The Horsemasters by Don Stanford

This horse story is based on real life, in particular, the daily chores of caring for horses at a riding school in Great Britain. I never read this title as a child, but discovered it recently and loved it!

1957 Funk & Wagnalls first edition hardcover
1957 Funk and Wagnalls first edition

The majority of horse books for children and young adults tend to glamorize horse ownership. There are exceptions, of course, but few books really dig into the sheer work that owning a horse entails and this is what I loved here. Details like feeding the horse on time, keeping it groomed, cleaning its stall, its tack and treating its ailments are often only casually mentioned or completely ignored in other books. But it’s just these tidbits that bring home what owning a horse might be like.

Basing his fictional tale on the very real Porlock Vale Equestrian Centre in Great Britain, Mr. Stanford gives us chapter after chapter of mucking out, cleaning yards, grooming, treating horse ailments, having falls and other riding incidents, and creates a wonderfully entertaining read from the everyday life of a student!

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Come Down the Mountain – Vian Smith

Most fiction from the pony book genre starts with a boy or girl who desperately wants a horse. He or she usually acquires a horse. And proceeds to successfully tame, ride, show or race the horse.

Come Down the Mountain is a bit different than the norm in several ways. The most obvious is the dust jacket artwork. There’s nary a horse to be found, a quite unusual approach by the publishers!

Doubleday 1967 American hardcover edition of "Come Down the Mountain" by Vian Smith
Doubleday 1967 American edition
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