We asked adventuresses in our Facebook Group what their favorite horse travel books are and this is what they came up with: 39 must-read books about equestrian adventures! If you’re looking for inspiration for your next horse adventure or long distance horse riding trip, you’ve come to the right place! This is the Ultimate Horse Travel Book List – a guide to great adventure!
Author: Krystal Kelly
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After asking all the fellow adventuresses in our Facebook group, we were able to compile this comprehensive list of must-read books. Our goal is to provide you with the collective knowledge of humankind about horseback traveling. With this information you’ll be able to plan your own equestrian adventures and set off to explore the world!
This extensive list was first published in June 2019 and included 24 items. With continuous, amazing feedback from you, like-minded adventuresses, we were able to extend the list three times to now 39 must-read horse travel books, covering an incredible range of topics: from great adventures on horseback to heartwarming tales of courage and determination. Furthermore you’ll find some proven hands-on advice on how to organise your travels and how to pack all your belongings on the back of your equine friend.
The Ultimate Horse Travel Book List
- One Hundred and Four Horses by Mandy Retzlaff
A white Zimbabwean couple forced with the threat of death to leave their farm vowed to not only save themselves and find a new home, but save the horses too!
- Tschiffely’s Ride by Aimé Tschiffely
One man’s journey across 10,000 miles from the bottom of South America to Washington D.C. with his two amazing horses who save his life time and time again!
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, this is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.
- Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Syrian Journey by Gill Suttle
One woman’s incredible journey across Syria on horseback.
- Black Sands and Celestial Horses: Tracks Over Turkestan by Gill Suttle
One woman’s journey across Turkmenistan on horseback and her struggles to bring that horse back home to England!
- Steppe by Steppe: A Slow Journey Through Mongolia by Gill Suttle
Riding to the reindeer herders of Mongolia and other adventures on horseback are found in this memoir as Gill tries to cope with her newly diagnosed disorder in the vastness of Mongolia.
- Last of the Saddle Tramps: One Woman’s Seven Thousand Mile Equestrian Odyssey by Messanie Wilkins
In 1953 a 63 year old woman decided to trek 7,000 miles with her trusty horse, becoming one of America’s most unlikely equestrian heroines.
In the Company of Mules by Jody Foss
One woman’s journey from Idaho to Oregon with her mules.
- Mules across the great wide open by Jody Foss
Join Jody and her sister as they ride green-broke Appaloosas and pack the incredible mule Sarah Jane 1,300 miles from Park City Utah to Spokane Washington.
- The horse boy by Rupert Isaacson
When his son Rowan was diagnosed with autism, Rupert was devastated, but when he, a lifelong horseman, rode their neighbor’s horse with Rowan, Rowan improved immeasurably. He was struck with a crazy idea: why not take Rowan to Mongolia, the one place in the world where horses and shamanic healing intersected?
- The Long Ride Home by Rupert Isaacson
The second book from the “Horse Boy.”
- Eight Feet in the Andes by Dervla Murphy
The eight feet belong to Dervla Murphy, her nine-year-old daughter Rachel and Juana, an elegant mule, who together clambered the length of Peru, from Cajamarca near the border with Ecuador, to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, over 1300 miles to the south.
Horse Riding in Every Country curated by Krystal Kelly
This catalog with over 400 horse riding opportunities in more than 180 countries helps you find your very own unique horse riding adventure! Browse through and select your favourite equestrian adventure. It might be in a country you haven’t even heard of yet.
- In Ethiopia with a Mule by Dervla Murphy
In 1966 Dervla Murphy traveled the length and breadth of Ethopia, first on a mule and later on a donkey. The remarkable achievement was not surviving three armed robberies or the thousand-mile trail, but the gradual growth of affection for and understanding of another race.
- Where the Indus Is Young by Dervla Murphy
One winter, Dervla, the four-footed Hallam (the mule) and her six-year-old daughter Rachel explored ‘Little Tibet’ high up in the Karakoram Mountains in the frozen heart of the Western Himalayas – on the Pakistan side of the disputed border with Kashmir. For three months they travelled along the perilous Indus Gorge and into nearby valleys.
- Cameroon with Egbert by Dervla Murphy
This is an account of a trip which the author took with her daughter and their horse named Egbert to the remote West African country of Cameroon, little known apart from being the shelter of six million refugees from Chad.
