HJ Riding Book for ~9 y.o. Child?

The girl’s aunt asked me if I knew of a book that was like the classic George Morris book, but geared more towards younger kids. Girl is about 9, eager to learn, did her first show in walk-trot two months ago, and is jumping x’s at home.

I thought of the Pony Club D book. I remember a yellow (?) C.W. Anderson book that is probably way out of print. A search on here came up with a thread from 2013 that suggested “Happy Horsemanship” by Dorothy H. Pinch among others.


I loved this book as a kid… lots of pics and comprehensive.

Complete Book of Horses and Riding https://www.amazon.com/dp/0760749493/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_SNFJCHA6B41AQ93MXQ67


School for Young Riders by Jane Marshall Dillon. https://www.amazon.com/School-Young-Riders-Marshall-Dillon/dp/B0000CK6UQ/ref=sr_1_2?crid=R9MMR8USR96K&keywords=school+for+young+riders&qid=1638165962&sprefix=school+for+you%2Caps%2C225&sr=8-2


I would highly recommend the pony club books. They are a great resource. I’d suggest getting her the whole set.


When I was that age, I got a non-fiction, memoir-type book about a girl in America who had a backyard pony and she took it to a hunter-jumper barn and learned to ride there. She had been self taught before, I think. I believe she was young in the 50s/60s, maybe?

Sorry to be so vague. I’m hoping someone else also read this book. To this day I remember loving that book so much. I read it straight through that Christmas and was done by St. Stephen’s Day and I remember being so sad it was finished. It made such an impression that I did track it down and bought an old copy years ago.

However, when I was living in an earthquake-prone country, I boxed up most of my physical books and sent them back home, so I can’t get the title now. But, it was my favourite Christmas present book ever. I’ll try to get someone back to look for it and give you the name.


@FitzE A Very Young Rider ???


I don’t remember anything about her being shadowed by a photographer so I don’t think that’s it, but that does sound like a beloved classic like the one I’m thinking of.

This was written by the woman about when she was young. She had a pony in the backyard and then she got to opportunity to go to a H/J barn and she got to ride all kinds of horses as well as her own. There were mostly old snap shots and stuff, no professional photography.

Happy Horsemanship is a great one, written from the perspective of the horse. I bought it for my “student” as a gift.


Also Gordon Wright’s classic Learing to Ride, Hunt and Show. Not specifically geared towards kids, but written in plain language, with lots and lots of great illustrations. I still give it as a gift to kids and adults who are interested in learning to ride.


I loved A Very Young Rider as a child (I wore my hair in braids, and a t-shirt over a turtleneck to copy Viv for ages), and gave an old copy to an adult as a gift. But just as a warning, the original edition presents George Morris in a very laudatory fashion, including his advice to the young rider’s sister she needed to lose weight (to the point of fainting in school). It’s very much a period piece.

Everyone’s naming classics I adore, but unless the kid is really into old-timey stuff, I’d suggest something more modern. The Pony Club manuals are updated, of course, and Happy Horsemanship still holds up.

I took Judy Richter’s Riding for Kids out of the library when I was getting back to riding as an adult and thought it was very well-done.


I’m an adult and read Hunter Seat Equitation (I’m kind of a horse book geek who’s built up a small collection of books older and modern) and frankly thought it was kind of overhyped (read it before GM got nailed by SafeSport - would never buy it after all that, wouldn’t want to support a pedo by buying his book, personally.). The advice, sure, was solid albeit dated in places (but not something that couldn’t be found in any other book written by a hunter/jumper rider at that level) but the writing was not good IMO. Too wordy, not concise. And yes I’ve read other books from riders of that era and realize that the writing style is somewhat generational. But I read Bill Steinkraus’s books (don’t ask me how but I lucked out and found a 1961 edition of the original Riding and Jumping (less common I think, the one I usually see is '68 and has Snowbound on the cover not Ksar D’Esprit) on eBay or Amazon a few years back for like $10 and bought it out of curiosity and have read the more recent (written in the early '90s) Reflections on Riding and Jumping) and thought those were hands-down better written than anything Morris has probably written in his entire life if Unrelenting and Hunter Seat Equitation are anything to go on. Then again Steinkraus did actually work as a book editor at one point, so.

Sorry don’t have a lot of riding-related book recs for that age group (I don’t really think there are many written for that age group actually, at least I don’t hear of many but then again I’m not usually shopping for horse books for kids so…) but for a fun fiction horse read for age range, check out Carrie Seim’s book Horse Girl! (I read a copy - won’t go into how/why here and I’m an adult and had fun reading it! It does include little fun facts in footnotes at the bottom of some pages so it’s somewhat educational despite being fiction. :slight_smile: )

I definitely agree that Steinkraus was a great writer, although I don’t really feel I appreciated his books until I was an adult. Kids usually learn best from books with lots of photos, preferably of age-appropriate kids, since the body of a kid on a horse looks somewhat different than an adult. I disagree respectfully that there weren’t great kids books on riding–I read many. I think it’s better for a kid today to find something newer, though, since photos of tack and horses from fifty or more years ago might be a bit off-putting for some 9 year-olds (although I loved history at that age).

Yep. wasn’t really recommending the books themselves, sorry, that was a bit of an off topic tangent on my part. :rofl: (couldn’t help it entirely, saw people talking about Hunter Seat Equitation and was just like, “I mean it was okaaaaaay but am I the only equestrian who thinks that book got overrated for a while there?”)

Horse Girl though - totally awesome if anyone needs a good fiction book.

Sadly again, coming up short on non-fiction. Most of the non-fiction horse books I had or read growing up (late 20s, so late '90s and early-to-mid '00s) were like, kid friendly reference books of breeds and tack.

I do recall gladly consuming issue after issue of Horse Illustrated when I was 13, 14, 15-ish. But the little I’ve seen of it in recent years I think it’s taken a nosedive in quality. I want to say they used to have a more kid-friendly magazine too, but I can’t think of the name now and I’d be surprised if it still exists. I’m not even sure when I last saw a copy of Horse Illustrated in a Tractor Supply/Rural King.


Fiction-wise Kate Lattey’s Pony Jumpers series is gripping for me even as an adult, and also contains lots of wonderful facts about horse riding life in New Zealand.

Horse Crazy! Is a fun crafts and horse fact book for kids.

This is also a fun, recent book.

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Thought of this - I haven’t seen a copy (yet - actually plan to buy one for my adult self b/c I’m curious) but Caitlin Gooch, who runs the non-profit Saddle Up & Read, has a Black Equestrians coloring book out that I believe has a lot of interesting history in it, also. Proceeds from the book go right back to SUAR, too.

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Nope, I never quite got it either. I probably got as much from the many pics of lovely riding than from reading the actual text.

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School for Young Riders? It’s linked a few posts above yours.


Could be School for Young Riders (see above) by Mrs Dillon, focusing on the young Kathy Kusner.


The Monday horses?

She might be slightly older than the book’s recommended age, but the cool thing is that the horse featured in it is competing at the top levels, so it’s a cute story that ties into something she can follow in real time.
They might also be able to find suggested titles based on Amazon’s suggestions.

She might be a little young for The Saddle Club… if those are still around… but that was what I was reading around 9 or 10, I believe? Not really instructional, but definitely relatable.

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