We all love horses here, but the problem with them during the cold winter months is that you can’t really take them out and go for a ride. Sure, you can still do it, but it’s a bit dangerous for both the horse and the rider.
Instead, we believe we speak for everyone when we say that we would rather just stay home and prepare a hot cup of cocoa or coffee, alongside our favorite snacks, as we sit down and read a good book.
While horse books are exactly popular, we do recommend that you check them out if you’re looking for a good way to enjoy your free time. But the problem is that while there are a lot of stories that have horses in them, there aren’t too many books that specifically focus on the horse itself.
This is why we decided to make a list with the 20 best horse books that you should check out, starting off with a bit of a classic if we can say so ourselves:
- 1. Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland by Tory Bilski
- 2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
- 3. Horse Trouble by Kristin Varner
- 4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
- 5. Riding Lessons: A Novel by Sara Gruen
- 6. The Horse of My Dreams: True Stories of the Horses We Love edited by Callie Grant Smith
- 7. Lady Long Rider: Alone Across American on Horseback by Bernice Ende
- 8. The Dust Bowl #1 (American Horse Tales) by Michelle Jabès Corpora
- 9. All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1) by Cormac McCarthy
- 10. Out of the Clouds by Linda Carroll and David Rosner
- 11. Always Hope: How Dairy Cows and Arabian Horses Inspired Grit in a Young Girl’s Life by Hope Ellis-Ashburn
- 12. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
- 13. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
- 14. Canterwood Crest by Jessica Burkhart
- 15. Horse Gone Silent by Shane Ledyard
- 16. The Black Stallion Adventures by Walter Farley
- 17. Unbreakable: The Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse Race by Richard Askwith
- 18. Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards
- 19. The Horse Dancer: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
- 20. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
1. Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland by Tory Bilski
Now this story is definitely one that will surely get your blood pumping, because it immediately catches your attention thanks to its downright artistic looking cover.
The title is also worth noting here because it makes you wonder what the author really wanted to say, which is exactly why we were extremely curious, pretty much picking it up right when we’ve seen it in a bookstore and reading it the following day all in one go.
Interestingly enough though, it isn’t the most adventure packed story around, instead focusing more on the character development, surrounding a group of women who pilgrimage all the way to Iceland every year, in order to ride out their sorrows and forget about their problems.
2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
If we’re talking about classic stories, we can’t possibly skip out on what could be one of the best classic horse novels around. This is the story of Black Beauty, and the hardships that this horse is forced to go through all throughout her life.
Do keep in mind though that it is a bit of a tearjerker, so if you want to spend the rest of your days with your mascara still on then you may want to skip this story for now.
Even so, we have to say that this is by far one of the most emotional and powerful horse books we’ve ever read, and we wouldn’t mind reading it again sometime soon, if we ever feel like we haven’t been too emotional lately and we want to change that.
3. Horse Trouble by Kristin Varner
But hey, not everyone’s into super serious adult tearjerker stories, some of us want to keep our tears for ourselves, instead opting for lighthearted content because life is bitter enough already.
If that sounds like your cup of tea you may want to check out this graphic novel as it is more than perfect for you.
It is usually sold off to children between the ages of 8 and 12, as the story centers around friendships, insecurities and courage, but you can read it too. You may be wondering what any of this has to do with the horses. Well, the whole graphic novel revolves around the stables and the horses inside.
As such, it makes for the perfect story for your children, or better yet, the best story for you to read to them if they have trouble falling asleep.
4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races was actually inspired by the mythical Celtic legend of the water horses, that would spring out of the sea every year.
As such, the book follows a girl by the name of Puck, that becomes the very first girl to take part in a very serious horse race event that takes place every November.
She actually lands in the path of the reigning champion known as Sean, and as she notices the bond between him and his horse, she decides to work her way to the top too, in order to challenge him
As mentioned previously though, the story takes a different turn later on as the magical horse spring out from the sea, and Puck’s life is sure to change too as soon as she meets her new ride.
