The best equestrian books

8 authors have picked their favorite books about equestrianism and why they recommend each book.

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Centered Riding

By Sally Swift, Jean Macfarland (illustrator), Mike Noble (photographer)

Book cover of Centered Riding

Prior to Centered Riding much of how riding was taught came from the cavalry. It was get tough or get out. Sally Swift changed that with her gentle approach to riding instruction. She introduced the horse world to the Alexander technique and the use of visualization. Instead of pushing riders through their fear, she helped them connect with their horses. She is a revolutionary thinker who transformed riding instruction.   


Who am I?

In 1998 I launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of Clicker Training for Your Horse, the first reference for clicker training in the horse world. When you come across a training method that is as kind, safe, effective, and fun as clicker training, it’s not something you want to keep to yourself. Clicker training needs to be shared and that’s what I have been doing for almost thirty years. Through my books, DVDs, clinics, online courses, conference presentations, blogs, and podcasts, I have been teaching people how to clicker train their horses. Together we are changing the way horses are trained.


I wrote...

The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

By Alexandra Kurland,

Book cover of The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

What is my book about?

There’s more to training than simply getting a job done. How you teach matters. Kind, effective, and horse-friendly, this comprehensive training guide will take you from basic handling to advanced training. The step-by-step lessons are easy to follow. They create a road map for developing a superstar performer and a great equine friend. This is the resource you are looking for to help you train well.  

The Dressage Seat

By Anja Beran,

Book cover of The Dressage Seat: Achieving a Beautiful, Effective Position in Every Gait and Movement

Anja Beran again shares her love of horses by helping us ride better.  

Thoughtless riding damages horses. It breaks their bodies and their spirits. But we can ride horses into soundness. We can bring back the sparkle in their eyes even as we help heal their bodies. The Dressage Seat will help you ride effectively and support the well-being of your horse.


Who am I?

In 1998 I launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of Clicker Training for Your Horse, the first reference for clicker training in the horse world. When you come across a training method that is as kind, safe, effective, and fun as clicker training, it’s not something you want to keep to yourself. Clicker training needs to be shared and that’s what I have been doing for almost thirty years. Through my books, DVDs, clinics, online courses, conference presentations, blogs, and podcasts, I have been teaching people how to clicker train their horses. Together we are changing the way horses are trained.


I wrote...

The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

By Alexandra Kurland,

Book cover of The Click That Teaches: A Step-By-Step Guide in Pictures

What is my book about?

There’s more to training than simply getting a job done. How you teach matters. Kind, effective, and horse-friendly, this comprehensive training guide will take you from basic handling to advanced training. The step-by-step lessons are easy to follow. They create a road map for developing a superstar performer and a great equine friend. This is the resource you are looking for to help you train well.  

Man & Horse

By John Egenes,

Book cover of Man & Horse: The Long Ride Across America

Back in the day when you could ride across the country, an inexperienced young John Egenes and his young gelding Gizmo left a broken home in California, looking toward the Atlantic Ocean. Over the seven months of their exploit, they learned to depend on each other and become true partners as they found their way eastward.

I loved this story as a journey, both as a long horseback ride and a personal journey. John has a candid and humorous way of looking at life and describing the people and adventures along the way – the good and the bad. It's an up close and personal adventure across the country, shared with man's best friend,  one that I wish I could have done.

Who am I?

I've been addicted to horses for as long as I can remember – not that I'm complaining. Reading The Black Stallion books as a youngster started me down the path of a life with equines. Everything fell into place, one step after another, as I became a racetrack groom, horse photographer, writer, traveler, Endurance rider, and author. I write and photograph for numerous magazines, and I’ve authored five books and several short e-stories on horses. My long-time love was my off-the-track Thoroughbred Stormy, who lived to be 30, and I currently own Hillbillie Willie, an off-the-track Standardbred who loves Endurance riding.


I wrote...

Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond

By Merri Melde,

Book cover of Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond

What is my book about?

Clinging to a four-legged rocket ship among the Pyramids in Egypt. Riding a racehorse on the Curragh in Ireland. Winning a first endurance ride in Texas. Flipping a packhorse down a cliff in California. Flying on a Lord of the Rings horse in New Zealand. Cowgirling it in Idaho.