- Unbreakable by Richard Askwith
In the Czechoslovak heartlands, vast crowds have gathered to watch the threatened nation’s most prestigious sporting contest: the Grand Pardubice steeplechase. The story of Lata Brandisová, in 1937 is one of the strangest and most inspiring in all sport. In the background are forces – sexism, class hatred, nationalism – whose shadows darken today’s world too. In the foreground are eccentric aristocrats, socialite spies, daredevil jockeys – and a race so brutal that some consider merely taking part in it a sign of insanity. At its heart is a unique hero, and a unique love affair between a woman and a horse.
- Strike a long trot by Shannon Yewell Weil
Chronicles the distinguished early career of Linda Tellington-Jones, ranging from the 100-mile Tevis Cup Ride to Hunter Trials at Pebble Beach.
- Confessions of a Timid Rider by Heather Wallace
Confessions of a Timid Rider is a memoir detailing one woman’s insights into being an anxiety-ridden but passionate equestrian. After returning to riding as a mother, she is determined to follow her dreams despite the fear she is somehow lacking in talent or ability.
- Between fire and shadow by Isabel Wolf-Gillespie and Lloyd Gillespie
Inspired by an intrinsic and powerful passion for horses, Lloyd Gillespie and Isabel Wolf-Gillespie set off on a life changing epic adventure journey across the far corners of South Africa eventually covering a total of over 7411 kilometers.
- On the trail of Genghis Khan by Tim Cope
Tim Cope embarked on a journey that hadn’t been successfully completed since those times: to travel on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary. Accompanied by his dog Tigon, he went from horse-riding novice to travelling three years and 10,000 kilometres on horseback.
- The Encyclopedia of Equestrian Exploration Volume I, II & III by CuChullaine O’Reilly
The three-volume Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is the most extensive study of equestrian travel ever created.
- The Horse Travel Handbook by CuChullaine O’Reilly
Traditional challenges such as loading a pack saddle, avoiding dangerous animals, fording rivers and outwitting horse thieves are covered here along with ingenious solutions to modern dilemmas like crossing international borders, surviving vehicle traffic and negotiating with hostile bureaucrats. The horse travel handbook covers all aspects of equine welfare including feeding, watering, saddling and health care. Technical details such as daily travel distance, where to locate nightly shelter and ways to avoid cultural conflicts are among the hundreds of specific topics examined.
- Fearless by Chloe Phillips-Harris
Suffering through searing pain and delirious illness in frigid, makeshift conditions, Chloe Phillips-Harris, at the age of 25 years, summoned every ounce of determination to brave the world’s most gruelling horse race – the Mongol Derby. This 1000-kilometre endurance race across the wild steppes, desert and mountains of Mongolia
- The Courage to Ride: One Women’s 17,000-Mile Mounted Odyssey from Argentina to Canada by Ana Beker
In the early 1940s Beker heard a lecture given by Aimé Tschiffely, who had himself ridden from Argentina to Washington DC ten years earlier. When the famous horseman scoffed at the young girl’s idea to ride alone even further than he had, from Argentina to Canada, Beker accepted Tschiffely’s challenge, mounted up, and never looked back. What followed was an equestrian journey of Homeric proportions. With her eyes always on the horizon, Beker began a 17,000 mile mounted odyssey that would fix her place in the annals of equestrian travel history.
- Crying with Cockroaches: Argentina to New York with Two Horses by Marianne Du Toit
Travelling from Argentina to New York City over 21 months: With limited equestrian experience, only one contact and an unknown continent, she persevered. Despite it being a journey of heartbreak, frustration, bureaucracy, loneliness, danger, and hunger, nothing stopped her from following her heart. Heart-warming encounters with local people combined with many hair-raising and dangerous moments make this book a page-turner.
- White Horses over France: from the Camargue to Cornwall by Robin Hanbury-Tenison
This tells the story of a magical journey – and how, in fulfilment of a personal dream, the first Camargue horses set foot on British soil in the late summer of 1984. It is also a vigorous celebration of life on horseback, and in particular a tribute to two enchanting and affectionate characters who, bred for their stamina, intelligence and skill at working with bulls, proved to be scared stiff of cows – and even sheep.
