The best books about racehorses

3 authors have picked their favorite books about racehorses and why they recommend each book.

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I Rode the Red Horse

By Barbara Libby,

Book cover of I Rode the Red Horse: Secretatriat's Belmont Race

A singular talent of his generation and arguably one of the greatest racehorses of all time, few are unaware of the feats of the immortal Secretariat. Prior to his record-breaking three-year-old campaign, it had been twenty-five years since the sport had crowned a Triple Crown champion. Through immersive illustrations and the words of the prized colt's jockey, Ron Turcotte, the tale comes alive to delight a new generation and bring those who were there back to the glory of the red horse.

I Rode the Red Horse

By Barbara Libby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Rode the Red Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Before I could walk, horses were my passion and every thought. At five, Blackie came into my life a black Shetland stud and from there, I've never stopped enjoying a life with horses. Having been born in the 1970's I witnessed some of the horse racing greats from the television, and ever since the Thoroughbred racehorse has been my favorite breed. I've been involved in a variety of ways with the rehabilitation and transition of the thoroughbred from the track to new careers. My most beloved OTTB, Blue Blue Sea, overcame so much, and naturally, I had to memorialize his amazing life as a book. 


I wrote...

Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape

By Miranda N. Prather, Hayley Mullins (illustrator),

Book cover of Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape

What is my book about?

Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape tells the life story of a blue-collar racehorse who overcame a devastating illness to survive and inspire thousands around the globe who were facing their own struggles. The book features playful writing and delightful pictures, by Kentucky artist Hayley Mullins, that bring the tale of Blue Blue Sea to life. Blue Blue Sea was no American Pharoah, but he became a hero just the same!

We Go In A Circle

By Peggy Perry Anderson,

Book cover of We Go In A Circle

With darling illustrations to engage children, the tale of an everyday racehorse and a future beyond the track comes alive. Young readers easily become connected with the story through the thoughts and feelings of the average racehorse. The horse loves the track and the thrill of the win, but when an injury upends his life, he faces an uncertain future. In the end, he finds an even better calling in helping a special group of children who benefit from hippotherapy. I adore the story of how the second act of the horse is the best one of all.

We Go In A Circle

By Peggy Perry Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Go In A Circle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Before I could walk, horses were my passion and every thought. At five, Blackie came into my life a black Shetland stud and from there, I've never stopped enjoying a life with horses. Having been born in the 1970's I witnessed some of the horse racing greats from the television, and ever since the Thoroughbred racehorse has been my favorite breed. I've been involved in a variety of ways with the rehabilitation and transition of the thoroughbred from the track to new careers. My most beloved OTTB, Blue Blue Sea, overcame so much, and naturally, I had to memorialize his amazing life as a book. 


I wrote...

Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape

By Miranda N. Prather, Hayley Mullins (illustrator),

Book cover of Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape

What is my book about?

Blue Blue Sea Finds His Cape tells the life story of a blue-collar racehorse who overcame a devastating illness to survive and inspire thousands around the globe who were facing their own struggles. The book features playful writing and delightful pictures, by Kentucky artist Hayley Mullins, that bring the tale of Blue Blue Sea to life. Blue Blue Sea was no American Pharoah, but he became a hero just the same!

The Horse God Built

By Lawrence Scanlan,

Book cover of The Horse God Built: The Untold Story of Secretariat, the World's Greatest Racehorse

The beautiful true story of Eddie Sweat, the groom who bonded with Secretariat for life throughout the horse’s racing career, stallion service, and retirement. Sweat was the son of a tenant farmer in South Carolina, the sixth of nine children in a poor family. His daily efforts and devotion to the finest racehorse of all time were largely ignored until this book came out in 2007 long after Secretariat died. This story took me for a heartwarming ride that reminded me of true horsemanship and the roles of the most important (but lowest paid) people on a performance horse’s successful team.

