My grandmother loved books. My mom loved books. And I, necessarily, learned to love books, too. I read voraciously—everything I could get my hands on—but even my earliest memories of finding books in the children’s section of the library involved something else: horses.
Every year at Christmas I would ask my parents, and Santa, and God, for a pony. Our small suburban Florida home with the sandy backyard and neighbors seemed to me plenty big…we had a toolshed I imagined to be perfect for the right-size equine, and I was undeterred by the prospect of riding up and down our paved streets and sidewalks. Of course my parents, Santa, and God all knew better, and so the real pony never materialized, but I still got horses for Christmas every year…in the form of books.
One of the first horse books I vividly remember receiving was The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble. My grandmother gave me the book when I was four or five (I still have it), and I remember gazing at the beautiful illustrations for hours, knowing that I loved horses just as much as the girl in the story…so much that maybe one day I would turn into a horse, like her.
I was given A Very Young Rider by Jill Krementz the Christmas after I started taking riding lessons. It was published in 1977, the year I was born, which had little to do with why I loved the book then, but holds meaning for me now. I still have this tattered copy, too.
The Christmases came and went. I tore open copies of Marguerite Henry’s classics, Walter Farley’s, and Mary O’Hara’s. I devoured them all, and took out others from the library when I’d finished. No, I didn’t have a pony of my own in the backyard, but I had Morgans and Arabians and Mustangs. I trained and rode and cared for hundreds of horses each year of my childhood.
When we did finally move to Vermont and I grew more serious about riding, the Christmas horse books began to change. I got the United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship, The Whole Horse Catalog, and eventually Centered Riding…that was when I was 10 (I wrote about it HERE). Little did I know that one day I’d be part of the company that published this very book.
Second-Day and Next-Day Shipping are available through 12/21/17 at our online bookstore if you know someone who might, like me, love to find a few “horses” under the tree.
Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.