What constitutes a horse book for grown-ups? That is a really good question. I want to say that the characters are mostly grown-ups. Right? Maybe. The types of books may include fact, fiction, memoir, and fantasy. I have an eclectic list of books that I consider horse books for grownups. I must admit, I have never met a horse story I didn’t like. On the other hand, not all horse books embody the philosophy of what I consider right relationship. I think right relationship has been covered pretty thoroughly in other Heart of a Horsewoman blog entries. If you are curious about right relationship in the Horse/Human partnership, please read deeper into the blog. Or read:
From the Heart of a Horsewoman, Horse—A Bridge between Spirit and Matter by Lynnea Paxton-Honn, available from Amazon in e-book, paperback, and Kindle Unlimited August 2020. In this book I share my search for the depth of the Horse/Human relationship through pondering, poetry, and study of the multifaceted interactions that bring such wonderful satisfaction to the mind, body, and soul. I explore practical and spiritual aspects of this amazing interspecies entanglement. It is my point of view that Horse is a bridge between matter and spirit if we are open to that journey. It is my intention to share what that paradigm means to me.
How do I narrow the endless list of books that entertain, instruct, light my imagination, and pull me into the experience of the story? That is the conundrum. There are two that stand out for me, two that have a special place on my horse bookshelf, two that I give away and have to replace. I always keep two copies of these books, one for me and one for you.
1. Black Beauty by Anne Sewell—I know this seems a children’s book, but at the time it was written, it was a social commentary on the plight of the horse as servant and slave. Its message is timeless, a horse book for all generations, a study in respect for life in all its forms.
2. Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley—I cannot talk to this book any better than the dust jacket description: “ ‘It’s not true,’ says a character in Jane Smiley’s passionate, and brilliant new novel of horse racing, ‘that anything can happen at the racetrack’ but many astonishing and affecting things do—and in Horse Heaven, we find them woven into a marvelous tapestry of joy and love, chicanery, folly, greed, and derring-do… The strange, compelling, sparkling, and mysterious universe of horse racing that has fascinated generations of punters and robber barons, horse-lovers and wits, has never before been depicted with such verve and originality, and, above all, such sheer exuberance.”
There they are—my top two favorites. What are yours?
Do you want a print copy of From the Heart of a Horsewoman at it’s lowest price? This is the place to pre-order your very own copy today for only $10! Each copy comes signed. If you are local, we will meet up for you to receive your copy whether at a book signing or special arrangements. If you don’t live locally, I can ship you your signed copy of From the Heart of a Horsewoman for only $5!
Go to the link to preorder. I hope this works. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYCDsOUQuorBqL7SAVQYgpUmUmxVBnzaMB5WpHtd26dfOaLw/viewform?embedded=true
Here are a few other favorites:
3. Drinkers of the Wind by Carl A Raswan—It has been over twenty-five years since I read this book. I perused the dust cover and then opened the book to a random page and started reading:
“The Amarat killed a number of their young camels for a joint feast, and provided for our horses every drop of camel milk from their huge flock, even depriving the suckling foals of milk that night—a generous gift that proved to be the saving of our horses. Indeed, the Amarat were a Godsent miracle in the wilderness of the reaches of Wadi Khadaf. With new strength our horses followed in the wake of the camels. All that day we crossed a plain, until finally, toward afternoon, we reached the uprising center of Kirban. Would this be the land of death, my companions wondered? Would our graves be here?”
Drinkers of the Wind is a true story of the author’s passion, from boyhood, for the Arabian horse. Though published in 1942, it is about Raswan’s first “romantic” journey to Arabia where, in searching for the pedigree of purity in the legendary Arabian horse, he lived with the nomadic Bedouins as one of them in the early years of the 20th century. A beautiful read for lovers of horses of any breed.
4. The Last of The Saddle Tramps by Messanie Wilkins and Mina Titus Sawyer—This is the warm and humorous story of 63-year-old Messanie who traveled on horseback, accompanied by her little dog, all the way from Maine to California. Her doctor had told her she had two to four years to live, she was losing her family home, so she decided to follow her mother’s dream of going to California. She bought a good gelding, Tarzan, from a riding academy and splurged on a sixty-cent diary. She tied everything she thought she would need with string to an artillery saddle that made her feel young and set off on a November day with her dog, Depeche Toi. Twenty-five months later, her journey ended. This book is a gem. It is another one that I have had to replace.
There is a Facebook group calling itself “Horse Books for Grown-ups.” No, I didn’t copy the title. I started this blog last year and got side-tracked. The “shelter-in-place” mandate sent me looking for new reading material. The page has recommendations for many titles from people just like us. It also has authors’ promoting their horse books. I am not a fan of the romance genre, and many of these reads are romance stories with horses as the background subject. But some of these new titles are really good horse stories with horses as the main subject and romance in the background. I especially appreciated two: Mutedby Leanne Owens, and The Hidden Horses ofNew Yorkby Natalie Keller Reinert.
5. Mutedby Leanne Owens—More than a horse book! My mind is still pulsing from the experience this book drew me into. The plot is intricately woven with twists and turns that are always at the right place. This is a horse book for grown-ups. The topics are current and ageless; good vs evil, compassion vs greed, and the delicate dance of the horse/human relationship. It is a story of tragedy and transformation. The this is an intelligent, compassionate portrayal knowledgeably written. GREAT Story. Horse whisperer vs giant pharmaceutical conglomerate is the basic premise. I would almost think that Leanne Owens is a channel for the Min Min, a local mysterious and mystical light phenomenon native to her home area of Australia, because this story is so provocative. The prologue is heart-wrenching. One reviewer on Amazon did not finish the book because of it. The author is sharing the reality of the severe challenges the Australian Outback throws at us puny humans. It is not necessary to read the prologue to fully enjoy the story. It does, however, lay the ground for understanding the journey of Lane Dimity, Outback horseman and powerful social media personality. Go for the ride of a lifetime—read Muted.
6. The Hidden Horses of New York by Natalie Keller Reinert—Ms. Reinert writes with an intimate knowingness of horses. Her descriptions are intricate, tender, compassionate, and dynamic. Who knew there were so many horses in the city of New York? We know about the racehorses, mounted patrol horses, and carriage horses. There are also therapeutic riding horses, school horses, and docent horses. There is a setting on city property where horses are housed very comfortably in shipping containers. This is a place where rescued Thoroughbreds are housed until they find their forever homes, along with those die-hard horse-lovers whose finances don’t allow for the bigger barns. I loved Ms. Reinert sympathetic portrayal of all of New York’s horse denizens. I had a problem with the stilted romance theme that loosely and haphazardly wove its way around the horse stories. I did say I am not into the romance genre, didn’t I? Natalie Keller Reinert is obviously a horsewoman, heart and soul. I recommend the book.
There are too many horse books to share. This blog is Part One and will be continued when From the Heart of a Horsewoman is available for sale on Amazon so that you can add it to your collection. Be sure to check out “Horse Books for Grown-ups” on FaceBook.
Happy Reading, Lynnea