This week, HN’s grown-up book critic Erin McCabe reveals her girlish weakness for horse encyclopedias.
Top photo: Horse-Books-Pony-Stories.com.
Editor’s Note: HN does not condone reading while riding bareback backwards without a bridle or helmet.
It Could be Worse: I could want another horse
I have an aforementioned weakness for Horse Encyclopedias. I have three on the “horse” shelf of my bookcase right now. Seriously. Right. Now. They harken back to the days when my parents still thought that bunnies and cats and the family dog might suffice as antidotes to my horse-crazyness. Back then I read any horse book I could find, as long as it wasn’t too hands-on (as in Hunt Seat Equitation or Practical Eventing), because books like that were depressing when there was no horse to practice on (it’s still depressing actually because even though I have ample opportunity, I don’t really want to ride without stirrups, no matter what George Morris says).
You might think more than twenty years after my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Coggins, gave me the last horse encyclopedia I added to the collection, after more than twenty years of riding, I might be kind of done with horse encyclopedias. You might think that when packing up twenty million boxes of books during my last move, I might have been inspired to rid of my collection. But you would be wrong. In fact, I have just found a book to add to my collection, a book that might be the coolest horse encyclopedia ever!
If you’re a 9-year-old girl.
Or you know a 9-year-old girl who needs a birthday present.
Or you’re me.
Horse: A Genuine and Authentic Guide: The Essential Guide for Young Equestrians.
Don’t let the title fool you. This is not a genre known for its clever titles (The Horse: A Complete Encyclopedia; or The Encyclopedia of the Horse; or The New Encyclopedia of the Horse, for example). And seriously, this book is the $h!!!!!t! Not only does it have all the information you’d expect in a horse encyclopedia (horse breeds and colors, tack parts, basic feeding requirements, grooming, tacking up and basic riding instructions), it’s chock-full of “novelty features.” In other words, it’s a horse-themed Griffin & Sabine for kids. I mean, who doesn’t want to take a mini-flip book showing the horse’s gaits to school (or work)? Who doesn’t want to fold out pages, open envelopes and stall doors, and lift up saddle flaps? Basically, I’m totally jealous that this book didn’t exist when I was a kid. And yeah, I’ve been trying for weeks to figure out how I can explain to my husband why our year-old son needs his first horse encyclopedia now.
And Mrs. Coggins, if you’re out there, The Encyclopedia of the Horse was great, but this is the book you should give your next horse-crazy student.