Book Review: Horse Fun

Review by Nancy Brannon

Another book that is perfect for summer horse camps is Summer Fun: Facts and activities for horse-crazy kids. It’s a new release from Trafalgar Square books, by Gudrun Braun and Anne Scheller, with art by Anika Hage. Even the cover says, “Open if You’re Wild About Horses!”

The main character is “Maxi” or Maximilane, a horse-crazy young girl who is the “tour guide,” so to speak, through the multiple topics included in this book. She first introduces the reader to Hobbit, the pony she gets to ride at the barn where she takes lessons. Then it’s on to introducing the reader to the various equestrian sports.

Throughout the book there are short articles on a variety of topics, such as her first riding lesson, “horse scent,” and what happens if you fall off in a riding lesson.

There are lots activities to do, like keeping a pony diary, making a colorful tote bag, making picture frames and luck catchers out of used horse shoes. There are tips on how to draw horses and how to make horse jewelry and horse treats.

The book is also instructive, explaining about the types of horses, horse breeds, parts of the horse, coat colors, foals, a horse’s life stages, how horses communicate, and horses’ gaits. Do you understand your horse? The reader is also introduced to the horse’s life in the pasture, with an explanation of poisonous and safe vegetation, cleaning up manure, and fence patrol.

Then it’s on to grooming, explaining the grooming tools used and how to groom a horse.

There’s instruction on saddles and tacking up, and mounting the horse and learning a balanced seat.

Giving the ads is prerequisite to riding, and riding in a group is explained, as well as handling the horse on the ground.  Try some schooling figures, such as figure eight and change rein across the arena diagonal. Once you’ve mastered flat work, you may move on to jumping, which includes an explanation of types of jumps and how to ride a jumping course.

Stable management is an essential part of horse care, as is knowing about all the types of food a horse needs.

Most important for the summer are the sections on Riding Camp, playing games on horseback, and a story about horse camping.

There are tips of taking riding tests and horsemanship tests. There’s a section about preparing to go off to the horse show, which includes braiding the mane (and possibly the child’s own hair).

Ultimately Maxi gets to her favorite part – a Horse of Your Own, whether buying or leasing a horse.

Horse Fun is a great summer reading and activity book for horse-crazy kids ages 6 to 12, especially those attending summer horse camps.

About the authors and illustrator: Gudrun Braun is a specialist editor for horse books, a rider, and the mother of a horse-loving daughter. Anne Scheller is a popular German author of nonfiction guides, narrative children’s books, picture books, study aids, and teaching materials.

Anika Hage is an award-winning German manga artist, a professional comic artist.

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