Good Books?

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  • @jennifer - Thank you for these suggestions. I treated myself this Christmas to a 1963 copy of The Fireside Book of Horse Racing Edited by David F Woods that I found in a used book store. It has a foreword by Eddie Arcaro. I am currently reading a story about Alsab who I had never heard of before. He defeated Whirlaway in a match race and raced at distances up to 2 1/4 miles. He also raced 23 times in his 3 year old year. This book is a great collection of classic stories about past race horses and has copies of old photographs of these horses as well. I am having a blast exploring the stories and articles found in this book. I feel very fortunate to have found this book and will definitely be adding it to my collection of treasured books.
  • Thanks for the book review, DanceTheTide.
  • Jennifer, I thought I was the only one who knew about "My Racing Heart", by Nan Mooney. I didn't recommend it previously, but am thrilled to see that someone else recognized its' genuine passion and knowledge of thoroughbreds. What a great book! I read it years ago, when I lived in Florida, and every now and then, I get it out and read it again. Her love for Alydar, whom I also adore, came through so clearly and poignantly in the chapters wherein she speaks of him. How his failure to capture the Triple Crown broke her heart, but also allowed her to recognize his greater gifts; his tremendous heart, competitive spirit, and his ability to never give up, no matter what. But it was her visit to his grave, and her description of it, that made me cry. A great writer who loves her horses, that's for sure. I wish she'd write another, but sometimes I think writers only have one book in them, like Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird." I think that's the only book she wrote. I could be wrong about that, and I'm sure at least a dozen people will Google it in order to correct me if I am. In any case, another great writer. Thanks for reminding me of My Racing Heart. Time to get it out again for another reread.
  • loveshorses, you are right about Harper Lee. Only one book in Margaret Mitchell, too. Gone With the Wind.
  • For the last several years most of the books I've read have been woven around horses and/or horse racing in some way so I love this topic on the forum! For those that like mysteries I highly recommend the books by Sasscer Hill about the jockey Nikki Latrelle.
    There are three novels in the group starting with Full Mortality. Racing From Death is her second one and The Sea Horse Trade is the last book about the exploits of the jockey turned sleuth. She's also written several short stories that are available on Amazon also. The author is an experienced horse woman who was from MD I think and has bred and raced TBs, so her writing has great details. I tried to look back through this thread to make sure I had not babbled about all this before, but if I did and I somehow missed it, I'll say I'm sorry for duplicating. I'll try to do better next year!! LOL!
  • When my son was in 7th grade he wrote a book report on To Kill a Mockingbird and concluded that Harper Lee didn't need to write another book because she had said all she needed to say in this one book. To Kill a Mockingbird and A Prayer for Owen Meany are probably two of my favorite non horse related books.
    I am totally caught up in my copy of The Fireside Book of Horse Racing. I wish I could share with you how dramatic the descriptions of some of the races are and the insights that are given in to these historic horses characters. There is an outstanding section in the book by Grantland Rice describing the Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral race. Most of the sections of this book read like they were originally written as magazine or newspaper articles which fits with the copies of the old photos that they include. I might play around with posting short sections of some of the stories. Thank you Celeste_in_TX for your suggestions and comments. My list of books to read is getting quite long which is great.
  • There's another great book that I've mentioned before, but it's worth another plug: "A Day at the Races", by Max Watman. Great book.
  • i bought a boatload of books from exclusively equine and havent gotten to them all yet but ANY of the books featuring one horse are good..i read spectacular bid first.. the book i just finished was "the kingmaker" how northern dancer founded a dynasty..great read
    I was just checking out the sale at Exclusively Equine and purchased "The Kingmaker" about Northern Dancer, and books about Native Dancer, Sunday Silence and Dr Fager as well. They have a lot of books that are marked down to $1. Fun!
  • Nice article about Little Current. I love the paragraph that begins "Horses are like music."
    http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2014/02/07/little-current-and-year-after-big-red.aspx
  • Just finished reading a book that I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend. It's a memoir by Jana Harris, who is a university teacher and a writer, mostly poetry, and with her husband, also a university teacher bought a farm in Washington State to live her dream of raising horses, and it's also the story of her relationship with the mare she buys as her foundation mare. Wonderful, fascinating story.

