Novelist Anne Landsman sends us a holiday shopping list, her top 5 books on horses. Yes, it's theme specific, but this author of The Rowing Lesson —a beautiful and amazing novel, says the Happy Booker— knows her way around a horse book. So get out your pens, you're going to want to take notes, these are great book recommendations for the animal and literature lover in your life.
Top 5 Horse Books by Anne Landsman
Adam’s Task by Vicki Hearne. In one of her essays in this collection of essays about animal-training, Hearne writes about how horses take in information through touch, and their sensitivity to the motions of the rider. As a rider myself, I’m often amazed by the way well-trained horses seem to “read your mind”. If you think “trot”, they’ll trot, picking up the subtlest shifts in your movements, as thought gets translated into body language. This book is a moral and philosophical exploration of the complexities of the training relationship between humans and animals. A great gift for the thinking animal-lover!
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson. This is a must-read for this season that I haven’t read yet. Horses play a part in the story but there are other major themes as well – loss, memory, the burdens of the past – all set in the dreamscape of the Norwegian tundra. I’d love to get this book as a gift.
My Horses, My Teachers by Colonel Alois Podhajsky. This is a dressage classic that I’ve been dying to read for ages! Podhajsky used to be the Director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and this book is devoted to the horses to whom he dedicated his life. (And it’s another book I’d like to get as a gift. I’m just putting the thought out there…)
Horse People by Michael Korda. As a child, I was a huge fan of horse books, and reading this book made me feel as if I was ten again, and completely inhabiting the world on the page. It also has several funny bits, which I read out loud to my horse-crazy daughter. Great anecdotes about loving horses and living with them. A wonderful gift for those who ride, as well as those who dream about riding by reading books, as I did when I was a child.
Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards. Susan Richards writes lovingly about the mare, “Lay Me Down”, who helps her put her life back together again. It’s a great crying book, for a slow Saturday afternoon in the winter. Make sure you have enough Kleenex and some hot tea. Or give it to someone who has a big, soft heart.