For the young horse lover, there are few things better than a good book about courageous and beautiful horses and the people that love them. Whether you are trying to interest your horse-crazy child in reading, or just looking for something new to read, we’ve got the 30 best horse books for kids.
Album of Horses
Everything a child might want to know about horses can be found in Marguerite Henry’s classic Album of Horses. Featuring Henry’s text alongside original illustrations, Album of Horses contains informative and entertaining stories about a variety of horse types. Some of the horses readers will meet include the Morgan, the Clydesdale, the Lipizzan, the Mustang, and the Thoroughbred, among many others.
Billy and Blaze
C.W. Anderson’s classic Billy and Blaze series has been charming young horse lovers for decades. In this book, the first of the series, Billy is thrilled when he is gifted his very own pony for his birthday. Billy and his new best friend are inseparable, and work together towards their goal of winning the Mason Horse Show. Kids are sure to love the book’s thrilling scenes, warm characters, and original illustrations.
Born to Trot
In Born to Trot, beloved author Marguerite Henry takes on the world of trotters — a unique form of horse racing in which jockeys ride on sulkies and specially trained horses race to the finish without breaking from an extended trot. Born to Trot tells the story of the young and eager Gibson, who dreams of nothing more than training a champion trotter to win the prestigious Hambletonian race. When Gib comes across a beautiful and talented filly named Rosalind, his dreams of glory fall within his grasp.
First published in 1877, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty is perhaps the most famous horse book ever written. This classic novel is written from the perspective of a horse living in 19th century England. It follows him from his first memories in the field with his mother, through a series of owners and jobs, and finally, to his well-deserved retirement on an English farm. With each of Black Beauty’s life changes, all of which are out of his control, he learns important lessons about friendship, humanity, cruelty, and most importantly, love.
In Black Gold, beloved author Marguerite Henry introduces young readers to the world of Thoroughbred horse racing. Jaydee is the only one who suspects that the undersized Black Gold could be a champion. When Jaydee finally gets his wish of becoming Black Gold’s rider, the pair flourish and begin working towards winning America’s most famous horse race. An inspirational page turner, young horse lovers will be delighted to learn that Black Gold is based on a true story!
The Black Stallion
The Black Stallion has been a favorite horse book for kids since it was first published in 1941. Written by Walter Farley, this classic tale tells the story of young Alec Ramsay and The Black, the two sole survivors of a terrible shipwreck. Stuck on a deserted island, the young boy and the wild horse learn to trust and love each other as they wait for rescue.
Coming Home (Heartland Series #1)
The Heartland series is a favorite among middle grade readers who love the stories of loyalty, friendship, inspiration, heartbreak, and of course, horses. In Coming Home, readers meet 15-year old Amy, a young horse trainer who, along with her mother, uses gentle techniques to help horses that have been abused or abandoned. When Amy’s mother is killed in a freak accident, Amy and her older sister Lou must choose whether or not their love of horses is strong enough to help them to heal and continue the legacy of Heartland.
Everything But the Horse
Beloved children’s book author Holly Hobbie recounts her own childhood love of horses in this beautiful book. Everything But the Horse tells the story of Holly’s family moving to the countryside. Though Holly isn’t quite sure what to expect at first, she quickly falls in love with all of the nearby animals, the horses especially.
Everything Horse: What Kids Really Want to Know About Horses
As one of the few non-fiction books to make our list of the best horse books for kids, Marty Crisp’s Everything Horse will tell eager young horse lovers all they want to know about horses. Packed with photos, this fascinating treat of a book includes facts on different horse breeds, riding basics, and the must-knows of equine care.
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses
Jan Brett is one of the most famous author/illustrators of children’s books. In Fritz and the Beautiful Horses, Brett tells the story of Fritz, a pony who wishes he could be included in the group of beautiful and adored horses inside of the walled city where he lives. When the children of the city become endangered, Fritz risks everything to save the children and prove himself a hero.
