California Riding Magazine • January, 2012

Book Reviews
Backyard Horsekeeping; Sweet Grass

Backyard Horsekeeping
Written by Joan Fry
Reviewed by Joanna Fung

The book Backyard Horsekeeping by Joan Fry is definitely one you will want to read, study and keep as a reference if you are planning to purchase and keep a horse or two in your backyard. Joan Fry is a contributor to many equestrian periodicals and is from Acton, CA. She is also an experienced horse owner and longtime backyard horsekeeper.

This book has a total of 19 chapters covering everything that you can think of regarding having a horse in your own backyard. It talks about the cost, what to consider, the amount of work needed daily, weekly and monthly, as well as how to train a horse and what to do with different kinds of problems.

This book teaches everything you need to know to be a good horse owner and keeper. It is not difficult to read and it is very informative. There are also a lot of good pictures, though I think I would enjoy the pictures more if they were printed in color.

After reading this book, I have a much better understanding of what it takes to own, keep and train a horse – it is a lot of work! I wish the book also had a chapter on the amazing relationship that you and the horse can develop and the fun and enjoyment of having a horse as well. In other words, there is a sweet reward for all the hard work.

Anyways, having a horse in your own backyard is a big responsibility and this book, Backyard Horsekeeping, is definitely a helpful guide.

Joanna is a tween girl and has been riding for three years and is currently riding in the San Jose Bay Area. Besides riding, Joanna enjoys reading, drawing and theater.

Sweet Grass
Written by William Luckey
Reviewed by Jeffi Wood

Sweet Grass by William Luckey is part of his Blue Mitchell series. Luckey retrains spoiled horses and his knowledge of horses is evident in his writing.

If your heroes have always been cowboys this is a book for you. The book is about a cowboy who takes a young race horse prospect from Nebraska to New York in the late 1800s. The horses are central characters to the book and are portrayed realistically. The author's love of horses is evident when he writes about them.

There are some trials and tribulations getting to New York which are handled in the true cowboy way. The western cowboy's impressions of the East Coast are realistic. There is some violence and some relationship issues. The hero of the book has the cowboy attitude of rub some dirt on it and cowboy up. The book also has a nice historical theme. It talks about some of the early racing greats: Willie Simms one of the first jockeys to use the current racing seat, and August Belmont of the Belmont racing family are both major characters in the book. There are parts of the book that discuss the seamier side of racing, making one wonder about betting on horses.

There are parts of the story that deal with an earlier book in the series, so if you like the cowboy genre I would recommend reading the previous books first.

Reviewed by Jeffi Wood, a lifelong lover of horses and reading.