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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, Rambling, and Good Books

Ok folks, not my usual Friday post, but I haven't really had time to come up with anything. Send me your favorite tack makers, dealers, designers, etc. I need ideas!

I will be out of town next week, so no posts. Sorry, we don't have the interwebs at Gulf Wars. (And even if we did, I would NOT have time to post.)

Today I want to tell you about some of my favorite horse books. We have probably all read the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Who didn't grow up wanting that giant black Arabian stallion (part of me still does)? If you haven't read them, do. Even if you are an adult.

I also am a huge fan of Dorothy Lyons books. I collect antique books and have several of hers. I love Silver Birch, Midnight Moon, and Golden Sovereign. She is a wonderful, light hearted writer and her books are a fun read.

I also like a book called Frog, the Horse that Knew No Master by Sterner Meeks. Here is a summary complements of; Frog, an outlaw horse who can be ridden only by force, meets his match when Lieutenant Scott arrives at the army post of Empire, Canal Zone, and takes over his training. His eventual conquest by kindness and the resulting affection between the horse and his master make a tale that will touch the heart of every lover of horses. The story is full of action.

Another good one is The Sorrel Stallion by David Grew. It is the story of a colt growing up in the west, his trials and his homecoming.

On the fantasy horse book front, there are several I like. The Airs Beneath the Moon and the two sequels are good. Written by Toby Bishiop. I found this review on Amazon... Larkyn Hamley, a 14-year-old farm girl with a special affinity for animals, finds a lost, starving, pregnant mare and cares for her. The mare dies giving birth to a colt that, much to Lark's surprise, has wings. She lovingly cares for him, and he bonds with her. A bond with a winged horse is for life, and when Horsemistress Philippa Winter arrives for the colt, she realizes she must take Lark, too, to the Academy of the Air, which trains winged foals and their riders-to-be. There Lark faces snobbery and hostility on the part of young women of noble birth, and she runs afoul of the devious plans of the power-hungry, sadistic eldest son of the dying duke, owner and protector of the birth lines of the winged horses. Bishop enables us to visualize the horses in solo flight and complicated formations, scenes at the academy are utterly real, and the characters have dimension.

One that I have read recently is Protector of the Flight by Robin Owens. I thought it was decent, there is some Parelli-esque training stuff in there, but otherwise ok. It is acutally part of a series, but read well as a stand-alone. Here is a summary... Crippled, self-doubting ex-rodeo rider and horse trainer Calli Torcher is summoned from Colorado to Lladrana, a medieval French society on a magical parallel Earth, to assist in a dangerous fight against evil. There she meets two other Colorado women, Marian Dumont and Alexa Fitzwalter, known as Exotiques, who have risen to positions of power. After a spell heals Calli, she learns that she's needed to help train the flying horses—volarans—and the Chevaliers, their riders, who form the front lines against evil demons from the north. Calli must also choose a mate, so she bonds with the skilled warrior Marrec, with whom she fashions a life and family.

And of course, I would be remiss in leaving out the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar books. They contain numerous equine characters known as Companions. These magical beings are powerful, intelligent and fascinating. I absolutely love her books.

Check some of these out from your library and hopefully they will help tide you over until I get back in a week or so with more Tacky Tack!!


  1. Anything by Marguerite Henry has to be on my list, especially King Of The Wind.

    Dick Francis, Walter Farley.....

    I found a book from my childhood not to many years ago.....Sand Dune Pony by Troy Nesbit. Arabian Cow Horse by John Richard Young. Still thundering good reads.
    This is a great time to ask if anyone recognizes this book. I have been looking for a long LONG time for it. It was in our school *library* (Yes, I went to one of those one room schools with outhouses. Our library was 4 shelves at the back of the room. Half of that was taken up by a couple dictionaries and a set of encyclopedias....LOL)).

    The horse's name was Pidge. Her girl was growing very unhappy with her because all her friends had sleek hunter ponies, and Pidge was just an ordinary stumpy little shetland.
    One day, Pidge disappears, and as they search for her, the girl realizes how really great Pidge is.
    They finally get a call from a nearby farm, rush over there, only to discover that Pidge had been taken there (by her father) to foal out.
    At her side is the girl's future dream horse.

  2. Of course! I forgot about Marguerite Henry! Silly me, all of those books are in storage, which explains the forgetfulness.

  3. I don't know whether these books got as far as you guys but I love the Jinny and Shantih books by Patricia Leitch. They are about a girl who moves to Scotland and rescues a wild chestnut arab mare after a circus truck crashes and the horse escapes onto the moors.
    There are 12 books in the series (I am yet to get my hands on the rare no. 12), and I thought they were a really good read. the 1st book is still my favourite though.

