“Saddle Up” with these Horse Themed Books and Movies

Horses are a symbol of boundless physical strength and unrestrained freedom; they are perhaps the most beautiful and graceful animals on the planet. These living art forms have inspired artists and poets through the ages It is not only their majesty and strength that make them special creatures. They display a broad range of emotions.; whether they’re around humans or other horses, they are amazingly communicative and thrive in social settings. These qualities are part of the reason why horses can develop such a strong bond with humans.  Horses are known to have a relaxing and therapeutic effect on humans; equine assisted therapy is used to treat a variety of medical and mental health conditions with patients visiting ranches and stables to interact with these gentle giants.  Horseback riding, and associated sports have been popular since ancient times. The next best thing to riding one of these magnificent creatures is reading about them in books. Black Beauty is one of the bestselling books of all time and The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley has been cherished by readers of all ages for generations. Here are some equestrian themed reads, including fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks as well as DVDS all available in the Livingston Library’s collection.  Whether set in the fast paced world of thoroughbred horse racing or a quiet country ranch, they make the human horse connection very evident. Fiction Crisis : a Dick Francis novel by Felix Francis In this horse racing thriller, Harrison Foster, a crisis manager for a London firm, is summoned to Newmarket after a fire in the Chadwick Stables kills six very valuable horses, including the short-priced favorite for the Derby. There is far more to the “simple” fire than initially meets the eye…for a start, human remains are found among the equestrian ones in the burnt-out shell. All the stable staff are accounted for, so who is the mystery victim? Harry knows very little about horses, indeed he positively dislikes them, but he is thrust unwillingly into the world of thoroughbred racing, where the standard of care of the equine stars is far higher than that of the humans who attend to them. Can Harry solve the riddle before he is bumped off by the fallout? The Dark Side of Town by Sasscer Hill McKee, now officially employed by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TPRB), is sent undercover to Saratoga Racetrack to investigate Mars Pizutti, a racehorse trainer whose horses’ wins are suspiciously lucky–and lucrative. Fia’s bosses believe Pizutti’s success is based on illegal drugs and deceitful methods, and they want Fia to work inside his barn to ferret out the truth. But after witnessing the tragic and inexplicable suicide of a jockey, Fia discovers the rider’s death is only the tip on an iceberg. Half Broke: a memoir by Ginger Gaffney An alternative prison ranch in New Mexico conducts a daring experiment: setting the troubled residents out to retrain an aggressive herd of horses. The horses and prisoners both arrive at the ranch broken in one way or many- the horses often abandoned and suspicious, the residents, some battling drug and alcohol addiction, emotionally, physically, and financially shattered. Gaffney’s job is to retrain the untrainable. With time, the horses and residents form a profound bond, and teach each other patience, control, and trust. Horse: a novel by Talley English A novel about a girl on the cusp of her teenage years, who is growing up faster than she ever hoped she would. When Teagan’s father abruptly abandons his family and his farm, Teagan finds herself wading through the wreckage of what was once an idyllic life, searching for something–or someone–to hold on to. What she finds is Ian, short for Obsidian: the magnificent but dangerously headstrong horse her father left behind. But even as she grows close to Ian, patiently training him, trying to overcome her fear of him, Teagan is learning that life and love are fragile. The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes A novel about a lost girl and her horse, the enduring strength of friendship, and how even the smallest choices can change everything.   The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans His name is Tom Booker. His voice can calm wild horses, his touch can heal broken spirits. And Annie Graves has traveled across a continent to the Booker ranch in Montana, desperate to heal her injured daughter, the girl’s savage horse, and her own wounded heart. She comes for hope. She comes for her child. And beneath the wide Montana sky, she comes to him for what no one else can give her: a reason to believe. Kept Animals: a novel by Kate Milliken A bold, riveting debut novel of desire, betrayal, and loss, centering on three teenage girls, a horse ranch, and the accident that changes everything.     Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen As a world-class equestrian, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, her cherished horse. Twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father’s New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenage daughter to this place of pain and memory and hope.  Under Orders by Dick Francis Dick Francis is the undisputed master of crime thrillers set in the horse racing world.  Sid Halley, a former jockey who became a private investigator after being injured in a serious racing fall, now finds himself in even more danger off the track. After a day at the races that ends in three deaths, Sid ends up with a few too many jobs. Lord Enstone has asked him to find out why his horses keep losing, the father of the murdered jockey wants Sid to investigate his son’s death, and his part-time boss at the secretive Cabinet Office wants Sid to look into organized crime’s involvement with gaming centers and online betting. Nonfiction The Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey