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“Saddle Up” with these Horse Themed Books and Movies


“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.


Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.43.31 AMCrisis : 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?

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.43.25 AMThe 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.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.43.19 AMHalf 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.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.43.13 AMHorse: 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.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.43.07 AMThe 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.


Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.59 AMThe 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.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.53 AMKept 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.



Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.47 AMRiding 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. 

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.42 AMUnder 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.


Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.34 AMThe Age of the Horse: An Equine Journey Through Human Historyby Susanna Forrest

Combining fascinating anthropological detail and incisive personal anecdote, equestrian expert Forrest draws from an immense range of archival documents as well as literature and art to illustrate how our evolution has coincided with that of horses.  Forrest combines this history with her own experience in the field, and travels the world to offer a comprehensive look at the horse in our lives today: from Mongolia where she observes the endangered takhi, to a show-horse performance at the Palace of Versailles; from a polo club in Beijing to Arlington, Virginia, where veterans with PTSD are rehabilitated through interaction with horses.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.26 AMThe Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation

 by Elizabeth Letts

The dramatic and inspiring story of a man and his horse, an unlikely duo whose rise to stardom in the sport of show jumping captivated the nation.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.19 AMHorses for Dummies by Audrey Pavia

Gets beginning-level riders and aspiring first-time horse owners up to speed on all things equine! From selecting the right horse for you to feeding, grooming, and handling a horse, this book covers it all! Featuring updates on breeds, boarding, nutrition, equipment, training, and riding–as well as new information on various equine conditions.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.09 AMMy Year of the Racehorse: Falling in Love with the Sport of Kings by Kevin Chong

Chong has grand plans. He draws up a to-do list of major milestones that will give him the life he always wanted—and the life that will inspire awe and envy in his friends. Things like settling down and starting a family; learning a foreign language; getting a tattoo. But these grand plans go out the window when Chong makes an unconventional decision: he’s going to buy a racehorse. Not the whole thing—he’ll become part—owner of the horse. Just don’t ask him which part. Thus Chong meets Blackie, the racehorse that will win his heart, even if she doesn’t always win on the track.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.42.01 AMThe Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts

In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food. With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses.


Here are some popular horse movies and documentaries available in our DVD collection.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.51 AMHarry and Snowman

Dutch immigrant Harry deLeyer journeyed to the United States after World War II and developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck that was bound for the glue factory. Harry paid 80 dollars for the horse and named him Snowman, and in less than two years, the team went on to win the triple crown of show jumping, beating the nation’s top pedigree horses and wealthiest socialites.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.44 AMThe Horse Boy

Rupert Isaacson and wife Kristin Neff take their autistic son Rowan, who has developed a rapport with horses, to visit with the shamans of Inner Mongolia for treatment.



Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.38 AMThe Mustang 

The story of Roman Coleman, a violent convict, who is given a chance to take part in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs.


Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.33 AMSeabiscuit 

Set in the depression-era, Seabiscuit tells the true story of an undersized racehorse who inspired the nation. Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand.


Secretariat Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.28 AM

Behind every legend lies an impossible dream. Witness the spectacular journey of an incredible horse named Secretariat and the moving story of his unlikely owner, a housewife who risked everything to make him a champion.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.18 AMUnbranded: A Wild Mustang Expedition 

Sixteen wild horses, five states, four men and 3000 miles. The journey of a lifetime riding from Mexico to Canada through the deepest backcountry in the American West to see the remaining open spaces and prove the worth of 50,000 wild horses and burros currently in holding pens.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 10.41.12 AMWar Horse

This remarkable story explores the power of love and friendship between a man and his horse during a time of war. Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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