  4. I am so jealous!!! I've heard about the Gulf Wars! Have a great time.

    I think the Horse Guild is doing Summer in Sherwood sometime in June with the SCA. I've never been to an event with the SCA, only Markland.

    As far as books, I loved all the Marguerite Henry books, all the C.W. Anderson books, every single one of the Black Stallion series. I also read Sand Dune Pony and loved it. I read every book about horses in all three of my school libraries. And then hit the city library too.

    One of my favorite modern books was by Rashid, A Good Horse Is Never a Bad Color. I also have a very good book about the history of saddles and tack, I can't remember the title, that I occasionally pull out and use as a reference guide.

  5. Speaking of fantasy books, have you ever read The Heavenly Horse From the Outer Most West? And Summer Of The Unicorn. They were both fun fantasy books. In the first, the horses did the talking from their fantasy world away from humans.

  6. Toby Bishop's winged horses of Oc series is pretty good too.

  7. Yes dear, I mentioned those.

    I have read the Heavenly Horse series and like them. I just forgot to mention them.

  8. Oh my, someone else who read Frog! I read that as a child but have never found anyone else who did. I read all the Farley books & Henry books, of course, as well as anything else I could get my hands on. Did Dorothy Lyons write Harlequin Hullabaloo about a pinto Saddlebred? Anyone else read it? I read so many horse books I cannot possibly recall them all.
    As an adult (alleged adult) I love the Lackey Valdemar series. When Piers Anthony does have a horse in his books, he does it well.
    I had better shut up before this gets longer.

  9. Not yet mentioned, but not to be missed: The Mountain's Call, Song of Unmaking and Shattered Dance. An alt-history Roman Empire with the Spanish Riding School as wizards.

  10. "I don't know whether these books got as far as you guys but I love the Jinny and Shantih books by Patricia Leitch." Oh! I only read the first one... it was was great, and realistic.

    I also loved "Tangles," by a Swedish writer.

    And Lynn Hall books!! My favorite was Tin Can Tucker, about a 16-yr-old girl who runs away from a group home and fortunately hooks up with a rodeo clown and his wife, who become her surrogate parents, and the washed out bucking mare she retrains for barrels. It's just plausible enough, and is one of those books that empower a teenage heart.

    Of course, Marguerite Henry. And School for Young Riders, by Jane Marshall Dillon, though not really fiction, CHANGED MY LIFE. I go a peek into a world of serious young riders whose instructors gave them a most amazing foundation in the horse world.

    The Horse and His Boy is still one of my favorite Narnia books.

    I used to love Mercedes Lackey, but she's really gone downhill since the Vanyel books. I could edit out at least 1/3 of each novel.

    Afraid To Ride by CW Anderson is a GREAT book about overcoming fear through extending compassion. The pictures are, of course, beautiful.

    I think my absloutemostfavoritist horse novel is "A Horse Like Mr. Ragman," featuring a lot of quirky Southern characters, and a great lesson about what REALLY matters. It's also pretty funny.

  11. OH!!! Don't forget Sam Savitt, either!!!

    And The Color of Horses by Ben Green is a great exploration of the topic, written before DNA stuff sparked the Krazy Kolor Breeder phenomenon.

    Smokey the Cow Horse.

    My Friend Flicka!!! That one ALSO has a great message about family, maturity and critical thinking. The recent Flicka movie looks pretty horrible, though.

    The Fury books... and any books featuring ranch kids who were homeschooled or rode horses to school because they lived on gigantic spreads. I could only DREAM. ; )

    The Last Unicorn is heartbreakingly beautiful, and really a fine piece of literature.

    As an awkward teen, I enjoyed Sun Dust: Devil Horse.

    Anything by Jean Slaughter Doty and Jesse Haas.

    I also read one of Rita Mae Brown's mysteries set in hunt country, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've always been fascinated by that subculture, and have had VERY little exposure to it. Plus, the animals are hilarious.

  12. Misty was the only one I rememer reading and I loved it! Black Stallion was great, Flicka was good, never got around to Blackjack.
    You're forgetting the best horsey fantasy evar! Firebringer!!

  13. I have Frog on my bookshelf still. Love the book and the cover. I also have lots of Billy and Blaze books plus How to draw horses books by Sam Savitt

  14. I read this book in elementary school - could not remember the name of it when I posted earlier so I had to email a friend who also read it and ask if she could remember the name - Fly By Night. Loved this book.
    Did anyone in here ever watch the Follyfoot Farm series on BBC growing up? I loved that show.

  15. "Doodlebug" by Irene Brady. Love, love love, that little book. The girl buys a poor injured shaggy pony at an auction- just before the meat buyer gets him. As the family bring him back to health it turns out that he's a beautiful little trotter... but there's a problem with his former career before they get to a happy ending! The illustrations are gorgeous. I also loved that book because the kid wears her hair in two braids, like I did, and her dad drives a beat up old pickup and has a big bushy beard, like mine! I could relate to that book!

