I am already a few books deep into 2020 and have started reading my first horse book of the year! It feels so good to dip into an equestrian story… and I super love that it’s set in Maryland Horse Country, since I spent some time as a teenager eventing in Maryland. I love Ocala, Lex is divine, Saratoga is heaven itself, but maybe Hunt Valley deserves a little more literary love, huh?
I love setting up my TBR list for the year with some must-reads (I leave plenty of room for sudden finds at the library and the bookstore, believe me) so I’m sticking some horse books I absolutely don’t want to miss in 2020.
Most of these books have already come out and I’m just catching up with them. So I have no doubt this post will get longer as equestrian authors start releasing 2020 titles. The more the merrier!
*This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, but buy your books wherever it makes you happy! I’ve included publisher direct links when available.*
TBR: Horse Books I’m Reading in 2020
Taking Off, by Laurie Berglie
This is the third book in Laurie Berglie’s Equestrian Romance series and I’m so excited for it. Berglie writes with such a light hand and a clear eye, effortlessly sucking us into the lives, loves, and worries of her characters. Ever since her first lovely novel, Where the Bluegrass Grows, came out (way back in 2016!) I’ve been rooting for Berglie to continue writing her stories about contemporary horsewomen who find themselves before they settle for the wrong life.
Diane Crump: A Horse-Racing Pioneer’s Life in the Saddle, by Mark Shrager
Every year a lot of great horse racing biographies come out, about both horses and riders. Every year I mean to read some and don’t. What can I say, I’m a fiction girl! But I’m definitely intrigued by Diane Crump, who somehow manages not to be a famous figure in today’s female-first equestrian world despite her big, bold decision in the late 1960s to become a jockey. And not just any jockey, but a successful winning rider who went on to compete in the Kentucky Derby just a year after her debut at Gulfstream Park. This book releases in May 2020, so add it to your alerts or pre-order your copy!
Down the Centre Line, by Hazel Beecroft
I’ve been meaning to read Hazel Beecroft’s eventing books forever. Her covers are lovely, her titles are clever, and I just know when I finally dig in, I’m going to treat myself to a story by someone who really knows her topic. Plus, she’s British and I love English prose — not to mention how fun their eventing scene looks! So I’m promising myself Down the Centre Line, which has a very straight-into-the-action beginning with the inner thoughts of Andrew, who wins every event and sleeps with every girl on the circuit and still isn’t satisfied. Andrew, you naughty thing. Tell me more.
Many Brave Fools, by Susan E. Conley
I confess, this book has been everywhere for the past year and I just haven’t had any interest in it. Then I listened to Conley’s interview with Carly Kade on The Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast and wow, interest piqued! I just really enjoyed Conley’s speaking and the way she framed her thoughts. I’m not much on the “horses healing humans” genre for myself, but Conley seems to approach the therapeutic side of horses from a purely scientific and experiential background, which fascinates me. Plus, she started riding for the first time in her life in her 40s. In Ireland. I have to know all about that experience. It’s on the list!
Distant Skies: An American Journey on Horseback, by Melissa A. Priblo Chapman
One read of the blurb for this upcoming release from equestrian publisher Trafalgar Square Books, and I was hooked.
“Melissa Chapman was 23 years old and part of a happy, healthy, loving family. She had a decent job, a boyfriend she cared about, and friends she enjoyed. Yet on the first of May in 1982, she said good-bye to all of it. Carrying a puppy named Gypsy, she climbed aboard a horse and rode away from everything, heading west.”
MELISSA, tell me everything! I absolutely adore middle/rural America travelogues. Truly, one of the best books I read last year was The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, which features a modern-day trip across what’s left and accessible of The Oregon Trail. And I go back to Bad Land and Old Glory: A Journey Down the Mississippi by Jonathan Raban quite frequently. I love it when writers go wandering the countryside. So this is absolutely in my wheelhouse. Can’t wait for this April 2020 release!
Just a Groom, by Laurie Twizel
Everyone’s been telling me to read Laurie Twizel’s eventing novels for the past two years, and for some reason I just haven’t yet. I’m fixing that this year. And maybe it was a good thing I waited, because now there are three books in the Hearts & Horse Trials Series! When I look over the Amazon reviews, I see five stars from some of my regular readers, so I know there’s something good happening inside these pages. Romance and eventing: the perfect combination.
That’s just the start of my equestrian TBR list for 2020! I’ll keep updating this post throughout the year. Got recommendations? Put them in the comments!