Capturing the beauty, the humor, the thrills, the fun, the fear, and above all, the love of the equine that goes deep down into the soul, these serendipitous equine adventures are the fabric of an eclectic, adventurous lifestyle with magnificent horses.

New Beginnings

By Christine Meunier,

Book cover of New Beginnings

I grew up at a riding school so I love horses and stories that would connect with young readers who are equestrian enthusiasts. The King Family are the main characters in the book. They lease a horse farm named Genesis and begin making long-range plans for their future. What happens when young Jacqui outgrows her beloved pony? How does the family rely on their faith to help them through difficult times? It’s an engaging, story that will show readers ways they may manage changes and trials in their own lives. I believe readers will relate to this story because they have faced fears as well. It may help them to read about Vicky’s trials.


Who am I?

My parents encouraged me to become a children’s author when I was very young. At first, I thought that was the silliest idea ever, but I found creating stories to be fun and inspiring. I’ve been an award-winning published author since 2009, when I had an intuition to try writing stories for children. I love being a role model for children; someone who can show them that they can achieve much more than they imagine if they persevere. My personal story, My Life at Sweetbrier; A Life Changed by Horses, is a testament that remarkable things can be accomplished through perseverance. I’m honored my work has earned many literary awards. 


I wrote...

My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

By Deanie Humphrys-Dunne,

Book cover of My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

What is my book about?

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion rider? This problem is, you were born with a disability. This happened to Deanie. Doctors told her parents she’d never walk, let alone ride. What happened next? What did Deanie’s dad do that changed her life? Could a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story. If you love horses and are someone who has been counted out becoming a winner in every way, you will love this book.

Flambards

By K.M. Peyton,

Book cover of Flambards

The glorious Flambards series, starring gutsy heroine Christina, was a staple for pony-mad teenagers in the 70s and 80s and is still held in great affection by its legions of fans. It’s so full of heart and life that it’s stayed relevant and readable today. Orphaned at the turn of the twentieth century, Christina Parsons is sent to live with tyrannical, hunting-mad Uncle William and his two sons in their impoverished estate. One son, dashing thruster Mark, is thought to be a good match for Christina, but it’s his younger brother, the clever, awkward would-be aviator William who she falls for. Perhaps the most trusting and enduring love she finds, however, is that for horses, starting with the wonderful, kind Sweet Briar in this opening novel. The freedom they discover together, blasting across Flambards’ ancient turf from Uncle William’s angry bellowing, is a tour de force.


Who am I?

I’ve always loved horses, in real life and fiction. I guzzled up pony stories as soon as I was old enough to read, then I started writing them, tales of teenage orphans adopted by distant aunts who lived in crumbling stately piles with fields full of ponies. When I started writing fiction for a living, it stood to reason horses would feature, and three decades after one trotted into my debut novel French Relations – then galloped off into the sunset in its sequel Well Groomed - they’re still a mainstay. Of the twenty novels I’ve written, more than half have horses at their heart, including my new Comptons series. 


I wrote...

The Country Set

By Fiona Walker,

Book cover of The Country Set

What is my book about?

Compton Magna sits in the hills where the golden Cotswolds meet Shakespeare country. At its heart is the stud farm owned by Captain Jocelyn Percy. Twenty-five years ago, his only child, Ronnie Ledwell, abandoned her husband and children for her lover. She’s about to return, and sparks are set to fly.

Amateur sleuth and baker Pip is determined to keep her position as the stud’s housekeeper, even if it means stirring things up. Taciturn stallion man Lester still guards the secret he and Ronnie have shared for three decades. Young horse-loving Carly Turner juggles jobs and her lawless in-laws, unaware that the stud’s future might rest in her hands. Bay Austen usually gets what he wants and now he’s after married Petra Gunn and the Captain’s land. Will Ronnie’s return thwart his plans?

