BEEN murdered or COMITTED murder makes me wonder how the club continues to maintain its membership, let alone enlarge it.

        As far as good horse books, I really liked Jean Slaughter Doty's YA and middle-grade novels. Well-written and written by someone who knows and loves horses.

        I also picked up a cheezy novel while traveling -- Sun Kissed, by Catherine Anderson. It's a romance novel with a horsie setting. (Warning, the plot features some horsie tragedy.)

        I do like Dick Francis's books and find them re-readable. Some favorites are Banker and, er, the one where the main character is a photographer.


        • #44
          In addition to Horse Heaven and A Year at the Races, Jane Smiley's Barn Blind is also very good.


          • #45
            Beautiful Jim Keyes was an interesting read
            Funny Cide by the Funny Cide team was entertaining
            Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards- sad but good
            And I just finished 2 Marguerite Henry books: Brighty of the Grand Canyon
            and Mustang, Wild spirit of the West - the story of Wild Horse Annie. More kids' books, but well written and good reads...
            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


            • #46
              Rita Mae Brown's foxhunting series: Outfoxed, Hotspur, The Hunt Ball, The Hound and the Fury. All part of the "Sister Jane" series.

              Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown's: "Mrs. Murphy" series books are also quite a fun read - not entirely horse related - but there are horses in the books and of course Ms. Brown is extremely knowledgeable in what she writes when it concerns anything equestrian. (FYI she is the MFH of her hunt in case anyone didn't know).

              Jan Neuarth's The Hunt and The Chase. The Chase is the sequel to The Hunt, but you could certainly read it without having first read The Hunt and not be lost or confused.

              Jodi Jaffee - If you can find them used (I did several years ago on Amazon), I loved Chestnut Mare Beware, Horse of A Different Killer, and In Colt Blood. Last I knew, she posts here and talk was that she was in the making of a new book (centered around Devon), but I haven't seen it out yet.... She also did a book with her husband called Shenandoah Summer (that involves Natty Gold). If you search for that book the author is listed as John Jaffee.

              Also, it's non-fiction, but I really enjoyed In Service to the Horse. It's a behind the scenes look that follows a year in the life of a groom/barn manager for Karen and David O'Connor, Anne Kursinski, and a big-time TB Breeder in Kentucky.

              Tami Hoag's Dark Horse was enjoyable as well, but I would put those listed above ahead of Dark Horse as far as an enjoyable read.

              Meant to be a "young adult" or teen read, but I still found enjoyable was Kim Ablon Whitney's The Perfect Distance about a working student who is trying to get and keep it together for a national medal final. Kim, the author, comes from a background of being a very successfull junior rider who trained with a VERY BNT during her junior years, and she currently is a USEF licensed h/j judge. Her experience, combined wtih her writing ability, makes this fictional book very realistic.


              • #47
                Caitlin Brennan has a series that is very fictiony (yeah, I know not a word) which features Lippizan-like horses that are worshipped as gods and ridden by the chosen Riders who use the intricate patterns of the haute ecole to keep the patterns of the world going.

                I really enjoyed them as a fun quick read--there are three in the series...

                The Mountain's Call, Song of Unmaking and Shattered Dance.

                Proud Member of Wood Hill Farm who's motto is "I'm not going sober!"


                • #48
                  And for those wanting to relive their childhoods, A Very Young Rider has been reprinted with updates about Vivi Malloy and her family! I love it now as much as I did when I was 10!
                  When life gives you lemons. . .say &%^# you lemons! And throw those lemons back in life's face so that it will be afraid of you and won't try that crap again!


                  • #49
                    Misty of Chincoteague is not a work of total fiction. It may have a bit of poetic license, but the story is true. The Beebe family is related to my own, and I had Thanksgiving dinner with Maureen (the little girl) this past November. Of course, she's not a little girl anymore.
                    I support and enable the USA bred horse and the USA breeder.


                    • #50
                      I second "The Lady" by Anne McCaffrey. It's about an Irish family raising showjumpers, IIRC.

