"When I can't ride anymore, I shall keep horses as long as I can hobble with a bucket and a wheelbarrow. When I can't hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze and watch them.
Whether by wheelbarrow or wheelchair, I will do likewise to keep alive - as long as I can do as best as I can - my connection with horses."
The above is a Monica Dickens quote (from her book Talking of Horses), for many who have similar feelings about the horse reading has been a way to have a "connection with horses". Here are some suggestions for winter reads:
World's End in Winter by Monica Dickens
Originally published in 1972
Description from the back cover of the 1993 Mammoth paperback pictured :
"The Fielding's first winter in the derelict house at World's End is a time of mysteries and changes. Dad gives up trying to sail around the world and wrestles with his book, Liza, who is almost one of the family, mysteriously vanishes. and Charlie the dog wins fame in a dog commercial.
Most important of all, the children meet a little girl who has been disabled in a riding accident and, egged on by Michael, they have a wild dream of teaching her to ride again...
This is the third story in the series about the extraordinary family who live at World's End."
Bloomsbury Publishing re-issued a paperback edition of World's End in Winter in 2012
What our reader says:
"Love the Fielding family with all their eccentricities, their animals and the way they live their lives. Kindness abounds, so it came as no surprise to me that their determination to get Priscilla riding again remained undaunted despite the opposition of her Mother. They refused to be thwarted even when disaster struck the barn and the roof fell in leaving them no where for Priscilla to ride. What did they do? No spoilers here, you'll have to read the book yourself to find out, I will however say that there are some very entertaining attempts to raise the necessary funds for a new roof."
Ponycraft Written and Illustrated by Anne Bullen
Published by: Blandford Press Ltd
Description from the back cover of the 1975 Blandford Press edition:
When this book was first published (1956), Pony described it as 'a delightful introduction to riding, to go with the first pony', and also commented: 'It is seldom that power of expression with both pen and pencil application of the subject go hand in hand as they do here, the result is a very charming book and also a useful one,'
Anne Bullen was well-known as an artist and a horsewoman. She and her husband built up one of the most successful studs of children's riding ponies in Great Britain.
Ponycraft outlines the history of ponies and horses, and instructs on how to choose a pony, how to school, care for, and feed him. Advice is given on equipment and saddles, and how to train the pony for riding and jumping, and prepare him for showing.
It includes a chapter on 'The Gymkhana Pony' and enlarges on the care of a pony's health, and how to detect and treat the more common ailments.
There are sixty attractive drawings by the author, many of them instructional. The portrait gallery of the best-known pony breeds in the British Isles has been extended to include the Connemara and Welsh ponies, and notes on each breed are given.
The jacket photograph was taken by Peter A. Harding at Colonel and Mrs. Bullen's stud in Gloucestershire during winter."
What our reader says
" Ponycraft is as the back blurb states a charming book, one can imagine Anne Bullen instructing her own children, who went on to become equestrian Olympiads, as well as the hundreds of children who visited her home for pony camps during the holidays, in exactly the same things she writes about in this book. Her accent would be that of 'Received Pronunciation' - "the accent of the social elite" (The British Library), sometimes called the BBC accent, heard in so many films and news reports from the first half of the 20th Century.
As one would expect of a a book on horse care written over 60 years ago not everything is applicable today, eg. we no longer think it wise to feed weekly bran mashes, it does however contain a lot of sound advice and an excellent chapter on the evolution of the horse.
Although the pony care is a little dated in places you'll want to buy this book for the exquisite illustrations. Anne Bullen was an incredibly talent artist, very popular as an illustrator of pony books, you may remember some of her illustrations from the early editions of the Pullein-Thompson sister's books. Ponycraft contains 60 of Anne Bullen's illustrations including those of the Ponies of Britain. If you love looking at exquisite drawings of equines seek out a copy of Ponycraft from amongst secondhand book seller, you will love it!"
The Ponies at the Edge of the World by Catherine Munro
Published by: Rider
Catherine Munro transforms her life when she moves to Shetland to study the hardy ponies who call this archipelago home. Over the course of her first year, she is welcomed into the rhythms and routines that characterise life at the edge of the world.
When faced with personal loss, Catherine finds comfort and connection in the shared lives of the people, animals and wild landscapes of Shetland. The Ponies at the Edge of the World ia a hearfelt love letter to the beauty and resilience of these magical ponies and their native land. This is a stunning book on community, hope and finding home.
What our reader says:
"Catherine Munro, an anthropologist in human-animal relationships, has written a truly lovely book about Shetland's nature, landscape, people, animals and of course ponies, two of whom she adopts, mare and daughter, Sugar and Yukon. If you don't already love Shetland ponies you will after reading this book, I absolutely loved it."
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Published by: Walker Books Ltd
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost's beloved poem movingly describes how a moment of stillness can contain a lifetime of experience. In this exquisitely illustrated gift book, a young woman takes in the silent, overwhelming beauty of the natural world around her, all the while knowing that she has miles to travel that, dark, frosty night. Prize-winning illustrator P.J. Lynch perfectly captures the tranquil magic of the wintry woods.
Our reader says:
"A beautiful picture book of a beautiful poem, P.J. Lynch's illustrations are exquisite. A must for all who hold a special place in their hearts' for Robert Frost's poem Stopping by "Woods on a Snowy Evening" and a gorgeous introduction to poetry for a child."
If you love pony books you might also enjoy our ponyhour gift guide for those who love pony books