Don’t forget to scroll down into the comments to see more suggestions! We’ve got some good ones.
Every couple of years, I like to suggest horse stories for summer reads and list them according to equestrian discipline. This year, we’ve got both mysteries and western romance as well as a highly anticipated mainstream coming-of-age novel.
Also, I should add that I know most of these authors, either on a face2face basis or online via writer’s groups or social media. The only author I don’t know is Anton DiSclafani, but as Jack Palance says in the movie “City Slickers:” “The day ain’t over yet.” So to speak. 🙂
Let’s get to the books!
THE YONAHLOSSEE RIDING CAMP FOR GIRLS by Anton DiSclafani.
The boss mare of equestrian fiction this summer is this mainstream novel largely set at “an equestrian respite” for young southern debutantes in 1930. Fifteen-year-old Thea Atwell has been banished from her family’s Florida orange plantation to a secluded riding camp for girls in the North Carolina mountains. Thea thinks she’s only serving a summer-long sentence. Little does she know. The book features some thrilling descriptions of riding hell for leather over jumps. (I’ll also be reviewing this book separately soon because it’s receiving a lot of buzz, so y’all might be curious about various aspects of the novel. The book trailer embedded above is for DiSclafini’s book, just note that the cover in the video isn’t the cover you’ll see in stores.) DiSclafani was a serious rider back in the day, plus she’s returned to riding in midlife.
THE SEA HORSE TRADE by Sasscer Hill
The third installment of the Nikki Latrelle mystery series has Nikki riding and training at Florida’s Gulfstream Park. While walking to the track one pre-dawn morning, she sees a scantily clad young woman hurled from a black SUV and then shot dead in the street. Besides the police fallout from reporting that incident, as you see in The Sea Horse Trade book trailer, Nikki has a distraught friend and a new dangerous, studdish colt on her string. Hill is a former Maryland thoroughbred breeder, steeplechase jockey and trainer.
OTHER PEOPLE’S HORSES by Natalie Keller Reinert
The sequel to the Alex and Alexander book THE HEAD AND NOT THE HEART is mainstream fiction about a husband and wife training stable. Alexander goes abroad, so Alex takes their race string up to Saratoga Springs to receive a mixed reception from neighbors in the backstretch more accustomed to dealing with Alexander. She’s also wrangling their staff and, if that’s not enough, finds herself drawn to a troubled filly she’s certain she can fix, if only she owned her. Reinert has showed, jumped and galloped horses at Aqueduct. She also writes reviews for Dappled Grey equestrian lifestyles blog, like this one for the above-mentioned DiSclafani novel book.
BUSHWHACKED by Susan Schreyer
The fourth installment of the Thea Campbell dressage and paleontology mysteries turns up an old human skeleton in Thea’s yard. The discovery not only opens up a cold case but works her neighbors up in a lather, everything from holding a seance to digging for pirate treasure in her backyard. Thea’s trusty dressage horse Blackie is so connected to her that he senses when she’s in danger. Schreyer is a horse trainer and riding instructor in the Pacific Northwest.
Cowboys & cowgirls
SUMMER AT MUSTANG RIDGE by Jesse Hayworth
A divorced mom takes her troubled but horse-worshipping 9-year-old daughter along on a summer job in Colorado in the kitchen at the family-run Mustang Ridge Dude Ranch. Just their luck, they arrive during singles week. A handsome wrangler more comfortable around horses is a mite perturbed with the eligible female guests assuming his company is among the ranch’s amenities. However, he and mom meet because of a horse, so romantic sparks fly. Hayworth is a horse trainer, a former riding instructor, farmer and a scientist.
ONCE TEMPTED by Laura Moore
The author of the Virginia hunt country-based Rosewood trilogy goes West to California for a new romance series at the luxurious, family-run Silver Creek Ranch resort. A young New York widow ready for a fresh start points at a spot on the map as her destination and finds a job as an Events Coordinator at the busy resort. The cowboy who’s the go-to guy at the ranch is too busy to fall in love: besides he’s sworn off love anyway. However, this new woman just hired at the ranch lingers on his mind more than he’d like. Moore rode seriously back in the day and has worked in stables.
Looking for more horse stories?
Don’t miss our Equestrian Beach Reads for 2011. Those books are still out there. Some are previous books of the authors mentioned above.
Odds are, with the exception of Yonahlassee and the romances I mentioned, you won’t find horse stories at your local big box store or your local tack shop. However, over on Amazon, look up any one of the books listed above and Amazon will give you other recommendations toward the bottom of the page. If you’d prefer to support your local independent bookstore, do the opposing of “show-rooming” — find your book on Amazon and then order it from your favorite independent bookseller. These days, many horse stories for adults are published by very small presses or are self-published.
Do you have a favorite new horse story that just came out? Add the title and the author’s name to the comments section below. The last time I ran one of these lists, the post attracted the attention of another blogger, so you never know who’s out there reading this blog.
Note for my RSS subscribers – You probably noticed I didn’t give you the link to the book trailer up at the top of this blog post. My apologies. Google+, HayNet and other social media platforms automatically pull the first sentence of each article linked. I needed something more interesting and hook-worthy than, “If you can’t see the above-embedded video … .” See what I mean? It’s practical but blah. Thank you for your patience. I’m ever so grateful for your readership.