5. Riding Lessons: A Novel by Sara Gruen
Sara Gruen is known as one of the most influential authors around, and Riding Lessons is a really good place to start with her work.
It is the story of the talented horse rider Annemarie, and her struggles through her life, as she gives her riding career her all, trying her hardest to live her best life through it.
The only real problem with it though is that a tragic accident takes away her riding partner, destroying her riding career and forcing her to seclude herself away from everyone.
She then returns to her father’s horse farm where she tries to get over her loss. She then meets a bunch of interesting figures including a white striped gelding, that may actually help her saddle up once again in the near future.
6. The Horse of My Dreams: True Stories of the Horses We Love edited by Callie Grant Smith
This anthology is just what the doctor ordered, after reading your average tear inducing story, such as the classic Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.
We may be a bit biased but we absolutely love uplifting books like these, since they can help you fall in love with riding again.
As such, we do have to say that this is one of the best horse tales to read just before you go to bed, since it’ll make you feel like you’re a young buck again, just riding out your sorrows and forgetting about everything, while you skip and hop through the forests on your trusty stallion.
7. Lady Long Rider: Alone Across American on Horseback by Bernice Ende
While we could never do this ourselves, some people absolutely love riding out their lives through the wild, camping alongside their four-legged friends, as they experience everything that nature has to offer.
If you happen to be one of these people, then you absolutely need to check out this story right here, as it focuses on this fantasy of living out in the wilds, needing nothing but what nature gives you alongside your trusty equine friend.
8. The Dust Bowl #1 (American Horse Tales) by Michelle Jabès Corpora
This book first made its way to the market in 2021, and it immediately became a bestseller due to how easy it is to read, alongside just how fun of a read it is to begin with.
Needless to say, if you love to read through a multitude of stories of young girls and their horses, as they go about their day throughout different places in the US and different time periods, this is definitely going to be the perfect book for you.
This story in particular though was definitely the best around, as it covers the story of Ginny, a young lass that leaves her family and her home in Oklahoma, in order to travel all the way to California.
Why would she do this, you ask? Well, it’s all in order for her to save the life of her horse during the Great Depression. If you want to know more definitely check it out for yourself.
9. All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1) by Cormac McCarthy
This story centers around the life of John Grady Cole, as he gets to learn his way around his grandpa’s farm, only to then find out that his father is going to have to sell it off eventually.
Because of this he decides to set off on his own at the age of 16, riding off on horseback with a friend as he tries to get to Mexico.
There, he hopes to become a cowboy and live out the rest of his life alongside his equine friend. Will his plan succeed or will reality start to settle in as he encounters some less than savory characters along the way? There’s only one way to find out.
10. Out of the Clouds by Linda Carroll and David Rosner
They say that you should never judge a book by its cover. Clearly though, these people never saw Linda and David’s cover because otherwise, we can assure you that the saying would be quite different these days.
All jokes aside though, this is an incredible story which centers around the concept of the underdog, which is always thrilling to experience to say the least.
So, get ready to read all through the story of Jacobs, a dirt-poor Brooklyn city slicker that ends up making a bit of a name for himself for buying off cheap and sickly nags, and transforms them into pure and unadulterated winners.
11. Always Hope: How Dairy Cows and Arabian Horses Inspired Grit in a Young Girl’s Life by Hope Ellis-Ashburn
Hope Ellis-Ashburn may be an ordinary teacher during the day, but when the night veil starts covering up everything that the eye can see, she secretly becomes one of the most talented writers of all time.
That may sound like a bit of an over exaggeration, but we stand by our words when we say that she is an exceptional writer, and she deserves a lot more recognition than she’s gotten so ar.
We won’t cover the plotline of the story all that much in this article, just know that it’s a really good read that you should check out as soon as you have the time for it.
12. My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara
Yet another one of the good old classics right here, My Friend Flicka is commonly referred to as one of the best introductory works to equine content around, since you can read through it and enjoy every bit of the story, even if you’ve never owned a horse to begin with.
