I’m not sure if girls are still as horse-crazy as they were when I was younger, but there do not seem to be many selections for YA readers. As children, they might have liked The Saddle Club, the Thoroughbred series, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague books, Chris Platt’s Willow King series and other books or especially Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series. What do they read when they get older? Browsing one day through the library stacks, I found Firehorse.
In 19th century Boston, Rachel Selby is miserable because her family has moved, her beloved horse was taken away from her, her father is controlling and manipulative, and her mother seems to be overly submissive to her husband’s wishes. Rachel must act like a lady, dress like a lady, and leave her fascination and wild-girl tendencies for horses behind. Boston has its own crisis, however, that leads Rachel to be responsible for a badly burned firehorse, one of the horses that pull the fire engine for the fire brigade. Rachel tries to nurse Governor’s Girl back to health and fuels her desire to be a female veterinary, a taboo for women in that day and age. It’s a novel about freedom, courage, independence, and honest love and duty.
I considered this a good read, but not one that I would need to read again.
I took the liberty of trying to find other horsey reads for teens. They are listed here by series or individual books.
Series: Saddle Creek, Whirlwind/Shadow Horse, Timber Ridge Riders, Canterwood Crest, Horses of Oak Valley, Pegasus Equestrian Center, The A Circuit.
Books: Believing in Horses, The Outside of a Horse, War Horse, Horses and Heartbeats.