Horses and Riding

Starting Riding
by Helen Edom and Lesley Sims
(Usborne)
This is an excellent book for complete beginners as it gives plenty of attention to the very first lessons with information on how to mount. how to hold the reins and how it feels to sit on a pony for the first time. From there it progresses to stopping, starting, turning and trotting before moving on to cantering, games and jumping. It finishes in the stable dealing with saddles and bridles but doesn’t include any other stable management. The clear, colourful illustrations are  informative and feature typical riding school ponies. A good choice for beginners in the 7-11 age group. Younger children could enjoy it with help, but older ones would probably find the illustrations too young.
(with thanks to Maddie)
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The Usborne Complete Book of Riding and Pony Care
by Rosie Dickens and Gill Harvey
A beautifully presented hardback gift book with plenty of excellent colour photos and drawings showing people enjoying themselves. It provides clear, thorough  instruction on basic riding skills and horse care which is ideal for beginners but too basic for those who can already walk, trot and canter competently. Recommended for 8-13 year olds who have just started riding.
(with thanks to Laura)
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Grooming and Stable Management by Lucy Smith
(Usborne)
An interesting  book  with clear instructions illustrated by full colour drawings, photos, charts and diagrams (although my reviewer commented that no one in the pictures looked as if they were enjoying themselves). Although it’s only 32 pages long, it covers everything you need to know about caring for a horse including spotting signs of illness and using toys in the stable to prevent boredom. It’s too complicated for a complete beginner and too simple for those already caring for a
horse, but a very good choice for 10 to 14 year olds who have been riding for about a year.
(with thanks to Laura)
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Jumping
by Kate Needham|
(Usborne)
An informative book which teaches you to jump correctly with the help of  informative colour photos and drawings used in all the right places. It covers everything you need to know about jumping including solving common mistakes, making jumps, tackling different types of jumps and dealing with difficult ponies. In addition, it describes the different jumping  competitions and how to make sure you are ready for them. Packing all this into 32 pages long results in it moving swiftly from one topic to another. Despite this, it is an excellent choice for 10 to 16
year olds who already ride well and are keen to learn more.
(with thanks to Laura)
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Horse: An Eyewitness Guide
(Dorling Kindersley)
This is very much a book about horses rather than riding. It looks at their evolution, their behaviour and their close relatives in the animal kingdom as well as their role in history, sport and the world of work.   As with all books in the Eyewitness series, its stunning photographs are surrounded with interesting paragraphs of information – an arrangement which allows the pictures to dominate the pages and avoids large, unbroken chunks of text. Interesting for anyone from 8 upwards who is interested in horses, regardless of whether they ride or not.
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The Pony Mad Princess books
by Diana Kimpton
(Usborne)
One perk of running a children’s book review site is occasionally mentioning my own books. Judging by the emails and letters I receive, this series of novels is very popular with girls of 6-9 who are newly confident readers. They feature Princess Ellie – a princess who hates pink and who would rather spend time at the stables than performing royal duties. Together with her best friend, Kate, who is the granddaughter of the palace cook, Ellie has the sort of adventures with her ponies that I longed for when I was pony-less pony-mad child. There are thirteen titles in the series and the first one is called Princess Ellie to the Rescue.
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There Must Be Horses
by Diana Kimpton
Originally written at the request of girls who had grown out of The Pony-Mad Princess, this book led me to explore horse whispering and delve deeply into the way horses think and behave. I even bought a horse to help with my research (or that’s my excuse anyway. In reality,  this pony-mad author was tired of being pony-less.) The book tells the story of Sasha, a troubled foster child who desperately wants a home with horses.  When she finally gets one, it’s only temporary so she sets to help an equally troubled horse in the hopes of persuading her foster parents to keep her forever.
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