New at the library

Today is the running of the Belmont Stakes, the third and final race on the way to horse racing’s Triple Crown. This year we will not have a Triple Crown winner. Maybe next year there will be one. To get you in the mood for either a nice ride, watching your favorite racing around the track, or learning more about horses, listed below are a few stories, fiction and non-fiction, and a few series of horse stories.

Phantom Stallion, a series by Terri Farley, includes “Gift Horse,” “The Wild One,” “Wild Honey,” “The Challenger,” “Desert Dancer” and “The Renegade.” They are located in the paperback section of the juvenile department.

The New Horse-Powered Farm by Stephen Leslie. In an era when fuel is a primary concern, draft horses are seen by many as the solution to small-scale, resilient farming with a closed-loop system. Horses bring farmers back to the roots of what it means to work the land and present a viable model for a lasting small farm. This is the first book of its kind, offering wisdom and techniques for using horse power on the small farm or homestead. “This book is not about trying to go back to some idyllic past,” writes author and longtime horse farmer Stephen Leslie. “It is designed to be a manual to help us move a few steps forward to a more sustainable future.” This book is a must-have resource for any farmer, homesteader, or teamster seeking to work with draft power in a closed-loop farming system.

Canterwood Crest, a series by Jessica Burkhart, includes “Unfriendly Competition,” “Scandals, Rumors, Lies,” “Elite Ambition” and “City Secrets: Home Sweet Drama.” They are located in the paperback and fiction sections of the juvenile department.

Heartland, a series by Lauren Brooke, includes “A Winter’s gift,” “From This Day On,” “True Enough,” “Out Of The Darkness,” “Taking Chances” and “Breaking Free.” Find these in the paperback section of the juvenile department.

Saddled, how a spirited horse reined me in and set me free by Susan Richards. One day, at age 31, Susan Richards realized that she was an alcoholic. She wrote it down in her journal, struck by the fact that it had taken nine years of waking up hung over to name her illness. What had changed? Susan had a new horse, a spirited Morgan named Georgia, and, as she says: “It had something to do with Georgia. It had something to do with making a commitment as enormous as caring for a horse that might live as my companion for the next 40 years. It had something to do with love.” Every day Susan lives a little more and thinks about her mistakes a little less. Every day she learns a little more from Georgia, the kind of horse who doesn’t go in for indecision, who doesn’t apologize for her opinions, and who isn’t afraid to be herself. In Georgia, Susan finds something to draw her back to herself, but also something to keep her steady and focused, to teach her about stepping carefully in unknown territory, to help her learn again about balance. This is a memoir about the power of animals to carry us through the toughest times of our lives, about the importance of constancy, the beauty of quiet, steadfast love, the way loving a good (and sometimes bad!) animal can keep you going.

Chosen By A Horse by Susan Richards. A new chapter opens for Susan when she agrees to care for an abused horse rescued by the local SPCA. Her life has been difficult: her mother died when she was five and she was sent to live with unsympathetic and abusive relatives; she married unhappily and was divorced; she’d been an alcoholic. Now, at age 43, she lives with three horses who keep her company; diva-like Georgia, a Morgan mare, and Tempo and Hotshot, both quarter horse geldings. At the SPCA Susan finds 20 sick, exhausted mares, together with their foals, milling about the muddy paddock. The horse she selected by name is impossible to find among the panicked herd. So, when an emaciated bay mare stumbles up the ramp to the trailer, followed by her foal, Susan agrees to take her. The mare’s name is Lay Me Down, and with her arrival, Susan finds that she has acquired more than a horse: she has found a friend whose unstinting love makes it possible for Susan, in turn, to heal from the wounds that she has suffered, and respond to love. Poignant and evocative, this is a book for anyone who has ever loved a horse, and for everyone who has ever lost a loved one.

Hollywood Hoofbeats, trails blazed across the silver screen by Petrine Day Mitchum and Audrey Pavia. In 1938, a Western actor looking for a movie partner mounted a golden palomino, headed out of the stable to try his paces, and rode into film legend. Bonding instantly, the cowboy with the twinkling eyes and the stallion with the flowing white mane would become one of the most famous teams in silver screen history, Roy Rogers and Trigger. Whether serving as faithful companion or running wild and free, the cinematic horse has intrigued audiences for more than a century. In “Hollywood Hoofbeats,” authors Mitchum and Pavia share a wealth of information on the lives of movie horses. Inside the pages of the book, versatile horses carry singing cowboys across American’s West in films such as “Under The Western Stars” and battle it out in grueling chariot races in historic epics such as “Ben Hur.” Mitchum examines the dangerous stunts equine actors have been forced to perform, such as the 75-foot plunge off a cliff into a raging river that killed two of them during the filming of “Jesse James.” Yet she also focuses on the lighter side of equine filmdom, revealing, for instance, how trainers got Frances the Talking Mule and Mister Ed to “talk” on command. Readers will find themselves fascinated, saddened, enchanted and amused as they delve into the lives and exploits of the horses who have blazed trails across the silver screen.

High Hurdles a series by Lauraine Snelling, includes “Class Act,” “Raising the Bar,” “Storm Clouds” and “Out of the Blue.” These titles can be found in the young adult paperback area.

– Arlette Dubord

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