Equestrian Beach Reads, Summer 2011

Photo taken at an equine bookseller booth at 2009 Massachusetts Equine Affaire/Photo by Rhonda Lane

Here is an Equestrian Beach Reads list. All the books listed are available as both ebooks and in print. I’ve also organized them by the featured equestrian activity.

I don’t consider the list comprehensive. I should also mention that I know several of these authors and consider them friends.

So, in no particular order, although I’ve indicated the book’s featured equestrian sport, here we go ….


Horse-lover Eleanor Sullo’s HURDLES is one of the Menopause Murders series, in which a group of menopausal friends get to the bottom of some very shady doings. HURDLES involves a murdered horse trainer and a haunted house on the Devon coast of England. For more about HURDLES and the other two books in the Menopause Murders mystery series check out Ellie’s web page about the books.


Real-life dressage instructor Susan Schreyer’s mystery series takes on dressage and eventually geology.  Her first book in her Thea Campbell series DEATH BY A DARK HORSE starts out with Thea’s beloved horse missing and a dressage diva dead. Come on – tell me you haven’t thought dark thoughts about your local dressage queen. 😉 Susan’s second book LEVEL OF DECEPTION is about digging around in the ground. If I say much more, I’ll blurt out a spoiler, but it has to do with a man, too. Check out Susan’s site with first chapters for your enjoyment and consideration. (She does blab the spoiler, but I’m leaving that up to her.)

Thoroughbred horse racing (racing on the flat)

Maryland thoroughbred breeder and former steeplechase jock Sasscer Hill’s FULL MORTALITY recently received  an Agatha Award nomination for best first novel of traditional mystery. Maryland-based jockey Nikki Latrelle is on the verge of riding her first real contender when the horse turns up dead – and Nikki’s banished from the track as the suspected culprit.

While we wait for the second book in the series, we can read Sasscer’s short stories, including “Venomous.” the only one available for free online with her other recurring character new widow and new racehorse owner Janet Simpson.

Thoroughbred breeding (hunter/jumpers)

Are you less into murder mysteries and more into the mysteries of the human heart? Two books of Laura Moore’s romantic Rosewood Trilogy REMEMBER ME and BELIEVE IN ME are available. The stories revolve around a family-owned legendary hunter/jumper farm in northern Virginia. The series is a trilogy because three sisters are involved. Get it? 😉

Each sister stars in a book. In the award-winning REMEMBER ME, the runaway sister found fame and fortune as a supermodel returns to run the farm she loves but left and the horse trainer she left behind.  This first book won the 2011 Winter Rose Award for Excellence in Romantic Fiction. The second book BELIEVE IN ME is about the married sister who isn’t anymore. The third book centering on the youngest sister titled TROUBLE ME comes out in January 2012.


THE EIGHTY-DOLLAR CHAMPION, a non-fiction bio, by horse trainers Elizabeth Letts and Harry de Leyer won’t be out until later this summer. The title character in this non-fiction book is Snowman, the former plow horse literally plucked from the kill truck to later rock the show jumping world in the 1950s and ’60s. Letts’s co-author de Leyer was Snowman’s talent scout, whose eye for horses and kind heart rewarded him.

I got a little taste on Memorial Day weekend with an excerpt available as a freebie at a writer’s workshop in NYC. I read the initial chapters while on the train home only to fight tears throughout then gnash my teeth in frustration when the excerpt left me on a hook. (An “atta girl” to the author, BTW. Now I’m dying to read the rest.) Here’s a link to the Facebook page for Eighty Dollar Champion, so you can keep up on the news regarding the book’s August release. And here’s an excerpt, a partial bit of what I read in the printout on the train.

Western – and more!

And don’t forget to check out the authors on the Equestrian Ink blog. Seriously, click on the Equestrian Ink link, scroll down the page and glance through the right-hand column.

You’ll find books for youth by Alison Hart and Linda Benson. Equine vet Laura Crum steers cowgirl equine vet Gail McCarthy through her mystery series. Francesca Prescott and Jami Davenport write women’s fiction, saucy stuff, according to the cover design.

What horse books can you recommend as good summer reading? Please leave your suggestions in the Reply section below.

Before I forget … down below here is a fun graphic technically called an “affiliate link,” through which – if you click through and shop – I get a little commission. I just like to click on the arrows to watch it spin. FYI, I also think independent bookstores are vital to the literary community, so I’d be delighted if you’d prefer to shop at your local indie store. To find one of those plucky indie stores near you, go over to the right hand columns and find the search box thingy for Indie Bound. Anyway, buying anything here through any link I might happen to provide is never expected.





  • Kasey
    June 14, 2011

    I suggest reading Riding Lessons and Flying Changes by Sara Greun, in that order. They are written by Sara Gruen who is also the author of Water for Elephants, and best seller and now a major motion picture. These stories are so good and fit into the genre of Hunter/Jumper/Dressage. They are about Anna Marie Zimmerman who was the owner of a tiger striped horse that she was involved in a jumping accident with. The book follows her troubles with the accident, love and being a mother of a teenage daughter. I ride western and I LOVED these books! Greun is an amazing writer!

    • Rhonda Lane
      June 14, 2011

      Hi, Kasey – Thank you for stopping by. And thank you for those fanTAStic additions. I read RIDING LESSONS and have FLYING CHANGES here waiting, like I’m saving it for a “special occasion” or some such. (Anyone else do that? You get a book, know it’ll be good and then hang on to it? What’s up with that??) Anyway, I enjoyed RIDING LESSONS and got deeply wrapped up in her world. GREAT suggestion!

  • Dexter Grass
    June 14, 2011

    Several British authors I enjoy, whose books involve horses–Lyndon Stacey, she writes mysteries with horses as the theme. Jenny Pittman was a successful race trainer, and her novels are very enjoyable. And of course, you can NEVER go wrong with Jilly Cooper another fabulous British author.

    • Rhonda Lane
      June 14, 2011

      Ooh, wonderful suggestions, Dexter Grass. Fabulous! My goodness, where did I leave my Nook? 😉 Thanks for stopping by and chiming in.

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