The books that every horsey child needs to read (standby for feeling nostalgic)

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  • Whether you were a horsemad child who raced around on your Pony Club pony, or someone who had to beg your non-horsey parents for every lesson at the local riding school, the books we read played their part in fuelling a lifelong love of horses. We round up some of the best horsey books for children and teenagers, perfect to help keep them busy during lockdown

    The Jill series by Ruby Ferguson

    “My favourite books were definitely the Jill books by Ruby Ferguson — I read them all so many times my parents would find random pages from the books around the house where they had literally started to fall apart. They had all the characters you inevitably find in the Pony Club/horsey world — the snotty girl who thinks she’s the best but then falls off and everyone cheers, the fussy, pushy mother, the scary but kind-hearted riding school owner, the showjumper everyone fancies… The best of the series was probably the first – Jill’s Gymkhana – anyone from a non-horsey family who has ever pushed to learn to ride can identify with it.” — Polly Bryan, H&H’s dressage, products and breeding editor

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    The Jinny series by Patricia Leitch

    “I was obsessed with these books and I still have very happy memories of reading them all. I read each of the books 100 times over (except volume four if I recall, which was really scary). I dreamed of owning a chestnut Arab mare called Shantih. I even changed my name to Jinny (from Jenny as I was then) for a while. Jinny’s childhood was everything I wished mine was!” — Jennifer Donald, H&H’s showjumping editor

    “I loved Horse in a Million, in which Jinny’s Arab Shantih was stolen and recovered, but as a child growing up in London, For Love of a Horse, the first book in which Jinny moves from the city to Scotland and rescues Shantih was what I dreamed of too. I remember finding a story I’d written myself about ‘Jenny’ and a horse she rescued from a circus; shameless plagiarisation and a bit rubbish – the least said about that the better…” — Eleanor Jones, H&H’s news editor

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    Silver Snaffles by Primrose Cumming

    “What child in their right mind wouldn’t have wanted to be Jenny in Silver Snaffles? When the pony that she visits every day, Tattles, gives her a secret password, Jenny finds herself in a parallel world where horses can speak and they teach her to ride. Complete heaven.” — Madeleine Silver, H&H’s former features editor

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    Sheltie the Shetland Pony by Peter Clover

    “Without doubt these were my favourite books as a child. I devoured the whole series and loved hearing about Emma and Sheltie’s adventures, from saving Horseshoe Pond, to finding a stray… So much excitement. The stories are ideal for young pony mad children. I was around seven when I read them.” — Rachael Turner, H&H’s former news writer

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    My Friend Flicka series by Mary O’Hara

    “I loved the My Friend Flicka series – My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and The Green Grass of Wyoming —  about the son of a Wyoming rancher, and his horse Flicka. I found Thunderhead particularly moving at a young age, and I was gripped by the story lines as well as the bond between the boy and his horse.” — Martha Terry, H&H’s features editor

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    Continued below…

    16 Hands Between Your Legs by Julian Seaman

    “This is a comedy book about eventing. It explains the rules and stereotypes in hilarious detail with countless innuendos throughout. I first read this book when I was about 13 — I took it as my reading book to school and didn’t understand why my teacher was so perplexed about its title and why I would be reading such a book. I told her it was obviously about eventing — the title was lost on me until a few years later!” — Gemma Redrup, H&H’s digital features editor and journalist

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

    Pony Club Camp by Josephine Pullein-Thompson

    “Aside from Ruby Ferguson’s Jill series,  my other favourite would be Pony Club Camp by Josephine Pullein-Thompson. I know Josephine was an MBE, but frankly the Pullein-Thompson sisters should all have been made dames for their services to pony books. This week at Pony Club camp is beyond perfect and all adults will be filled with a wonderful nostalgia for their camp days reading it. There’s even a hint of romance — do Noel and Henry kiss? There’s hours of debate to be had in that one. Even in the 1980s these books were dated, but this only increases their charm.” — Pippa Roome, H&H’s magazine editor

    Get yourself a copy: amazon.co.uk

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