Tween horse books and horse book series for tweens (and tween girls, especially) are much-loved by fans of the genre. I don’t read too many horse books, but I do have several horse fans in my life that it was almost essential to make this list. Contrary to popular opinion, boys also read horse books and in this list of middle grade books about horses, I was pleased to find several with boy protagonists. If you have a kid (or you are) nuts about horse books for tweens, this list is for you!
Best Horse Books and Series for Tweens
Here are 18 of the best horse books and horse book series for tweens girls and boys:
American Horse Tales Series
Published: June 29, 2021
A young girl named Ginny and her family are dealing with the hardships of the Great Depression, and in order to survive, her dad decides they must sell their horse, and Ginny’s best friend, Thimble. But Ginny will do anything in order to find a way for them to stay together, and chooses to leave her family in Oklahoma and travel west to California. The Dust Bowl is part of a series of books written by several authors highlighting the unique relationships between young girls and their horses.
Meg and Merlin: Making Friends
Published: January 06, 2022
Meg treasures every moment that she gets to spend riding, and she has always longed for a pony of her own.
She knows Mum and Dad can’t afford a pony – they can’t even afford her weekly riding lessons any more. But on the morning of her tenth birthday, Meg looks out the window to an unbelievable sight … a pony standing in the front garden. Have all of Meg’s wishes come true?
Published: March 30, 2021
Wills is a seventh grader who’s head-over-hoof for horses, and beyond excited when she gets the chance to start training at the prestigious Oakwood Riding Academy. But Amara–the Queen of the #HorseGirls–and her posse aren’t going to let the certifiably dork-tagious Wills trot her way into their club so easily. Between learning the reins of horse riding, dealing with her Air Force pilot mom being stationed thousands of miles from home, and keeping it together in front of (gasp!) Horse Boys, Wills learns that becoming a part of the #HorseGirl world isn’t easy. But with her rescue horse, Clyde, at her side, it sure will be fun.
Published: October 26, 2021
There’s nothing Kate loves more than being around horses. But her best friend is allergic to them, so Kate has to take riding lessons without her. Kate’s forced to navigate some of life’s hardships―like the mean girls at the stable who tease her and her body insecurities―all on her own. To make matters worse, Kate is continually falling off her horse. To Kate, her tween years feel like one unfair punishment after another. Can she get over it all…and get back on her horse?
The Nerviest Girl in the World
Published: August 18, 2020
Pearl lives on a ranch where her chores include collecting eggs and feeding ornery ostriches. She has three older brothers, who don’t coddle her at all. And she knows a thing or two about horses, too.
One day, Pearl’s brothers get cushy jobs doing stunts for this new form of entertainment called “moving pictures.” They’re the Daredevil Donnelly Brothers, a Death-Defying Cowboy Trio. Before she knows it, Pearl has stumbled into being a stunt girl herself–and dreams of becoming a star. The only problem is, her mother has no idea what she’s up to. And let’s just say she wouldn’t be too happy to find out that Pearl’s been jumping out of burning buildings in her spare time.
Lizzie Flying Solo
Published: April 16, 2019
Lizzie St. Claire wants to be invisible. Forced to move out of her home, she and her mom now live in a transitional housing shelter, Good Hope, until they can get back on their feet.
Lizzie just wants to keep her head down at Good Hope and her new school, so she doesn’t have to admit the real reason she and her mom lost everything.
But when Lizzie finds herself at the nearby Birchwood Stables, some new friends—along with the arrival of a frightened pony named Fire—help Lizzie to open up and accept help from those around her, even if it means she’ll have more to lose if things change again.
Horse Diaries Series
Published: February 18, 2009
Iceland, circa AD 1000
Elska is a silver dapple Icelandic filly. She spends summers frisking about the countryside and winters in the farmyard, where the girl human Amma takes special care of her. But when a powerful neighbor notices Elska, her contented life suddenly changes. Here is Elska’s story . . . in her own words.
The Whole Sky
Published: August 22, 2017
Twelve-year-old Sky and her father are horse whisperers—their preternatural tenderness and understanding of horses, and Sky’s uncanny ability to actually understand what they’re saying become their livelihood during the foaling season at multimillion dollar horse farms. They’re sought after by the most prestigious farms in the country to keep pregnant horses calm and stress-free until they give birth. But this spring, something awful is happening…foal after foal is a stillborn, and no one knows why. And worse for Sky, who lost her mother only months earlier, her most beloved horse is about to have her first foal. In agony, Sky takes it upon herself to figure out what the vets are missing, and stop it before even more foals are lost.
Shadow of a Doubt
Published: April 21, 2015
Fyfe Flynn lives on a modest farm in the shadows of the world-famous horse track Churchill Downs, where she spends more time around horses than she does around other kids. That suits her father, the acclaimed jockey Roscoe Flynn, just fine.
When a new foal is born but loses his mother, Fyfe gains a loyal best friend in the horse she names “Shadow of a Doubt.” Together they dream that one day Shadow will become a great racehorse and win the Kentucky Derby. At first, few believe in Shadow’s prospects―especially when the neighbor next door, Colonel Epsom, uses his great wealth to produce racehorses of the finest caliber and will do whatever it takes to see them win. But Fyfe and Shadow, with the help of their animal friends, refuse to give up on their dreams.
