By Julia Baratta, Freelance Writer
Since the color tours are now happening all around the tri-state area, we all know that icy water troughs and snow-covered paths are next on the agenda. The perk to winter is the opportunity to appreciate the warmth the house provides after the chores are completed for the evening.
Along with that is the extra time for leisure activities such as reading. The following book titles are suggested for any horse lover and can also be shared as a read aloud during the coldest months of the year.
While there are a number of modern day series that are available, here are a few of the old classics which should be revisited. A perpetual favorite are the works of Marguerite Henry. Misty of Chincoteague and succeeding stories, Justin Morgan Had A Horse, King of the Wind, and Black Gold are among her numerous stories about horses. Many of her books are based on historical happenings and current day locations. Wesley Dennis is frequently the illustrator, adding to the volume.
An old favorite series is the Black Stallion books that were published in the 1940s and still impress readers today. The set begins with The Black Stallion, where Alex Ramsey survives a shipwreck and is on a deserted island with an unbroken, wild horse. The series follows Alex and Black as they travel the world and experiences their adventures through the pages of this old time classic written by Walter Farley.
An unfamiliar story to many is National Velvet by Enid Bagnold. Velvet Brown is fourteen and has big plans for a horse she won in a raffle...to win the Grand National, the world’s greatest steeplechase. Her goal is a difficult one but can be worked toward with dedication and lots of hard work. Her story continues in International Velvet.
Within the famous Little House on the Prairie books is the story dedicated to author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband Almanzo Wilder and his childhood years in the state of New York. If there was ever a boy who loved horses, it was Almanzo and his story is told in Farmer Boy. The readers feel a real kinship to him as the volume details his father’s farm and the importance of the horses to the operation. It also describes a young boy’s understanding of the fine animals his father produced and the training it took to gain the reputation the farm earned.
Last, but certainly not least, is the book that changed the public’s perception on the care of working carriage horses. Black Beauty was written by Anna Sewell during the 1870s and provided a voice for the animals that were being treated cruelly. The story is told from a horse’s perspective, beginning with his early years with his mother, continuing to the time when he became a carriage horse through unfortunate circumstances with abuses explained, and finishing with his retirement, completing the cycle for a horse during that time in history.
While these books are commonly found in the children’s department of a library or bookstore, they should be appreciated as quality literature for anyone who loves horses and enjoys a good book. So search for these titles, add them to your own collection or reading list, and live vicariously through the pages of these classic horse stories.