The best novels about the horse/human connection

The Books I Picked & Why

Horse Heaven

By Jane Smiley

Book cover of Horse Heaven

Why this book?

Horse Heaven brims with engaging characters who inhabit the world of thoroughbred racing, both animal and human, and will break your heart and make you laugh out loud. Jane Smiley folds her humor and astute knowledge of horses into an immensely readable adventure that travels to racetracks around the globe and brings you along for the ride. It was pitch-perfect and delightful, and my only regret was that the story eventually had to end.

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Lord of Misrule

By Jaimy Gordon

Book cover of Lord of Misrule

Why this book?

Jaimy Gordon has written a beautiful, unforgettable novel that takes place at a run-down racecourse in West Virginia, where a has-been trainer forms a get-rich-quick plan with used-up racehorses. The story of Lord of Misrule, the legendary stakes winner, brings us into the heart of it, where everybody’s searching for something, everything has a price and what’s truly valuable is right in front of your nose.

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Seabiscuit: An American Legend

By Laura Hillenbrand

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Why this book?

Seabiscuit was arguably one of the finest horses ever to race and he became a true American legend. As you read this remarkable book, you’ll grow to love this horse and admire his talent and spirit. I couldn’t put it down. Laura Hillenbrand goes deep into the facts of how his story unfolded and fully describes the people who believed in him right to the end. It will touch your heart.

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The Horse Whisperer: A Novel

By Nicholas Evans

Book cover of The Horse Whisperer: A Novel

Why this book?

The Horse Whisperer is a stirring novel about pain and redemption, and the healing power of horses. A young girl and her horse are hit by an out-of-control truck on a snowy road. The girl’s mother believes that the key to unlocking her daughter’s desperation lies in curing her horse, which motivates their journey across the country to the man who she hopes will help. It’s a must-read.

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Break In

By Dick Francis

Book cover of Break In

Why this book?

I’ve always enjoyed Dick Francis’s hair-raising novels about steeplechase racing, crime, and intrigue, and it was difficult to choose only one. His inside knowledge of the sport and his connection with horses makes all his novels authentic and informative. Break In features the jockey Kit Fielding, who comes to the aid of his twin sister, Holly, when her racing stable owner husband is slandered by the newspapers. Kit has a telepathic relationship with his sister, which adds to the mystique of this fast-paced adventure.

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