The One Dollar Horse

By Lauren St John,

Book cover of The One Dollar Horse

I absolutely love this book even though it’s written in British English. It’s a great rags-to-riches, character-driven story that communicates the thrill of eventing. You never know what you’re going to get with horses until you’ve got it. Sometimes the one-dollar horses can be just as great as the six-figure ones. The story will stick with you long after the book is finished!


Who am I?

I’ve always been a horse-crazy girl (going on nearly 20 years now)! Horses are excellent teachers and even better friends. They never lie, and they always treat you fairly. I’ve been teaching lessons for the past five years as a PATH Intl. certified instructor, and it’s been such a joy to share my love of horses with others. Here’s to all the great real-life horses in the world that inspire such great books.


I wrote...

Chase: The Promised Guardian

By Sydney Scrogham,

Book cover of Chase: The Promised Guardian

What is my book about?

She'll do anything to keep her horse. He's never met another human. Together, they're destined to end the world. If you like portals into new worlds, clean reads with magical creatures, and young love, you’ll like Book #1 in the Guardians of Agalrae series.

Embrace of the Wild

By Linda Ballou,

Book cover of Embrace of the Wild: Inspired by Equestrian Explorer Isabella Bird

Isabella Bird was one of the great female adventurers of the 19th century. She spent six months in the Sandwich Isles (now Hawaii) in 1873 and then traveled in the Rocky Mountains, at a time when Colorado was discussing statehood. Bird’s writing still inspires to this day.

Contemporary author Linda Ballou expands Bird’s unique story in Embrace of the Wild. Ballou deftly digs into Bird’s culture and experience as a women adventurer of those days, bringing Bird again to life for all her fans.


Who am I?

Travel teaches and molds us. It certainly changed my own life. At age 19, I picked up my backpack and schoolbooks and moved from America to Austria. That experience opened my eyes to the world, and I’ve never looked back. Today, I’m a travel journalist, author, and editor at Go World Travel Magazine. I’m always on the lookout for fascinating tales of travel, but I especially appreciate learning from other female adventurers. They continue to inspire me. I hope these books will inspire you, too.


I edited...

A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel

By Janna Graber,

Book cover of A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel

What is my book about?

The recipe is simple -- take 22 adventurous women, drop them into fascinating destinations around the globe and add exceptional storytelling. The result is a compelling women's travel anthology called A Pink Suitcase: 22 Tales of Women's Travel.

A Pink Suitcase brings together a talented group of daring women as they journey across the globe on adventures that are as unforgettable as they are moving. These intrepid explorers take on the world with wide eyes, an open heart, and a woman's point of view. They tackle Mother Nature, dive into other cultures, and try new things. And in the process, they learn not only about new people and places, but uncover their own hidden strengths.

Ten Feet Tall, Still

By Julie Suhr,

Book cover of Ten Feet Tall, Still

When I grow up, I want to be Julie Suhr. She has lived an incredible life, from childhood to old age, of adventure with horses. The sport of Endurance riding took her around the world, and horses have carried her on breathtaking unforgettable rides. Her evocative and poignant writing style will grab your heart and have you reading some of the chapters again and again. I found myself in my tent, the night before I rode the Tevis Cup, again reading her magical chapter about that ride.

Julie's book (and Julie herself) inspired me to write my first book. I've been lucky enough to emulate her life just a little bit in my world Endurance riding adventures with horses. Now in her 90's, Julie's still a horsewoman and still an inspiration to me.

Who am I?

I've been addicted to horses for as long as I can remember – not that I'm complaining. Reading The Black Stallion books as a youngster started me down the path of a life with equines. Everything fell into place, one step after another, as I became a racetrack groom, horse photographer, writer, traveler, Endurance rider, and author. I write and photograph for numerous magazines, and I’ve authored five books and several short e-stories on horses. My long-time love was my off-the-track Thoroughbred Stormy, who lived to be 30, and I currently own Hillbillie Willie, an off-the-track Standardbred who loves Endurance riding.


I wrote...

Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond

By Merri Melde,

Book cover of Soul Deep in Horses: Memoir of an Equestrian Vagabond

What is my book about?

