I've been doing a lot of thinking about the horse books I read as a kid. And by "read," I mean devoured and read at least twice. There weren't enough horse books to keep me busy! So, I thought I'd run through some of my favorite horse books when I was a kid, starting with the Pony Tails series.
Bonnie Bryant, author of The Saddle Club, was already deep into The Saddle Club when she started a spin off with Corey, May and Jasmine--some of Pine Hollow's youngest riders. The girls were a couple of years younger than Carole, Lisa and Stevie (The Saddle Club), so the books taught young riders about horses in a special section at the back of the book. Very cute.
While I waited for the new Pony Tails book, I started reading Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt. Lulu, Pam and Anna were about the same age as the Pony Tails girls, but they didn't belong to a Pony Club or ride at a fancy stable. The girls spent most of their time rescuing ponies, trail riding and exploring their tiny hometown. I was a sucker for a good pony rescue!
National Velvet. I have to say I've always liked the movie better! I adore Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney in the movie. The book is, well, kind of weird! Velvet is soo awkward and she has the ugliest horse (the author said that!). In the movie, Pie is a gorgeous chestnut and Velvet is stunning. The movie cut out lots of parts from the book that I didn't miss. National Velvet had me convinced for about six months that I wanted to be a jockey. If I couldn't ride during that phase, I made myself jump over branches, brooms laid across lawnchairs and even galloped around the backyard on my "horse." :)
Oh, to write about horses like Marguerite Henry. I read the box set of Misty of Chincoteague books over and over. They're even more special to me now when I realized Aladdin publishes them. I still want to visit Chincoteague Island, participate in a pony round up and adopt a Chincoteague pony.
I'll always love The Saddle Club! I think the series stopped at 110 books and I've read them all. I can practically recite the first book word for word. Bonnie Bryant did spin off The Saddle Club into the older Pine Hollow, but The Saddle Club is #1 with me. I could relate to all three of the girls--Lisa for being a straight-A geek, Stevie for being the queen of practical jokes and Carole for being superserious about horses.
Again, another series that I've read every book and still remember all of the major plot points from each book. A newspaper once called the Black "the most famous fictional horse of the century" and I have to agree. The Black Stallion movie is great, too. If you *have* to be stranded on a desert island, what better companion than a horse?
When I was really young, my mom and I read all of the Billy and Blaze books together. The illustrations (swoon!) are so amazing and the stories pulled me in. Billy and Blaze had the best adventures and I wanted to be Billy for a while. :)
My favorite series of all--Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell. I started with the fifth book (Ashleigh's Dream) and went back and read the first four. These books also encouraged my dream of being a jockey and/or owning a Thoroughbred farm. Joanna spun off Throughbred into the Ashleigh series--also excellent. I have yet to read all of those, but I'll probably start when my enormous reading pile dwindles.
That's enough horsey nostalgia for one day! :)