How to Start a Horse-Themed Book Club

Get your equestrian friends together—and make new ones—while enjoying horse-related books and conversation by starting a barn book club.

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Horse book club

 

If you’re like most people, you enjoy a good book, but probably don’t have a whole lot of extra time to read. Even though it may seem like one more thing on your to-do list, why not make a commitment to reading one book a month?

Commitments tend to go better when you have someone to hold you accountable, so gather a group of horsey friends and start a book club. Because, let’s be honest, what you really want to read is about horses, anyway!

Take a look at our list of 30 of the best horse books >>

Who to Invite

A book club is an instance where bigger is not always better; book clubs usually require meshing of already packed-to-the-brim schedules, and really, just how many horse people you fit at your dining room table?

Most clubs typically have between six and eight members, enough that you get a really good cross section of people, but small enough that each can commit to reading and attending meetings. Most clubs try to meet monthly or every six weeks; meeting more often isn’t usually enough time to finish a longer book, and going longer than that might let the speedy readers forget what the book was about.

While you can invite your existing barn buds, this is also an opportunity to reach out beyond your close-knit clique and try to incorporate friends of friends. The easiest way is to start with one or two people who you know might be interested. Chat with them when you see them at the barn and ask if they know anyone else who would be excited to join in. If you and two friends can each think of one additional person, you’ll have a booming book club before you know it.

How it Works

Book clubs can work any number of ways, but typically the founder of the club picks the first book and takes the lead on finding a time that works for everyone. Group texts, email, and/or a shared Google calendar can be your friend here. Your scheduled book club get-together could be anything from brunch on the weekends, dinner during the week or an excuse for a girls’ night out on a weekend. Regardless, most clubs make sure each member is committed to reading the book—even if it’s terrible. And be prepared for some doozies! Some clubs even give out silly awards each year to “best” and “worst” book pick.

It’s easiest if the next person to choose a book falls in line alphabetically, then there’s never any question as to who goes next. Many clubs hold meetings at the host person’s house and include casual meals, drinks and discussion – which can get heated! Be prepared to get sidetracked into discussion about the horse world, horses, the show scene, equine ailments or anything else horsey. That’s really why you’re together!

Book Club: Equine Edition

Since conversation within a group of equestrians inevitably detours into horsey territory anyway, why not ask that all books be horse-related? This doesn’t mean that you need to read only educational tomes; there’s thousands of books that feature horses as a main character. You could even branch out and make sure that there is simply a horse or equine scene in the novel.

Book clubs can even include off-the-wall choices, like a choose-your own-adventure or a kids or young adult book. There are no hard-and-fast rules for book clubs.

Here are some options for horse books to get you started:

Classics:

  • Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
  • National Velvet, by Enid Bagnold
  • Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry
  • The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck
  • The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley

Young Adult:

  • The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis
  • The A Circuit, by Georgina Bloomberg
  • Headed for the Wind, by Rachael Eliker
  • Ambition, by Natalie Keller Reinert
  • Dancing with Horses, by Toni Mari

Fiction:

  • Summer of the Redeemers, by Carolyn Haines
  • The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans
  • The Longest Ride, by Nicholas Sparks
  • Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts
  • Horse Heaven, by Jane Smiley

Nonfiction:

  • The Horse: The Epic History of our Noble Companion, by Wendy Williams
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Eighty Dollar Champion, by Elizabeth Letts
  • Horse Sense for People, by Monty Roberts
  • Horse People, by Michael Korda

Sarah Coleman has been lucky enough to have been a part of the same book club for the last 11 years. She considers the horsewomen in it to be some of her best friends.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I have read some many of these books, and everyone is great. Also, check out the link to the 30 best horse books. I didn’t yet, but as soon as I submit this I will.

  2. Sarah Coleman,
    Wonderful article. Love the concept of a barn book club. Would like to suggest an added category. The Tweens are left out of this list. Suggest The Morgan Horse series by Judy Feld, several by Dandi McCall and may I suggest my new release on Amazon. Selah’s Sweet Dream. It has a GOLD Award from Feathered Quill. I would like to offer my book to you to read. If you’d like to review it that would be a plus. I will send you either a paperback or an ebook. Thank you for you consideration and the great book club idea.

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