Sunshine has been into all things horse for the past year (or more). She loves reading all the horse books she can find, either on our bookshelves or at the library. I remember my friends and I going through a similar horse crazy phase when we were kids, though for some of us, it lasted longer than others. If you have a horse crazy girl in your house, here’s a list of books (and movies) about girls and horses that are sure to keep her happy (and reading!) this summer.
Blue Ribbon Trail Ride is the fourth book in the Horses and Friends series by Miralee Ferrell. In this book, 13-year-old Katie Ferris decides to host a horse scavenger hunt to raise money to send her autistic younger brother to camp.
Flicka starring Tim McGraw
Based on the book, Flicka stars Tim McGraw as the old-fashioned cowboy who just can’t understand his daughter. But Katy shares his love for the ranch and wild horses, if only she can get her dad to see past her academic shortfalls and trust her to train Flicka. (The book is also good, but features a boy as a main character and a few other plot differences.)
Misty of Chincoteague and Stormy, Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry
I read and loved these classic stories as a child. Both books are about a brother and sister who live on the island of Chincoteague and are fascinated by the wild horses living on the nearby island of Assateague. The children set out to capture one of the legendary mares on the island. Margeurite Henry is the author of many more horse books, including Justin Morgan Had a Horse and Brighty of the Grand Canyon (about a donkey instead of a horse, but still one of my favourite books). Most of her novels are based on true stories.
Ponies of Chincoteague Collection by Catherine Hapka
Girls who loved Margeurite Henry’s Chincoteague will love reading more about the Island and the horses there in the Ponies of Chincoteague books. The books feature four friends and their equestrian adventures. Sunshine has read the entire series and says she liked them because they were about ponies and girls.
The Saddle Club books by Bonnie Bryant
This is another series of books that goes back to my own horse crazy days. I dreamed of learning to ride like Stevie, Lisa and Carol, and yearned for friendships like they enjoyed with each other. Horse Crazy is the aptly-named first book in the series, introducing us to long-time friends Stevie and Carol, and to newcomer Lisa. The books follow their ups and downs in friendship and riding lessons. The Saddle Club books have also been adapted into a TV series (which I haven’t seen).
Black Pearl Ponies by Jenny Oldfield
This is a series Sunshine discovered at our library, and now searches for every time we return. Keira lives on a horse ranch and each book features the story of a different pony. In Red Star, her favourite pony goes missing. In Stormcloud, Keira tries to re-train an ex-rodeo horse. In Snickers, Keira has to decide whether to stand up to a boy who is mistreating his horse.
A Sunday Horse has all the elements of a good movie. It’s an underdog story about a girl with no money growing up to compete in a wealthy sport. It’s also the story of a girl and her horse, and the way a special animal friend can inspire us to chase our dreams. Finally, A Sunday Horse brings up the issue of discrimination and shows that race and gender are no basis for success. (I recommend previewing this movie before watching it with your daughter, as there is some bad language.)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
No book of horse stories would be complete without this classic. Black Beauty is the story of a horse, from the horse’s point of view, as he grows from a colt by his mother’s side to an old horse in retirement. There are happy moments in the story, as Black Beauty makes friends with other horses and is well-treated by his owners; and there are darker moments in the story, as Anna Sewell shows how badly horses could be treated in the 19th century.
If your child isn’t ready for the original classic, pick up an abridged version for younger readers. (I still have the abridged version that I first read as a girl.) Black Beauty has also been adapted into a movie (which we’ve watched with our girls) starring Sean Bean, Alan Cumming, and David Thewlis.
Is there a horse crazy girl in your household? What are her favourite horse books and movies?