Five great horse books that make a grand read, and a great gift


Here are my top five recommended books on horses.

I had in mind to wax a bit lyrical about these books but let’s just get to it. They are great. They are grand. They are each groundbreaking in their own way. They teach us. They exhilarate us. Buy these. Read these. Gift these. Oops. I did it anyway.

Here they are in alphabetical order. I couldn’t bring myself to rank them. All gems.

Last Chance Mustang — The Story of One Horse, One Horseman, and One Final Shot at Redemption
by Mitchell Bornstein

Last Chance Mustang is the story of Samson, a formerly free-roaming, still wild-at-heart American mustang that was plucked from his mountainous Nevada home and thrown into the domestic horse world where he was brutalized and victimized.

After years of abuse, Samson had evolved into a hateful and hated, maladjusted beast until the day he found his way to a rural Illinois farm, an ill-equipped owner, and one last chance.

Mitch Bornstein’s task was to tame the violent beast whose best defense had become offense. He had twenty years of experience fixing unfixable horses, but Samson would be his greatest challenge.

Through the pair’s many struggles and countless battles, Samson would teach Mitch about the true power of hope, friendship, redemption and the inspiring mettle of the forever wild and free American mustang. • Buy it now »

Riding Home — The Power of Horses to Heal
by Tim Hayes (Forward by Robert Redford)

This is the first and only book to scientifically and experientially explain why horses have the extraordinary ability to emotionally transform the lives of thousands of men, women and children, whether they are horse lovers, or suffering from deep psychological wounds.

It is a book for anyone who wants to experience the joy, wonder, self-awareness and peace of mind that comes from creating a horse/human relationship, and it puts forth and clarifies the principles of today’s Natural Horsemanship (or what was once referred to as “Horse Whispering”).

Horses help us discover hidden parts of ourselves, whether we’re seven or seventy. They model relationships that demonstrate acceptance, kindness, honesty, tolerance, patience, justice, compassion, and forgiveness. Horses cause all of us to become better people, better parents, better partners, and better friends.

A horse can be our greatest teacher, for horses have no egos, they never lie, they’re never wrong and they manifest unparalleled compassion. • Buy it now »

Saving Baby — How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption
by Jo Anne Normile and Lawrence Linder

Jo Anne Normile was not supposed to keep the foal, an exuberant Thoroughbred with only a few white hairs on his reddish-brown forehead. But she fell in love with the young horse, who had literally been born into her arms. The breeder finally said she could keep the colt, whom she nicknamed “Baby” – but only if she raced him.

Horseracing had always come across as a glamorous blend of mint juleps and celebrity, of equine grace and speed. But the magic that enchants is a veneer.

For every Seabiscuit, there are tens of thousands of racehorses whose lives end in pain and despair, with indifference and corruption that runs rampant through the world of horse racing. • Buy it now »

by Lauren Hillenbrand

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail.

Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon. Buy it now »

Sgt Reckless: America’s War Horse
by Robin Hutton

A Mongolian mare who was bred to be a racehorse, Ah-Chim-Hai, or Flame-of-the-Morning, belonged to a young boy named Kim-Huk-Moon. In order to pay for a prosthetic leg for his sister, Kim made the difficult decision to sell his beloved companion.

Lieutenant Eric Pedersen purchased the bodacious mare and renamed her Reckless, for the Recoilless Rifles Platoon, Anti-Tank Division, of the 5th Marines she’d be joining.

The four-legged equine braved minefields and hailing shrapnel to deliver ammunition to her division on the frontlines. In one day alone, performing fifty-one trips up and down treacherous terrain, covering a distance of over thirty-five miles, and rescuing wounded comrades-in-arms, Reckless demonstrated her steadfast devotion to the Marines who had become her herd.

Despite only measuring about thirteen hands high, this pint-sized equine became an American hero.

Reckless was awarded two Purple Hearts for her valor and was officially promoted to staff sergeant twice, a distinction never bestowed upon an animal before or since. • Buy it now »

Source: Book Descriptions Cover Images:


Remember the kids! How about this fab horse coloring book.
Remember the kids! How about this fab horse coloring book.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have a recommendation for kiddies too. A coloring book.

What memories horse coloring books evoke. Even though I could walk out my back door and be with real live horses, I used to love lying on the floor or on my bed and coloring them for hours. And the things I would imagine.

This one is particularly special because it is illustrated by John Green. Here’s what Amazon tells us about Mr. Green:

    “Illustrator John Green, a specialist in realistic depictions of animals, excels at drawing horses. This collection of his best equine images features draft animals as well as sporting creatures — thoroughbreds, mavericks, coach horses, show horses, polo ponies, and many other magnificent steeds. Informative captions offer accurate background information on each image.”

Fun and educational. • Get it here »

2 thoughts on “Five great horse books that make a grand read, and a great gift”

  1. We are so grateful to you Jo Anne, not only for all the horses you have saved and lives you have impacted in such a powerful and wonderful way, but also the work you continue to do.

    You are amazing. You truly are. And then to write such a fabulous book. You are a star and we are happy to put your book on this impressive list. I invite everyone to read every one of these books. You will be a better educated and therefore a stronger advocate for it. I grew up with horses and know them inside out, and I still find things to learn. And sometimes get reminded of things I had forgotten I knew!

    Happy Christmas and a bright New Year to you and yours.


  2. I am truly honored to have my book Saving Baby selected by The Horse Fund as one of their top five book gift choices. My book is my true love story about my horse “Baby” and so many other horses. A gift of Saving Baby to your compassionate friends and relatives is also giving the gift of life for other horses because a portion of every sale helps fund Saving Baby Equine Charity. My heartfelt gratitude to all on behalf of all of the equines who will benefit!

    Liked by 1 person

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