Horse riding is a pursuit that can take over a child’s life, from the relationship between rider and their new found best animal friend to comradery of a group of young riders to the thrill of the competitive elements of the sport. One of the most on-trend accessories seen in photoshoots for children’s horse riding clothes these days is a horsey themed book under the arm for those moments when you’re waiting patiently for your turn in the arena.
If your young ones are as obsessed about horses as ours, you might find this guide to great reads for horse-mad youngsters will come in handy. All of the titles are available to buy online – try and support your local independent bookshop if you can – we can recommend www.longstoryshortbookshop.nz for good old fashioned customer service that’s second to none.
‘Mini Whinny’ by beloved Kiwi author Stacey Gregg is an adorable series of books appropriate to read to preschoolers and perfect for early readers in their first couple of years at Primary School. All about a mischievous little horse, Mini Whinny and her adventures and friendships. Our fave is book number two when Mini Whinny plans to escape her annoyingly perfect stable neighbour Goody Four-Shoes. Beautifully illustrated and presented by the talented illustrator Ruth Paul, this series is a gorgeous introduction to cheeky ponies and all things horsey.
For 5- 8 year olds or reluctant older Primary School readers, the ‘Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony’ series (books 1-4) is guaranteed to get the kids reading and chuckling out loud. Magda Szubanksi was Sharon in ‘Kath & Kim’ and that same signature wit comes through loud and lavishly on the pages of the Timmy series of books. Fans of Pig the Pug, Captain Underpants and well, any kid who likes a bit of toilet humour (!) will adore this series – the latest entitled ‘The Farts & the Furious’. Fabulously illustrated, these are akin to graphic novels and follow the life of Timmy, a very spoilt pony who has his heart set on showbiz and explores some interesting equestrian fashion in the pursuit of fame along the way. Hilarious and appealing to all kids, especially great for those who are a little reluctant to get into chapter books. They won’t even realise they’re reading, they’ll be laughing too much..!
‘The Lonely Pony’ by Barbara Sloan tells the beautiful touching story of Scout, a horse who never grew tall enough for the competitions for which he was bred. Lena, recovering from a bad riding accident, is regaining her confidence by working at the stables in exchange for riding lessons. After meeting Scout, she recognises a kindred spirit and they begin training together, overcoming obstacles and forming a trusting bond. As Scout’s schooling progresses his world opens up - dare he hope that his greatest wish is granted – having friends and a loving family of his own? A lovely story (especially for children who may have lost a little riding confidence) for 8 year olds and up.
For 9 year olds right through to teens and young adults, the highly anticipated novel from R.J. Palacio is one to treasure. ‘Pony’ comes to us from the internationally bestselling, multi-award-winning author of Wonder and takes the reader on journey as Silas loses his father but gains a friend in a mysterious pony. So begins a perilous journey to find his father - a journey that will connect him with his past, his future, and the unknowable world around him. ‘Pony’ is destined to become a future classic and has been heralded by reviewers worldwide.
For all ages! ‘The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse’, written by Charlie Mackesy is worth a mention in this blogpost for the mere fact that it is the title with the most 5 star reviews on Amazon! Described as a book of hope for uncertain times, the book follows four unlikely friends as we learn about each of their most important life lessons. These characters have been recreated the world over by children in schools and hung on hospital walls. A gorgeous gift and keepsake appropriate for young primary school ages right up through to adults. One of those books you can turn to any page and find a message you probably need to hear.