The best books for those who are crazy over horses (and dogs and anything with four legs)

Carolyn Banks Author Of A Horse To Die For
By Carolyn Banks

Who am I?

Although I grew up in the heart of a big city (Pittsburgh, PA), I have always loved animals. I had dogs, I had cats, I had turtles. There was a horse that pulled a wagon through our streets and he always stopped so I could feed him sugar. I still remember the way his breath felt on the palm of my hand. My parents would drive me to a park where I could rent a horse and ride. I’m old now and I’d have to be lowered onto a horse by a crane, but sometimes I think it would be great if that were to happen.

I wrote...

A Horse To Die For

By Carolyn Banks,

Book cover of A Horse To Die For

What is my book about?

A Horse to Die For is part of the Robin Vaughan Equestrian Series. Like the other books in the series, It’s a comic novel as well as a mystery. It takes place around Christmas and starts when Robin’s best friend, Lola, gets a horse for Christmas. He’s a rehab, Lola tells her, because he charges when he’s out in the pasture. Lola doesn’t mention that one of the people the horse charged was killed. Robin thinks the horse is familiar. Furthermore, he reminds Robin of a horse that is dead. Worse, the horse died while Robin was horse-sitting. This calls Robin to track the evil-doers down.

The books I picked & why

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Dead Cert

By Dick Francis,

Book cover of Dead Cert

Why this book?

This is the first book by Dick Francis that I ever read. I knew it was based on an incident that happened to him when he was riding in a steeplechase. I was dying to get to the accident and scared, knowing what was going to happen and when. Whew!

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor

By James Herriot,

Book cover of All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor

Why this book?

All Creatures Great and Small is a sweet book that at the same time can make you laugh out loud. His prose is understated and he’s able to make fun of himself. Herriot’s encounters with all sorts of animals are unique and heartwarming, and that spreads to include his dealings with humans as well.

I’ve always loved animals and, clearly, James Herriot does too. And I’ve always loved things British, and this book is so very so.

Heads Up - Heels Down

By C.W. Anderson,

Book cover of Heads Up - Heels Down

Why this book?

Heads Up - Heels Down is beautifully written by C. W. Anderson and beautifully illustrated with pencil drawings by Paul Brown. I remember some of his lines and I read this book first when I was 13! Buy an old hunter, he says, and if there’s a fence between you and open country, “he will solve the problem nicely.”


By Richard Adams,

Book cover of Traveller

Why this book?

This novel is told from the point of view of Traveller, Robert E. Lee’s horse. That may sound hokey, but it’s a powerful book that reveals the horrors of the Civil War. It brought me to tears at the end, when Traveller is mystified by goings-on that we, the readers, realize what Traveler cannot know—that Robert E. Lee has died.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Garth Stein,

Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Why this book?

The Art of Racing in the Rain is told by Enzo, an old and much-loved dog. If you don’t weep reading this book, you don’t have a heart. Along with the man-and-dog story is the owner’s fight for the custody of his daughter. And you’ll love the ending, which I won’t spoil for you.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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