    One of the reviewers of the book wrote, "I lost track of all time and space once I opened this incisive, eloquent, sometimes lyrical, sometimes comic book. The story of True Colors and the raising up and training of her foals mesmerized me. Harris's memoir won my heart." --Maxine Kumin

    Another comment from another author says, "I could not put down this engrossing, beautiful book, and savored every page. Harris's writing is so delicious that I could feel the country breeze, smell the hay, and hear the horses nickering. ...Each animal has a unique personality, likes, and dislikes. This book is a treasure, to be reread over and over again. A lovely, delightful experience." Stacey O'Brien

    I quoted the two reviews above because I actually stayed up all night to finish the book. Finished it this morning around 8:30.

    I can't believe the book isn't on this list already.

    The name of the book is HORSES NEVER LIE ABOUT LOVE: THE HEARTWARMING STORY OF A REMARKABLE HORSE WHO CHANGED MY LIFE., 2011 by Jana Harris. It's an Atria Paperback, a division of Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-0585-3
  • Glenn Balch (born 1902) wrote a lot of "children's" books about animals, especially horses, mostly set in his native west. Indian Paint is a great story about an Indian boy taming a wild horse; the most adult and saddest story (but with a happy ending!) is Tiger Roan. Lots of his books are available used on Amazon.
    Some much tougher, more adult classics involving horses are Leo Tolstoy's long short story Strider (Kholstomer, untranslated)--a Black Beauty from the horse's perspective, without the happy ending--and Joseph Kessel's The Horsemen. The latter is set in Afghanistan around 1950 and begins with an unbelievably graphic description of the game of buzkashi (First, you kill a goat and cut its head off . . . ), the ultimate game which tests horse and rider. The book is strong stuff, including a lot of realistic depiction of a very misogynistic society, but it is an amazing story (much better than the mediocre movie) . . . and the real hero of the book is Jahil, the Mad Horse (who, in retrospect, I think is supposed to be an Akhal-Teke). After reading it, you can understand how this society has managed to resist all invaders . . . and all attempts at modernization.
  • I love all the James Harriot (I think this is the right spelling) books. He wrote a series of books about his vet career in the UK. "All Creatures Great and Small" "All Things Wise and Wonderful" and "The Lord God Made Them All". Like the Bible verse. I read these as a teen and then again in my twenties. Wonderful books. He did write other books but these were my favorites. After many moves over the years, I lost my copies. I think I'll try to replace them.
  • I've read most of the book already mentioned here and I agree they're great but here's a few more I would recommend -

    Wild Ride by Ann Auerbach - about the rise and fall of Calumet Farm
    Crazy Good by Charles Leerhsen - tells the story of the great pacer Dan Patch
    Champions by Michael Magee and Pat Bayes - stories about great champions of 1970's
  • I love the Golden Filly Series. I'd recommend it to everybody here.
  • @VA_in_CA Your review of the book by Jana Harris really has me intrigued and I will be adding it to my list to read. Just out of curiosity has anyone read the Book Thief? Not a horse book but I thought very special. Again, thanks everyone for their suggestions and for listing their favorites. Jane Smiley has some good horse themed books aimed at younger readers. The first of the series is called "The Georges and The Jewels". I bought this book as a gift for a young friend I know from volunteering in 4H and read it before I gave it to her. Also I can't remember if we've ever talked about Jane Smiley's "Horse Heaven".
  • Thanks for adding more books to the list of need to read books. I will make a list for next time I'm shopping at my Half-Price Books store.
  • Just finished reading a book that I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend. It's a memoir by Jana Harris, who is a university teacher and a writer, mostly poetry, and with her husband, also a university teacher bought a farm in Washington State to live her dream of raising horses, and it's also the story of her relationship with the mare she buys as her foundation mare. Wonderful, fascinating story.