The story centers around the journey of a young rider, as he tries to find a purpose in his life in a filly known as Flicka. The rest is history, and if you want to know more about it, you’ll need to get your hands on it yourself.
13. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans
This one’s a real tearjerker, one that has made us cry more times than we care to admit. Even so, it is a beautiful tale that is worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime, so if you want to really get in touch with your emotional side, definitely check out the Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans.
Just keep in mind that it is a bit gruesome, as it follows the story of an injured girl and her horse, as the two need to work out through their problems in order to eventually get back on the road to winning that first-place prize yet again.
14. Canterwood Crest by Jessica Burkhart
Going back to the more lighthearted options you have, this series has a total of 21 books for you to read through, and while that may sound like a lot, you’ll be done with them before you know it, since you won’t be able to stop reading after you finish the first book.
The story mainly centers around an equestrian academy and every bit of drama and action that the people here have to get through. It is definitely a more children-oriented story, but it’s more than worth checking out if you want to relax and read through a more uplifting story for once.
15. Horse Gone Silent by Shane Ledyard
There are not that many good showjumper stories around, and that may be because it is really difficult to accurately portray the story of such a strange yet enticing sport to begin with.
Luckily, we do have the Horse Gone Silent trilogy which showcases every leap and bound that the main character has to go through as he makes his way to the top.
Being appropriate for ages 13+, don’t expect it to go to deep on the details, although it is also a lot more mature than you’d think.
16. The Black Stallion Adventures by Walter Farley
This 20-book series centers around the story of a young man and the black stallion that he manages to save from a shipwreck.
Their bond will soon get toughened up as they are forced to go through a series of mishaps and troubles together.
It is meant for children between the ages of 8-12, but you can also read through it and enjoy it just as much as we did even if you’re a fully grown adult.
17. Unbreakable: The Woman Who Defied the Nazis in the World’s Most Dangerous Horse Race by Richard Askwith
This story has by far one of the most captivating titles we’ve ever seen, and that’s a fact. Even if that was the only thing that this book has to offer, we would still have to pick it up just for that reason alone.
Luckily though, the book’s story also matches the exciting title that it carries, as it follows the story of a woman and her bond with her horse in 1937, Czechoslovakia.
Her whole life, Lata has devoted her life to three things, aka her country, her horses and her faith, and as she gains more and more attention, she may end up finding out new things about herself as she tries to win the horrifyingly dangerous Grand Pardubice steeplechase.
18. Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards
If you thought that stories couldn’t possibly get any sadder than the Black Beauty, think again as this book by Susan Richard centers around the life of Lay Me Down, a retired and malnourished racehorse and his connection with Susan, her rider.
Susan is a broken woman that needs someone to help her find meaning in her life again, and Lay Me Down may be the perfect candidate for the job, unless someone gets in their way.
19. The Horse Dancer: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
Sarah’s life changes once and for all as her grandpa gives her a beautiful horse for her to ride on during her spare time.
He hopes that this horse will eventually get Sarah to join an elite French riding school, where she can finally learn the ropes around to become the winner that he always knew she was.
Sadly though, her grandpa soon falls ill, and Sarah is forced to juggle her new responsibilities with taking care of her grandpa at the hospital. Her life is about to change soon enough though as Natasha, a young lawyer, bumps into Sarah one day.
20. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
You may not believe us when we tell you, but if you happen to find your way off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, you may end up on a small island which nobody knows about other than us.
On this tiny island you will find a centuries-old group of wild ponies which live away from humanity, making sure to always escape capture at all times.
This will change in the near future though as a boy and a girl come into the horse’s life alongside her colt, Misty.
We hope that you will enjoy reading through these stories just as much as we did, and remember, it’s never about the story itself, as much as it is about what you feel while reading through them.
So, thank you for reading this far and we hope that no matter which story you read next, it’ll help clear your mind and allow you to enjoy yourself as you travel to the distant lands that the books have to offer.