The Horse God Built

By Lawrence Scanlan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Horse God Built as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most of us know the legend of Secretariat, the tall, handsome chestnut racehorse whose string of honours runs long and rich: the only two-year-old ever to win Horse of the Year, in 1972; winner in 1973 of the Triple Crown, his times in all three races still unsurpassed; featured on the cover of "Time", "Newsweek", and "Sports Illustrated"; the only horse listed on ESPN's top fifty athletes of the twentieth century (ahead of Mickey Mantle). His final race at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack is a touchstone memory for horse lovers everywhere. Yet while Secretariat will be remembered forever, one man, Eddie…

Who am I?

Horses have helped me negotiate the world since early childhood. I’ve worked as a horse trainer, show competitor, catch rider, barn grunt, and riding instructor. As a UCLA-trained brain scientist and full professor, I also taught human perception, language, memory, and thought for almost 25 years. Combining these interests produced an “aha” moment, leading to my development of brain-based horsemanship. Successful horse-and-human teams require an understanding of how prey and predator brains interact. With that understanding, both species learn to communicate mutually via body language. We humans cooperate in this fashion and degree with no other species of prey animal—it’s a rare and special bond! 


I wrote...

Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship

By Janet Jones,

Book cover of Horse Brain, Human Brain: The Neuroscience of Horsemanship

What is my book about?

Horse Brain, Human Brain introduces the many differences between horse and human brains. Without this knowledge, we often assume that horses learn, think, perceive, and attend to tasks the way we do. That assumption invites us to work against our horses' brains, expecting them to function in unnatural and counterproductive ways. This book offers the information needed to ride with our horses' brains. Each principle is applied to real everyday issues in the arena or on trail, often illustrated with true stories from my horse training experience. Written in plain language, Horse Brain, Human Brain is intended for anyone who works with horses.

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

A true-life horse racing Rocky story set against the backdrop of the Great Depression. While the blurb may sound like something straight out of Disney, Hillenbrand doesn’t shy away from exposing the darker side of racing, especially when it comes to the mistreatment of jockeys and horses.

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Seabiscuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Growing up, I was one of “those” horse-crazy girls who devoured every Black Stallion and Marguerite Henry book that I could get my hands on. At sixteen I began working at Atlantic City Racecourse in the summer and after I graduated college with a B.S. in Animal Science, I became a trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. For thirteen wonderful years, I raced horses in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Due to my insider’s knowledge of the horse racing industry, I based my book selections on accuracy as well as story.


I wrote...

Racetrack Rogues: One Woman's Story of Family, Love, and Loss in the Horse Racing World

By Dawn LeFevre,

Book cover of Racetrack Rogues: One Woman's Story of Family, Love, and Loss in the Horse Racing World

What is my book about?

Nineteen-year-old Dahlia Leggett never dreamed that she’d wind up back at Garden State Park, training a ragtag stable of misfit Thoroughbreds. Or that she’d fall for Steve, the sexy son of legendary trainer Bill Bassett, her nemesis. But after the sudden death of her estranged mother Marilyn, it’s goodbye college and hello racetrack.

Ruffian

By Jane Schwartz,

Book cover of Ruffian: Burning from the Start

One look at Ruffian and you knew she was a star. Those long legs, that fire in her eye. And when she ran, it was nothing short of magic. Jane Schwartz captures the heart and soul of the brilliant filly from her wobbly first steps to her devastating last breath. And yes, this book will make you cry.

Ruffian

By Jane Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ruffian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Who am I?

Growing up, I was one of “those” horse-crazy girls who devoured every Black Stallion and Marguerite Henry book that I could get my hands on. At sixteen I began working at Atlantic City Racecourse in the summer and after I graduated college with a B.S. in Animal Science, I became a trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. For thirteen wonderful years, I raced horses in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Due to my insider’s knowledge of the horse racing industry, I based my book selections on accuracy as well as story.


I wrote...

Racetrack Rogues: One Woman's Story of Family, Love, and Loss in the Horse Racing World

By Dawn LeFevre,

Book cover of Racetrack Rogues: One Woman's Story of Family, Love, and Loss in the Horse Racing World

What is my book about?

Nineteen-year-old Dahlia Leggett never dreamed that she’d wind up back at Garden State Park, training a ragtag stable of misfit Thoroughbreds. Or that she’d fall for Steve, the sexy son of legendary trainer Bill Bassett, her nemesis. But after the sudden death of her estranged mother Marilyn, it’s goodbye college and hello racetrack.