    The name of the book is HORSES NEVER LIE ABOUT LOVE: THE HEARTWARMING STORY OF A REMARKABLE HORSE WHO CHANGED MY LIFE., 2011 by Jana Harris. It's an Atria Paperback, a division of Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-0585-3
    I'm in Arizona this weekend and I'll have a chance to go to one of my favorite "used" bookstores Bookmans. I'll be looking for this book. Thanks VACA
  • EriNCEriNC Member
    I love the Golden Filly Series. I'd recommend it to everybody here.
    agreed also good is the high hurdles series by the same author. If you want a horse series geared towards adults (language, some situations) The dressage chronicles is a good series. It is only available in ebook though.

  • I would love to see a book about Zenyatta or Smarty Jones. Two of my favorite horse books are Barbaro: America's Horse and Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro And His Legacy. Barbaro: A Nation's Horse is also a great movie my opinion it just shows the life of him it makes me tear up at the beginning, when they show the Preakness Stakes, and then of course when they announce that Barbaro had been put down
  • AmylizmAmylizm Member
    Any book by Karen Kingsbury. She is the best author EVER!
  • I haven't read this book yet and noticed it had not been mentioned on this discussion before...but it seems to be a very relevant novel based on historic findings for our forum and VERY relevant for the ancestral lineage of Zenyatta as well. Here is a brief synopsis of the book entitled:
    THE BYERLEY TURK-A True Story of the First Thoroughbred by Jeremy James*.
    http://horsetalk.co.nz/reviews/book-rm-thebyerleyturk.shtml#axzz3WFRzh0mZ

    Here is an extract from the book revealing the Byerley Turk's amazing speed and stamina:
    http://horsetalk.co.nz/features/byerleyturk.shtml#axzz3WFRzh0mZ

    Click on 21 customer reviews of the book (rated 4.7 out of 5):
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Byerley-Turk-Incredible-Thoroughbred/product-reviews/0811701557/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending
    *Note: this is not an advertisement, just a reference for a possible good read about a foundation sire...a truly brave War Horse.

    The author, Jeremy James' comment while...In Search of the Byerley Turk (found in tbheritage.com)...He reveals a very interesting discovery in Istanbul about the gold chanfrons (face plates worn by war horses back in the 16th and 17 centuries)...they were definitely not made to fit Arab horses!
    http://www.tbheritage.com/Portraits/ByerleyTurkSearch.html
  • I'll have to keep an eye out for this one. Sounds intriguing.
  • I too as a child loved Black Beauty, My Friend Flicka, and National Velvet. The books I currently have are Barbaro, Seabiscuit (book and movie), Secretariat, and Born to Trot. Born to Trot is a beautiful story about a filly named Rosalind who became the first female to win the KY Derby of harness racing, the Hambletonian.

    I also have a video (there's no DVD of it that I know of) called The Jewels of the Triple Crown which has the stories of all 11 TC winners, actual footage, and narrated by the late Jim McKay.
    Didn't think I'd hear that name here. Loved Rosiland, true grit

  • The Byerley Turk looks very interesting, @Paniolo_Gal! Thanks for posting about it; it's definitely a book I want to read sometime.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited April 2015
    The Byerley Turk looks very interesting, @Paniolo_Gal! Thanks for posting about it; it's definitely a book I want to read sometime.
    You're welcome!
    I'm not sure if you or others from our forum recall last year, in the Rare & Unfamiliar Breeds Discussion (the bottom of page 3) about the Akhal Teke-a relative of the Turkoman and that this ancient Bactrian (a Persian region of Central Asia) breed was the first domesticated horse breed...way older than the Arabian. Jeremy James probably came to the same conclusion in his research for the first racehorse...the Byerley Turk with his findings on the chanfrons (equine face plates) in Istanbul.❤

    If interested, here's a quick link to page 3 from the Rare & Unfamiliar Breeds discussion...scroll to the bottom of the page:
    http://www.zenyatta.com/discussions#/discussion/683/rare-unfamiliar-horse-breeds/p3
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