- The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts
In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find – his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine – an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food.
- Horse Packing: A Manual of Pack Transportation by Charles Johnson Post
- Horses, Hitches, and Rocky Trails by Joe Back
Written in the language of the West, this is a complete and often humorous presentation of packing horses into the wilderness. Amplified by the beautiful, often witty drawings, Back includes step-by-step instructions on preparing for wilderness trips and also how to cope with the elements.
- Land of Eagles: Riding through Europe’s Forgotten Country by Robin Hanbury-Tenison
Albania is the least-known and least developed country in Europe. It has a long, rich and troubled past, characterised by unrest and isolationism. Today, very little is known of its people – beyond those who have emigrated to other countries in Europe – and its landscapes have remained virtually untravelled for centuries. Determined to discover the country behind the stereotypes and preconceptions, Robin Hanbury-Tenison and his wife Louella rode across Albania, from Thethi in the north to the border with Greece in the south.
- Techniques du voyage à cheval by Emile Brager
The book “Horse Riding Techniques” is for those who go on horseback for several days, months, or even years.
- Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race by Lara Prior-Palmer
Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of the “the world’s longest, toughest horse race” race, the Mongol Derby.
- The Last Secrets of the Silk Road: In the Footsteps of Marco Polo by Horse and Camel by Alexandra Tolstoy
Alexandra Tolstoy recounts the incredible sojourn she made with three companions in 1999 through some of the least-explored countries and areas of the world: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, the Taklamakan Desert, and China.
- Before Winter Comes: A Journey on Horseback from Scotland to Cornwall by Cathleen Leonard
In the late summer of 2017 Cathleen Leonard set off on an epic adventure to realise a childhood dream. Taking her rescued draught horse, Taliesin, and her wolfdog, Spirit, she travelled over 1,000 miles from Durness in the northwest of Scotland back to her home in Cornwall. This is the story of one woman’s journey of self-discovery, courage, determination, and encounters with the better side of human nature.
- A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird
In 1873, Isabella Bird rode her horse through the American Wild West, a terrain only newly opened to pioneer settlement. The letters that make up this volume tell of magnificent, unspoiled landscapes and abundant wildlife, of encounters with rattlesnakes, wolves, pumas and grizzly bears, and her reactions to the volatile passions of the miners and pioneer settlers. A classic account of a truly astounding journey.
- Unbeaten Tracks in Japan by Isabella L. Bird
As of the first Western women to author a book about the Japanese islands, Isabella Bird was keen to relay her observations as accurately as she could manage. The isolationist policy of Japan, which forbade any foreigners from travelling inland, had only recently been lifted. Bird was thus able to witness the urban culture of Tokyo and the rural areas surrounding it, together with the large, northerly island of Hokkaido.
- The Deaf, the Daft and the Ditsy by Karen Inkster
In 2017 Karen, Pip and Connie set off across the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Unsupported and carrying all their equipment they spent 18 days crossing 13 islands. Experiencing 16 days of rain, bogs, ditches and midges, yet described by Karen as a humbling experience, this is the story of their amazing journey together.
This book is self published and only available via the linked Facebook Page. Proceeds go to charity.
- The Maze: A Desert Journey by Lucy Rees
By American standards, the Welsh couple were ill-equipped for desert travel: wrong horses, no pack mules, no guns. In Prescott, Arizona, they bought two horses for a journey that would take them across desert, high plateau and half of Navajoland to see a stone carving on the Hopi reservation, reputedly identical to one in Cornwall known as the Cretan maze.
- Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback by Bernice Ende
Bernice Ende traversed the Great Plains, the Southwest deserts, the Cascade Range, and the Rocky Mountains and was the first person to ride coast-to-coast and back again in a single trek. Through her rides, she shares the heartfelt and inspiring story of inner struggles and triumphs.
- Long Riders’ Guild books
Over the years the Long Riders’ Guild Press published over 50 books with unique and inspiring travel stories and adventure reports. Feel free to browse through this vast collection of printed awesomeness.
Don’t forget to check out our other helpful resources! You can find packing lists with essential items and great tips from other adventuresses. Furthermore you get valuable advice on other topics including tips to take the perfect horse riding adventure photo!