Nothing better than a book to ride out the winter break
"I opened a book and in I strode. Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road, my town and my world behind me."
THE last of the foal shows are done for the year, the royal show horses have a few more weeks rest before the earnest work begins and it’s the quietest time of the year for most horse people.
It’s an opportunity to catch up on some reading by the fire while the wind blows cold, or while seated on a 12-hour plane flight – do we revisit some old favorites or go and find something new to read?
Google is your friend when it comes to looking for books, you find lost friends, or new authors that have been recommended for you. Postage even from overseas is reasonable so there’s no excuse.
So – what’s to be found? Here’s a few you can get online.
Mary Hanna’s “A long Rein” gives a fascinating insight into the life of the internationally successful dressage rider. Mary tells of her wonderful mother and the amazing men, women and horses who helped her take on the world’s best riders at the Olympic Games.
“Kevin Bacon” is the simple name of a book written by Betty Lane Holland that tells the life story of one of showjumping’s best known and most-liked characters. Stories of horses like Ocean Foal, Chichester, Moonlight and Billsborough, and the antics of the riders of that time, make it a great read.
“Winners” by Susi Austin is possibly the Australian version of Jilly Cooper’s Riders. Yep! Supposedly fiction, but anyone who has spent any time at any of the major horse events in Australia and read this book has spent a lot of time chuckling to themselves and saying “aha”!
And looking sideways at their friends.
A bit hard to get now, if you can’t find it online get one of your friends to lend you their copy and play guess who.
On a different track, “When Cobb and Co was King” by Will Lawson is a magnificent story and gives a glimpse of real Australian history.
It centres on young Buster White, who started as a boy fetching horse teams in from paddocks for the changeovers on the trip before becoming one of the most famous and Cobb and Co’s drivers, is a love story not only of the man’s life but of a great time in our history. It’s a real favourite and so worthwhile.
Too many people discard Western novels as cowboy trash, but eight of Will Henry's novels were made into top movies.
I often go back to “No Survivors” but “Blue Mustang” is also pretty special. Mr Henry writes wonderful stories set in the west. Don’t be a snob. Try them.
Finally, if you haven’t read Caroline Akrill’s “Not Quite a Horsewoman,” do it now. If you don’t laugh at some of the things that happen to her in the book – and have to ourselves on so many occasions – there’s something awfully wrong with your sense of humour. There are parts that are just ROFL (roll on the floor laughing) for any horse person.
Every one of the books is well worth the read and they will stay on your shelf to be enjoyed over and over for the winter months.
Stories on The Regional’s website are free to read and always will be.
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