Best books to buy for riders who aren’t still in Pony Club

There are dozens of reading options for pony-mad children. For horse-mad adults though, finding a well-written and thought-provoking read on the subject of horses can be a bit trickier. Never one to be defeated by a challenge, though, I have carefully hunted down and read various options and noted down my favourites. 

‘Horse people: Scenes from the riding life’ by Michael Korda

Korda astutely nails the descriptions of the various horsey people he has encountered throughout his life (both work life and personal life) with hilariously spot-on observations

of the US horsey world interspersed with moving descriptions of the sadder aspects it.  There are many stand out moments in this book – but the anecdote of the father who solves the issue of being unable to catch his tiny daughter’s pony by rugby tackling it was a particular highlight.

‘The fox in the cupboard’ by Jane Shilling

Journalist Jane Shilling’s writing style in this memoir of learning to ride and hunt later in life, is both as precise as you’d expect, yet roams as delightfully over the English countryside as the hunts she describes. There’s something here for those adults who want to learn to ride and for hunt enthusiasts, as she covers the history of various hunts between recounting with great self-deprecation her own attempts to be a better horsewoman.

‘My year with a horse: Feeling the fear but doing it anyway’ by Hazel Southam

Another memoir of a journalist taking up riding in later life and taking a part loan on a horse – but her story of doing this is intertwined with the story of her father’s dementia and the trauma of putting him into a care home. You’ll be hard pressed to not shed at least one tear over her experiences with the latter and share the feeling of warmth she has when she describes how riding Duke helps her through these times.

‘My animals and other family’ by Clare Balding

Clare Balding’s description of her childhood and time as a jockey are engagingly told through the framework of the various horses and dogs she owned during those years. It is impossible not to be charmed by Clare’s tales, have a good old laugh at the English country upbringing she had and root for her through the tough times at school and in achieving her jockey dreams.

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