                      Also, Jennifer Roberson's Tiger and Del series (6 books, all the titles start with Sword.) It's not entirely horsey, more fantasy sword fighting, but the main character does have a rogueish horse known only as "the stud." The author is a horse person, so the descriptions are accurate.

                      They're out of print and tough to find, but Mary Stanton's "Heavenly Horse of the Outermost West" and "Piper at the Gates" are wonderful.

                      Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                      Crayola Posse: sea green
                      Mighty Rehabbers Clique


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by LessonLearned View Post
                        And for those wanting to relive their childhoods, A Very Young Rider has been reprinted with updates about Vivi Malloy and her family! I love it now as much as I did when I was 10!
                        I too loved that book as a kid! However, not sure if I would buy it for a kid now...not sure that I would want my kid to look up to Jonathan with respect...


                        • #52
                          For nonfiction, I recently enjoyed both "Frankie", the autobiography of Lanfranco Dettori, and "The Racing Tribe" by Kate Fox. The latter is a social anthropologist's take on British horse racing. I purchased both books in London but they appear to be available on amazon.com.


                          • #53
                            A Portion for Foxes by Jane McIlvaine McClary.

                            A Portion for Foxes by Jane McIlvaine McClary.
                            My all-time favorite.
                            If you read one book in your life make it this one.


                            • #54
                              Some oldies but extremely goodies:
                              The Irish R.M. - as good as Horse Heaven, and that's high praise from me.
                              Horse Tradin' - Ben Green (he also did More Horse Tradin, and a vet one... Country Horse Doc, maybe) all great
                              My Friend Flicka, of course

                              More recent -
                              Baxter Black has some cute cowboy novels

                              Not Quite a Horsewoman - a series of articles, but screamingly funny.


                              • #55
                                Dick Francis fan here.


                                • #56
                                  In addition to "A Year at the Races', Jane smily has other horsey novels: Barn Blind, and Horse Heaven.

                                  Horse People by Michael Kourda is not bad: not a novel, just a book about his own horses and others he has met along the way.


                                  • #57
                                    The memoir "Fox In The Cupboard" by Jane Shilling is interesting, although it does get deeper into the history of fox-hunting than many people might find appealing.

                                    The novel "Horseplay" by Judy Reene Singer is an entertaining look at a woman who drops everything to go become a working student at a barn. When I get fed up at work, I remember this book.

                                    Joyce Stranger is an older English writer whose books often centered around dogs or horses. Zara, Breed of Giants and Kazan are the three I remember offhand.


                                    • #58
                                      Also good:
                                      Kit Erhman's novels.
                                      Bill Shoemaker's novels.
                                      Jody Jaffe's novels.

                                      Personally, I hated Jan Neuarth's The Hunt (and I fox hunt in Virginia!) I also hated Carolyn Banks' novels about the dressage world even though I competed in dressage for 15 years.


                                      • #59
                                        A great series that I read at least once a year is Cormack McCarthy's Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain).

                                        They aren't about horses per se, but equines play an integral role in all three books.

                                        They are great coming-of-age novels, sprinkled with metaphysical questions and fantastic stream-of-consciousness passages. McCarthy's description of the terrain of southern Texas and northern Mexico is breathtaking.

                                        If you've seen the movie version of All the Pretty Horses, it is nothing compared to the novel.

                                        These books are guaranteed to take longer than 2 days to read! A worthy investment of time.
                                        Last edited by NoGreatMischief; Mar. 20, 2007, 09:26 PM. Reason: mental lapse
                                        I'm not one to say I toadaso. But I toadaso. - Ricky


                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by Eventer62 View Post
                                          A Portion for Foxes by Jane McIlvaine McClary.
                                          My all-time favorite.
                                          If you read one book in your life make it this one.
                                          I totally agree, and I love her Cammie series for young adults as well. They are all out of print but easy enough to find on B & N, Alibris, Amazon, Bookfinder, etc. ITs sort of a fox hunting Gone with the Wind, and I like that its long, I hate when a good book ends too quickly.