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: The True Story of Three Men and a Racehorse

The well-known tale of another hard-luck horse who achieves greatness on the racetrack never fails to inspire me. Like Snowman, Seabiscuit is another American icon, beloved for his tenacity and drive to win in the years that bridge the Depression and lead up to World War II. Hillenbrand is rightly praised for her breathtaking, heart-pounding descriptions of the race around the track, but we’re rooting for both the horse and the jockey, Red Pollard….not to mention the trainer behind the scenes, Tom Smith. Both Seabiscuit and Pollard bring a lot of baggage to the stable. Each has self-destructive vices, temperamental issues, and a whole lot of physical challenges. For me, the beauty of this book goes beyond the finish line. It meticulously chronicles the intricate relationships that develop between man and horse as they work toward a common goal. By the end of the book, the inevitable win at Santa…

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seabiscuit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of Unbroken - a major motion picture releasing in 2015 - this is the bestselling true story of three men and their dreams for a racehorse, Seabiscuit.

In 1938 one figure received more press coverage than Mussolini, Hitler or Roosevelt. He was a cultural icon and a world-class athlete - and an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse by the name of Seabiscuit.

Misunderstood and mishandled, Seabiscuit had spent seasons floundering in the lowest ranks of racing until a chance meeting of three men. Together, they created a champion. This is a story which topped the bestseller charts for over…


Who am I?

I have a two-sided relationship with horses, which have been part of my life forever. True, I didn’t own a horse until I turned 40—the year I realized my parents really weren’t going to buy me that pony—but I went to plenty of horse-centered camps and continued lessons through college. I love riding, but I honestly believe I love simply being among horses more. I feel a magnetic pull from these magnificent animals every time I pass a paddock or pasture. Secretly, I believe that horses are far more in tune with life’s rhythms than we mere mortals will ever know. I feel honored to have known the ones who have been under my care.


I wrote...

Reining in Murder

By Leigh Hearon,

Book cover of Reining in Murder

What is my book about?

When horse trainer Annie Carson rescues a beautiful thoroughbred from a roadside rollover, she knows the horse is lucky to be alive…unlike the driver. After rehabilitating the injured animal at her Carson Stables ranch, Annie delivers the horse to Hilda Colbert—the thoroughbred's neurotic and controlling owner—only to find she's been permanently put out to pasture. Two deaths in three days is unheard of in the small Olympic Peninsula county, and Annie decides to start sniffing around. She's confident she can track down a killer…but she may not know how ruthless this killer really is…

Lord of Misrule

By Jaimy Gordon,

Book cover of Lord of Misrule

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.

Lord of Misrule

By Jaimy Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lord of Misrule as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the Orange Prize 2012. He planned to steal with these horses, who were all better than they looked on paper. The trick was to get in and get out fast. But could he really pull it off? Could he be that sure, could he count on being that lucky? Listen carefully my dear. Lord of Misrule, he whispered loudly. Lord of Misrule, Margaret. Memorize that name.

Who am I?

I saw my first horse before I could walk or talk – a humble mare with flies in her eyes and a feed basket tied to her nose. I was drawn to her with a magnetic force, and that attraction to horses never diminished. Over the years I’ve presided over their birth, raised them, and conditioned them to various disciplines. When it exists, the bond between horse and human is undeniable. In my novels—through family disfunction, hardship, adventure, and mystery – I explore how this connection gives young people confidence and the courage to overcome any obstacles.  


I wrote...

Jockey Girl

By Shelley Peterson,

Book cover of Jockey Girl

What is my book about?

Estranged from her classmates and unwanted at home, Evangeline Gibb feels alone in the world except for No Justice, a talented but difficult racehorse. All her life she’s believed that her mother is dead, but on her sixteenth birthday, a message from her Aunt turns her world upside down. To win enough money to find her mother and leave her father for good, Evie secretly enters No Justice in the Caledon Horse Race under the alias, Kazzam.

With help from Aunt Mary and a stray dog named Magpie, Evie unearths long-hidden family secrets, enters the underground world of drug addiction, defies her father, finds unexpected love, and takes the racing world by storm with single-minded determination.

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