Clinging to a four-legged rocket ship among the Pyramids in Egypt. Riding a racehorse on the Curragh in Ireland. Winning a first endurance ride in Texas. Flipping a packhorse down a cliff in California. Flying on a Lord of the Rings horse in New Zealand. Cowgirling it in Idaho.

Capturing the beauty, the humor, the thrills, the fun, the fear, and above all, the love of the equine that goes deep down into the soul, these serendipitous equine adventures are the fabric of an eclectic, adventurous lifestyle with magnificent horses.

Show Pen Promise

By Carly Kade,

Book cover of Show Pen Promise: In The Reins Equestrian Romance Series Book 3

In author Carly Kade’s third book in this equestrian Western romance series, heroine Devon and hero McKennon’s exciting relationship rides to the next level. Each character continues to develop as Devon challenges herself in the show ring, and McKennon challenges himself in deciding to manage her safety while still striving for the win. The books can be read as standalone sequels, but I highly recommended them all. Each brings in new emotions, additional insights into characters, and an intriguing plot to keep readers engaged. This book happened to be my personal favorite as I empathized with Devon’s horse showing nerves and wanted to stand in her corner and cheer her on.


Who am I?

I’ve been in love with horses since I was a toddler and have read more horse books than I can count. My favorite books are about horses and their humans – the bond that holds us together. No other animal reads a human’s soul like the horse does, and it’s one of the reasons for their success in equine-assisted activities and therapy programs. I’ve written horse stories since childhood and am proud of my three award-winning books in the Believing In Horses series featuring horse rescue, equine assisted activities, show competition, and dude ranches. I hope to create and inspire more horse and human connections through my stories.


I wrote...

Believing In Horses Out West

By Valerie Ormond,

Book cover of Believing In Horses Out West

What is my book about?

Sadie Navarro rescued a mare from an auction accomplishing what she thought was the most important mission of her young life. Now, that mare is headed to a ranch in Montana and a home Sadie knows nothing about. She wants to make sure the horse is in good hands, but Montana is far away and a different world from Maryland. Will fourteen-year-old Sadie need to stand up to rugged cowboys to protect her special rescue horse?

Horse Crazy

By Sarah Maslin Nir,

Book cover of Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal

Because horses… Nir begins. She deftly weaves together her personal history and her love of horses. It may be an elusive love, but one of her former riding instructors puts it best: “Twelve, that’s my age with horses... that kind of free, fearless thing that I used to have at that age.” Nir, raised by a Holocaust survivor father who figures large in her life, grows up with all the accouterments of wealth on the Upper East Side and summers in the Hamptons. Despite the trappings, she feels she is from the wrong background and is an outsider in that ritzy world. Horses bring her home to herself.

Through her own exploration of life with horses, she catches up with an array of equine experts from Monty Roberts now in his 80s, to Black Cowboys whose history has been erased in our history, to a woman who secretly imported…


Who am I?

I was a horse-crazy young girl whose passion for equines went dormant for 30 years. It reawakened when I turned 40, and I was again a lovelorn teenager, daydreaming about horses, plotting treks, swooning over the mere sight of an equine, even if it was online. One day in the late 90s at the dawn of the Google search engine, I happened upon a picture of a beauty, a dark horse with a thick mane blowing in the wind. It was an Icelandic horse, the photo taken on a misty green tussock in Iceland. That was it for me. I focused my equine passion (fair to call it an obsession) to that horse and that country.  


I wrote...

Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland

By Tory Bilski,

Book cover of Wild Horses of the Summer Sun: A Memoir of Iceland

What is my book about?

Every summer, I took a “horse sabbatical” and traveled with a group of like-minded friends to a farm in northern Iceland. It was a place of golden light and windswept beauty. We stayed on one of the largest breeding farms in the country and trekked out daily. Midnight sun insomnia, randy stallions, subarctic cuisine, challenging place names, never-too-late in-life crushes, spirited horses—Iceland proved to be an annual reprieve from our ordinary life that made us feel extraordinary. At its heart, it’s really a coming-of-age story for that second stage of lifethe vast years of middle age. The trips brought out not just our best selves, but also our most ridiculous selvesand that is not meant pejoratively. 

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