Horses of the Dawn Series
Published: January 7, 2014
The horses are in danger. They were rounded up by the two-legs and forced onto a boat to cross the wide ocean. The journey went badly and the boat was deemed too heavy, so the two-legs forced the horses into the sea and sailed away, leaving the herd to die in the deep.
By a miracle, the horses survived and made it to land. All but one — the ghost horse, the leader of the pack. Now it’s up to her daughter, only a filly, to take charge of the terrified herd. Stranded in a new land, surrounded by two-legs, will the horses find a way to live safe and free?
A Good Horse
Published: October 26, 2010
When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch—even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like chocolate. As for Black George, such a good horse, it turns out he’s a natural jumper. When he and Abby clear four feet easy as pie, heads start to turn at the ring—buyers’ heads—and Abby knows Daddy won’t turn down a good offer.
Then a letter arrives from a private investigator, and suddenly Abby stands to lose not one horse but two. The letter states that Jack’s mare may have been sold to the Lovitts as stolen goods. A mystery unfolds, more surprising than Abby could ever expect. Will she lose her beloved Jack to his rightful owners?
The Georges and the Jewels
Published: September 8, 2009
Seventh-grader Abby Lovitt has always been more at ease with horses than with people. Her father insists they call all the mares “Jewel” and all the geldings “George” and warns Abby not to get attached: the horses are there to be sold. But with all the stress at school (the Big Four have turned against Abby and her friends) and home (her brother Danny is gone—for good, it seems—and now Daddy won’t speak his name), Abby seeks refuge with the Georges and the Jewels. But there’s one gelding on her family’s farm that gives her no end of trouble: the horse who won’t meet her gaze, the horse who bucks her right off every chance he gets, the horse her father makes her ride and train, every day. She calls him the Ornery George.
Published: September 28, 2021
Twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared, and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. When a pony shows up at his door, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father. Along the way, he will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him.
Spirit Riding Free Series
Published: May 2, 2017
Twelve-year-old Lucky Prescott craves adventure, but as a young lady of society she’s only been allowed to experience adventure through books. That is, until one fateful day when Lucky, her father, and her aunt leave their neat-and-tidy city life and travel to their new home out west-the Wild West.
At first Lucky is excited, but during the long train ride to her new hometown of Miradero, she begins to worry. What if she doesn’t make any new friends? Everyone in the West rides horses, but she’s never been allowed to even sit on one. How can she possibly fit in? Anxious about the future, Lucky looks out the train window and sees a majestic wild stallion. When their eyes meet, she senses a connection. But when the stallion is caught by wranglers, Lucky’s heart breaks. And when she next sees the stallion, he’s tied to a post, refusing to be “broken in.”
Misty of Chincoteague
Published: July 7, 2015
On the island of Chincoteague, off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely-seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her—that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can’t live without her.
The frenzied roundup that follows on the next Pony Penning Day does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected. Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether…
Published: October 11, 2016
Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he’s forced to endure something that’s worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he’s “sentenced” to the local city stables where he’s made to take care of horses. The greatest punishment has been trying to make sense of things since his mom died but, through his work with the horses, he discovers a sport totally unknown to him-polo. Troy’s has to figure out which friends have his back, which kids to cut loose, and whether he and Alisha have a true connection.
Published: March 6, 2018
Eleven-year-old Ellen is a spunky—and occasionally misbehaving—young riding student. Her teacher Abby Lovitt (who readers might recognize from The Georges and the Jewels) is a high school student who introduces her to jumping, dressage techniques, and most importantly, Ned.
Ned is a colt who used to be a racehorse, until he hurt his leg and moved to Abby’s ranch. Ellen and Ned seem to understand each other, and their companionship is immediate. But Ellen is only allowed to go to riding lessons when she behaves at school. And with all that’s going on, from learning that she’s adopted to finding out her parents are adopting a new baby, it’s harder than ever for Ellen to pay attention and behave in class and at home.
Will Ellen be able to spend more time on the ranch with Ned? And will her parents ever let her have a horse of her own?
A Horse Called Hero
Published: July 1, 2014
On the brink of World War II, a family forced out of their London home flees to the country. Wolfie and his older sister Dodo are devastated to leave behind everything they’ve ever known, but they begin settling into their new life.
One day, they come across an orphaned fowl, which they raise as Hero, a strong and beautiful horse who lives up to his name when he saves the children from a fire.
Wolfie and Dodo find comfort in their new life, but the war is escalating quickly and horses are needed for combat. One night, Hero is stolen, and the children are shattered. Years then pass without any indication Hero will return. It’s only when Wolfie becomes a stable hand that he discovers Hero has ended up working in the mines under terrible conditions. Then and there, Wolfie resolves to save Hero, a plan that places both of their lives in jeopardy. Together again, can they will survive?
There they are: 18 of the best middle grade books about horses! Which of these have you read and loved? What did I miss? Want a printable of this list? You can get one by becoming a Patron.