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Horses and Riding

Horse mad children (usually girls) are very one track minded so they prefer books with horse connections. General  books about horses appeal to a wide age range but it's important to match how-to books to the reader's riding ability as well as her age. All the books reviewed here are non-fiction. If you're looking for reviews of fiction for pony lovers, try Jane Badger Books.

• Books for beginners
Competent Riders   
Advanced and Competition Level 
. General Interest

Books for Beginners
Click for Writing for ChildrenStarting Riding by Helen Edom and Lesley Sims
(Usborne)
This is an excellent book for complete beginners as it gives plenty of attention to the very first lessons with information on how to mount. how to hold the reins and how it feels to sit on a pony for the first time. From there it progresses to stopping, starting, turning and trotting before moving on to cantering, games and jumping. It finishes in the stable dealing with saddles and bridles but doesn't include any other stable management. The clear, colourful illustrations are  informative and feature typical riding school ponies. A good choice for beginners in the 7-11 age group. Younger children could enjoy it with help but older ones would probably find the illustrations too young.                                         (with thanks to Maddie) 
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Click for Writing for ChildrenThe Usborne Complete Book of Riding and Pony Care 
by Rosie Dickens and Gill Harvey
A beautifully presented hardback gift book with plenty of excellent colour photos and drawings showing people enjoying themselves. It provides clear, thorough  instruction on basic riding skills and horse care which is ideal for beginners but too basic for those who can already walk, trot and canter competently. Recommended as a present for a child of 8-13 who has just started riding.  
                                                     (with thanks to Laura)
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Competent Riders
Click for Writing for Children Grooming and Stable Management by Lucy Smith
(Usborne)
An interesting  book  with clear instructions illustrated by full colour drawings, photos, charts and diagrams (although my reviewer commented that no one in the pictures looked as if they were enjoying themselves). Although it's only 32 pages long, it covers everything you need to know about caring for a horse including spotting signs of illness and using toys in the stable to prevent boredom. It's too complicated for a complete beginner and too simple for those already caring for a horse but a very good choice for 10 to 14 year olds who have been riding for about a year.                   (with thanks to Laura)
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Advanced and Competition Level
Click for Writing for ChildrenJumping by Kate Needham|
(Usborne)
An informative book which teaches you to jump correctly with the help of informative colour photos and drawings used in all the right places. It covers everything you need to know about jumping including solving common mistakes, making jumps, tackling different types of jumps and dealing with difficult ponies. In addition, it describes the different jumping  competitions and how to make sure you are ready for them. Packing all this into 32 pages long results in it moving swiftly from one topic to another. Despite this, it is an excellent choice for 10 to 16 year olds who already ride well and are keen to learn more.                                  (with thanks to Laura)
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Click for Writing for ChildrenA Young Person's Guide to Eventing by Gill Watson
(A Pony Club publication)
This book looks at dressage, cross country and show jumping and the way they are combined into a single art in the form of one, two and three day events. Written in an easily understandable style with clear, simple black and white illustrations, it provides a very good general outline of what eventing involves plus plenty of accurate information about competing in each of the separate fields. That varies between advanced information and more basic advice more suited to general riding books but the overall effect is good and the cross country coverage is particularly useful. The only bad point is a tendency to aim so much at advanced competition that it may put off a beginner who doesn't realise that small local events are less demanding. varies in. A good choice for experienced riders from 12 to adult interested in eventing, especially those with their own horse or  pony as it is difficult to reach this level without one.                         (with thanks to Clare)
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General Interest  
Click for Writing for ChildrenHorse: An Eyewitness Guide
(Dorling Kindersley)
This is very much a book about horses rather than riding. It looks at their evolution, their behaviour and their close relatives in the animal kingdom as well as their role in history, sport and the world of work.   As with all books in the Eyewitness series, its stunning photographs are surrounded with interesting paragraphs of information - an arrangement which allows the pictures to dominate the pages and avoids large, unbroken chunks of text. Interesting for anyone from
8 upwards who is interested in horses, regardless of whether they ride or not.  
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Click for Writing for ChildrenHorse Stories that Really Happened by Diana Kimpton
(Scholastic)
I wrote this one so I can't really review it. However I can tell you it's a book of six true adventure stories about horses
written for children age 8 and over and that my favourite is the tale of an orphaned mustang foal's fight for survival.   

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