    "The Pony Problem" by Barbara Holland. She wins a pony in a contest! yay! BUT she lives in a subdivision. HIlarity ensues. Now that I'm all growed up, I appreciate some of the heavier aspects of the story. It's just so well written.

    I have a whole shelf of awesome horse books from my childhood (many mentioned above) but those two are my all time favourites.

    I only own four or five Black Stallion books. They both enchanted me and frustrated me. Growing up with two ponies made me extremely jaded, at a very young age, about the harsh realities of life with horses! I still get out of joint about how unrealistic horse books for kids are, and one of these days I'll write my own book about a kid who keeps getting bucked off or has a horse who keeps choosing a field of grass over an hour of work! Oh I'm such a grump!!!!

  16. "fly by Night" - I read that too! The rest of that series dealt with heavy-duty teenage problems, as well as the horses.

    "Doodlebug" is so cute! Yes!!! And "The Pony Problem" is good, but serious. I could point to it as an example of why I NEVER EVER want to live in a subdivision of identical taupe houses... all made out of ticky-tacky. ;)

    The Black Stallion books ... I loved them dearly, but even *I* noticed that Walter Farley tried to "do" a genre-a-book. Mystery, romance, sci fi, amnesia... um... how many plane crashes did Alec and the Black live through??? Of course the ultimate wish fulfillment came when the Black and Flame did a match race....

    OK I should shut up, but I love horse books SO MUCH. There are a lot of crappy ones out there, but some shining examples of literature, too.

    I think it's time to introduce my toddler to Billy & Blaze.

  17. cattypex said Jean Slaughter Doty. OMG, Summer Pony CHANGED MY LIFE as a little girl. I own spotted horses because of that book. My dream horse was a black and white mare with two blue eyes, and I owned her for 5 years.

    Here are my suggestions for everyone. I can always find these at used book stores for VERY little money!

    Children's books that I still read over and over and over:
    Summer Pony and Winter Pony by Jean Slaughter Doty (I STILL have my original copy of Summer Pony. I only found out about Winter Pony because I found it at a used bookstore a few years ago.)

    The Pony That Nobody Wanted by Lurlene McDaniel. About a girl who gets her city parents to buy her a BLM mustang which she gentles using the methods that we all see are the RIGHT way to do things now. They go on to do barrel racing. I remember recalling that book when my husband told me about how he gentled a horse that had never been touched when it was a foal. He used the same methods the girl used in this book, and just did it out of instinct.

    Casey the Utterly Impossible Horse by Anita MacRae Feagles and Dahmar Wilson. Casey can TALK, but only to kids, of course!!! But he's definitely impossible. He likes to wear pyjamas and hats.

    A Horse of Her Own by Selma Hudnut. There are a lot of books with this title, but this one is the one I read as a kid. It always makes my heart sing, and I LOVE the horses in it. It's partially a rescue story too. Here's a link to a blog about it: A Horse of Her Own

    Young Adult books:
    The Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce. UNICORNS UNICORNS UNICORNS!!!! As a kid, unicorns were my favorite animal, so this book satisfied everything I ever dreamed of. No humans, just unicorns and other fantasy creatures. It is about a herd of unicorns (a very colorful herd, I might add) who are awaiting the birth of the Firebringer, who will be their savior and herd sire. Just now I looked up the title and discovered this is a trilogy, so now I have to go find the other two books! Click here for info.


    For the Tennessee Walking Horse
    When the Painted Horse Comes
    The Murder of the English Language

  18. There's also The sleep ponies which is the sweetest book. And don't forget the Phantom Stallion and now Wild Horse Island by Terri Farley
    And right now one of my favorites is actually a series of romance books and the heros are centuars MMMM But since I'm not sure of the age here I won't post the names. Of course walter farley and Maurgret Henry were my favorites as a kid. And I've read the summoner books and their pretty good. Danny the champion pony was pretty good and they made a movie out of it years and years ago, I loved the Sliver Stallion movie based on the book I think? The Firebringer Trilogy was of course great there's a few others that I can't remember right now once I think of them I post them.

  19. I don't know if there's any other Brits here, but I strongly recommend Pony Madness by Rita Lyttle. It starts with three girls and their mother having to leave London because the money's out and move to a much cheaper house in the country. Natch, their idea of "cheap" is a bit different from mine, and the house turns out to be an old farm with a paddock. So they have enough room for horses now, but not enough money... An interesting and quite original plot develops. What I particularly like about it is the lack of jolly-hockey-sticksness; even people who hate pony books read my copy and enjoyed it.

    Casey The Impossible Horse was just bonkers. XD And curse you, DigitSis - I've got the "Grow, grow, the Lightning Tree" song stuck in my head now.