Today, Trafalgar Square Books is hosting a day dedicated to horses on the page, and we are launching our first literary roundup to celebrate.
After hosting the HN Reads web series for the past two years, I discovered that the world of horse books is much more diverse and expansive than I ever thought possible. So many great horse books come out every year that it seemed a shame to only cover 12.
So not only have we moved HN Reads to a Podcast format (launches Friday!) so that readers can add more horse-themed books to their to-be-read pile, and we’ve also added the HN Reads Literary Round-Up, a monthly list of titles that you will want to crack open right away.
Here are this month’s picks:
From the Horse’s Point of View: Beyond Natural Horsemanship by Andrea Kutsch
Pub date: 2021
While the title of this incredible book may sound a bit on the mystical side, what is on its pages is deliciously scientific.
After spending years using natural horsemanship and horse whispering techniques to help repair problem horses, trainer Andrea Kutsch set out on a mission to prevent the problems in the first place. So along with her colleagues, she started researching the behavior of young horses at The Lewitz Stud in Neustadt-Glewe, owned by European champion Paul Schockemöhle. Using thousands of young horses, Kutsch and her team monitored everything from heart rate to body language to discover how equines communicate and how they learn.
From this research, she created Evidence-Based Equine Communication EBEC. In From the Horse’s Point of View, she explains her findings and how all equestrians can incorporate them to their own practice. It is also illustrated with ethograms that demonstrate the meaning of a horse’s movement or action.
Life with Horses Is Never Orderly: Cartoons for Riders Who Are in on the Joke by Morgane Schmidt
Pub date: 2021
I know a horse book is special when even my friends who don’t like horses cackle at it, and Morgane Schmidt’s new collection of comics did just that.
Since 2011, Schmidt’s webcomic, the Idea of Order, has been a mainstay of the equine internet. As a successful dressage rider in her own right, her ability to capture the nuance of a life with horses and balance enough jokes to reach a more general audience is masterful. Her new book Life with Horses is Never Orderly compiles and updates many of her old comics while featuring several new ones. Printed in full color, the collection is as visually stunning as it is hilarious.
Spoiler: Morgane Schmidt was a recent guest on HN Reads, and I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard in an interview. Stay tuned!
The Horsewoman by James Patterson and Mike Lucipa
Pub date: 2022
Reaching the 2022 New York Times Bestsellers List shortly after its publication, James Patterson and Mike Lucipa’s new novel, The Horsewoman, proves that equine-themed books can and do speak to mainstream audiences.
In it, show jumpers Maggie Atwood and Becky MaCabe ride their way to become the first mother-daughter pair to make the U.S. Olympic team. Set in the sport horse mecca of Wellington, Florida, the gossip and drama of the novel are as Grand Prix level as the horses and riders. There are owners richer than God, dedicated and fierce trainers, and every type of imaginable rider, from the wonderfully generous to the ridiculously slimy. The Horsewoman is escape-reading at its finest.
On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope
Pub date: 2013
Recently, author Tim Cope posted on Facebook about his time In Ukraine during his 6,000 mile-long trek from Mongolia to Hungary. While some of my paternal ancestors were Ukrainian, it was Cope’s book On the Trail of Genghis Khan that was my first introduction to the country. As the war in Ukraine has progressed, the chapters where he rides through the region keep appearing in my thoughts—it is also one heck of a horse book.
Fascinated by the nomadic way of life, Cope, a young Australian adventurer purchases a couple of horses and sets out to ride his way across what was once the Mongol empire. Mongolian horses are considered a national treasure and are not allowed to leave the country, so when he gets to the border, Cope has to find new mounts. An array of different equine characters enter the fray, and often they are as fun to read about as the adventure itself.
May’s HN Retro Read: The Girl Who loved Wild horses by Paul Goble
Pub date: 1978
I couldn’t resist Paul Goble’s 1978 classic children’s book, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, for our first retro read. Based on the stories of the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Blackfoot, this brief but utterly captivating Caldecott Winner spins the tale of a young girl who has a way with horses. However, everything changes when a storm blows across the prairie.
I have discovered tattered copies of The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses in many horse lovers’ homes, and on a recent reread it swept me away with the same power as it had when I still rode in a pony saddle.