The Georges and the Jewels
Abby Lovitt lives on a horse farm, but she isn’t allowed to get attached to any of the horses. She isn’t even allowed to name them. The geldings are called George, the mares Jewel, and every horse on the ranch is for sale. Such a situation is difficult for Abby, who counts the horses as her only friends. When Abby is handed the care of a particularly ornery young gelding, Abby finds it so challenging, she wonders if her love of horses is even enough.
Giddy Up! Let’s Ride!
The traditional childhood rhyme of “This is the Way the Ladies Ride,” gets a whole new twist in author Flora McDonnell’s Giddy Up! Let’s Ride!. This fun book of onomatopoeias features a full cast of riders and their horses. Young horse lovers will especially love the beautiful illustrations of horses included in the book.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Paul Goble’s stunning picture book, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses tells the timeless tale of a young Native American girl who devotes herself to her love of her tribe’s horses. Over the course of beautiful illustrations, the girl speaks softly to her horses, leads them to water, and eventually, becomes one of them and is able to run free forever.
The Horse and His Boy
Though The Chronicles of Narnia series is beloved by children all over the world, young horse lovers are sure to count The Horse and His Boy as their favorite installment. In this classic tale, author C.S. Lewis creates a fantasy world in which horses talk and two runaways, a horse and a boy, team up to face together the terrible battle that awaits them.
A Horse Called Wonder (Thoroughbred Series #1)
Horse-crazy kids are sure to love the Thoroughbred Series, the first book of which is A Horse Called Wonder. With over 70 books, the bestselling series follows Ashleigh Griffen, a young girl growing up on a Thoroughbred racing farm, and Wonder, the beloved foal Ashleigh saves from death and raises to become a champion.
Horse Crazy (Saddle Club Series #1)
Young horse lovers who dive into the popular Saddle Club book series are sure to have a lot of reading in their future! This fun series, which even inspired a television show, chronicles the equine adventures of Carole, Stevie, and Lisa, three friends who ride and take care of horses together at their local stable. In Horse Crazy, the series’ inaugural title, the trio meet each other for the first time — though readers may initially find it hard to believe that they all eventually become best friends.
Justin Morgan Had a Horse
Marguerite Henry’s Justin Morgan Had a Horse brings to life the introduction of the beloved Morgan horse. Young Joel Goss is thrilled when schoolteacher Justin Morgan asks him to train his colt, Little Bub. But everyone is surprised when Little Bub becomes known far and wide for his spirit, speed, and strength. Through this captivating page turner, young horse lovers can learn the story of how the beloved Morgan horse came to exist.
King of the Wind : The Story of the Godolphin Arabian
Anyone familiar with the magnificent Thoroughbred horse should be familiar with the Godolphin Arabian, the renowned champion considered the father of the breed. In King of the Wind, Marguerite Henry brings the horse’s story to life, from his birth in the stables of the Sultan of Morocco, to the royal courts of France, and finally to those in England that would make him a legend.
The Mare on the Hill
Jake and Aaron, two brothers living on a farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley, become captivated by a wild white mare. Though the two boys yearn to befriend her, the beautiful horse constantly flees from them to her perch atop a nearby hill. When they eventually find the mare and her newborn foal in their own barn, things change forever. In addition to being a beautiful story, Thomas Locker’s The Mare on the Hill includes stunning paintings done by the author himself, a gallery-exhibited artist.
Midnight: A True Story of Loyalty in World War I
Midnight is the heartbreakingly beautiful true story of Australian Lieutenant Guy Haydon and his beloved horse, Midnight. When the two friends are sent to the frontlines of World War I, Lieutenant Haydon is determined to stay with his favorite horse. On October 31, 1917, in the city of Beersheba, the lieutenant, Midnight, and the rest of the Australian Light Horse Brigade take part in one of history’s last great cavalry charges. Though not all of our favorite characters make it out of the battle alive, it is clear that all involved are heroes.
