Can’t wait for Jilly Cooper’s new book Mount! to hit the shelves? Us neither. Jilly is, of course, the queen of the horsey bonkbuster, but if you’ve read your way through her back catalogue and need another fix, then why not try one of these?
Horse Play by Jo Carnegie
The fifth in Jo Carnegie’s series about life in the Cotswolds village of Churchminster, this is her horsiest novel yet. Twenty-four-year-old jockey Kizzy Milton gets the ride on Nobby – AKA Goldenballs – and dreams of taking him to Cheltenham. But the path to racing glory never runs smooth, with accidents and handsome Olympic dressage riders named Javier coming along to stuff things up for her. In the meantime, the other inhabitants of Churchminster are keeping busy with dramas of their own – and frequently getting naked in the process…
Racy rating: There’s plenty of raunchy content, and it’s of the pants-ripping variety. Jilly would approve.
Horse rating: On the whole, the nags play second fiddle to the humans…
Horse Play by A.D. Ryan
If you’re a fan of 50 Shades Of Grey, but you just feel it was a bit too intellectual and could have done with a horse or two, then this is for you. Madison Landry heads to the family ranch to recover from a broken heart, and begins an affair with hunky cowboy Jensen Davies. But soon she realises she’s falling for him too…
Racy rating: The Amazon blurb says: “Contains coarse language, mature subject matter, and explicit sex scenes. Recommended reading age: 18+.” You’ve been warned. Don’t leave this lying around when your granny comes to visit.
Horse rating: There’s a lovely tasteful picture of a rearing horse on the cover, in front of two naked people. ‘Nuff said.
Stable Mates by Rachel May
Twenty-five-year-old Jess Adams works two jobs to keep her beloved gelding Oliver at swanky Wychwood livery yard, run by the rich, selfish and unscrupulous Shirley Cunningham-Brookbanks. When Jess spots Shirley abusing her bay competition horse Loxley, Jess ends up getting the ride — but for how long? And which of the eligible (and not so eligible) men in the book will win her heart?
Racy rating: Most of the bonking goes on behind the scenes. Boo!
Horse rating: An amusing — and surprisingly realistic — depiction of the types of people you find in a livery yard, from the perfectionist who never lets her horse out of the stable in case he gets kicked/dirty, to the one who’s bought a horse by accident and never turns up to look after him.
Country Affairs by Zara Stoneley
Author Zara Stoneley says her Tippermere series of books (of which this is the second) combine her loves — “horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars!)” Horse-loving Lottie Brinkley has hoofed it out of Spain, returning to the Cheshire countryside she grew up in. Looking for flirtatious fun, she finds she has not one, not two, but three men after her — gorgeous eventer Rory Steel, hunky farrier Mick O’Neal and mysterious stranger Tom Strachan. Which to choose? (Or just have ‘em all? Why not!)
Racy rating: Stoneley started her career writing erotic fiction, so steer clear of this if you sometimes find Downton Abbey a bit racy. Eventing could definitely do with a few more Rory Steels!
Horse rating: Stoneley clearly knows one end of a martingale from another.
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Well Groomed by Fiona Walker
Tash French escapes from a fizzling relationship by heading off to France to visit her eccentric family in her mother’s Loire manor, only to find herself the slightly reluctant owner of a bolshy event horse called Snob. As she tries to get to grips with him, she starts getting a lot of attention from Irish actor Niall and sexy eventer Hugo — but is Hugo after the horse, or her?
Racy rating: It’s more Carry On than 50 Shades — like Jilly Cooper, Fiona Walker can never resist a pun — but there’s nothing wrong with that!
Horse rating: You do have to suspend some – well, a lot – of disbelief to buy into the idea that Tash goes from being a total novice to riding round what sounds like at least a one-star eventing course within the space of one short summer, but hey, it’s fiction, and it’s funny.