Misty of Chincoteague
Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague has been a favorite of young horse lovers for generations. The story surrounds the real-life round-up and sale of wild ponies from Assateague Island, and follows Paul and Maureen Beebe, two siblings who work hard to earn the money it’ll take to buy the Phantom, an elusive and majestic mare. But when Pony Penning Day arrives, Paul and Maureen are shocked to see that the Phantom is for sale alongside her newborn colt. Can Paul and Maureen find a way to buy both ponies?
My Friend Flicka
Mary O’Hara’s classic novel, My Friend Flicka tells the story of Ken McLaughlin, a young boy living on a horse farm in Wyoming. The first time he sees the beautiful Flicka, Ken is captivated and wants the horse for his own. But Flicka is descended from a long line of wild horses, and taming her proves to be a bigger challenge than Ken could ever have expected. It’s not long before Ken realizes he has a difficult choice to make: break her spirit by taming her, or let her run free?
The young main character of My Pony is devastated when her parents inform her that she cannot have a pony of her own. They’re just too expensive and take up too much room. The young girl begins to draw pictures of beautiful horses, and ends up in an imagined world where she can ride her favorite horse any time she wants.
Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero
This bestselling book by Patricia McCormick tells the true story of Sgt. Reckless, the brave little horse who was found by a group of U.S. soldiers fighting in the Korean War. Once taken in, Sgt. Reckless went from bedraggled and skinny, to the first animal to officially hold military rank. She even received two Purple Hearts for her extreme bravery in battle!
Who Was Seabiscuit?
Undersized Thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit has been capturing the hearts and minds of horse lovers young and old for almost 90 years. Born in 1933, Seabiscuit surprised everyone when he started winning races. After all, he was smaller than his competitors, ate way too much, and took too many naps. When Seabiscuit began beating some of the country’s greatest racehorses, he became a national media sensation and an inspiration to all the underdogs! Young horse lovers can learn all about Seabiscuit’s life and legacy in Who Was Seabiscuit? bu Paula Manzanero.
Patricia Reilly Giff
Twelve-year-old Lidie is ready to leave Brazil and join her father and older brother in New York City. Her father runs a stable at a famous race track, and Lidie yearns to prove her worth. But moving to a foreign country is a challenge, and proving oneself on the backside of a racetrack nearly impossible. When Lidie’s father purchases a spirited filly aptly named Wild Girl, Lidie becomes determined to befriend and ride the horse to championship.
No young horse lover’s childhood is complete without reading National Velvet. This classic novel by Enid Bangold tells the story of the determined Velvet, who wins a horse in the village lottery. Not one to be held back by dreams, Velvet believes her beloved new horse, The Pie, can win the The Grand National, the world’s most famous steeplechase.
Pam Muñoz Ryan
Favorite children’s book author Pam Muñoz Ryan recounts the thrilling true story of Charlotte Parkhurst, a young woman who disguises herself as a man in order to find an opportunity to work with horses. Charlotte begins by finding work as a stable hand, then becomes a stagecoach driver famous for performing daring feats to outwit robbers. Charlotte must overcome myriad instances of tragedy and prejudice before she is finally able to establish the horse farm she has dreamed of since childhood.
Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse shines the spotlight on some of World War I’s most forgotten heroes: the horses. In 1914, a beautiful bay horse named Joey is purchased by the army and sent to the Western Front. There, Joey proves his bravery time and time again, saving friends and witnessing the terrible tragedy of trench warfare. Throughout it all, Joey yearns to see Albert, the farmer’s young son whom he had to leave behind.
White Stallions of Lipizza
There are no horses on earth like the “dancing” Lipizzan Stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Known for their beauty, grace, power, and highly trained skill, the famous white stallions have awed their audience for generations. In White Stallions of Lipizza, Marguerite Henry tells the story of Hans, a young baker’s son who dreams of being an official rider of the Spanish Riding School. Through captivating details and beautiful illustrations, the book follows Hans’s journey from his first sight of the Lipizzaners to his first public performance alongside his beloved stallion, Borina.