Robin McKinley

Award winning American author. Predominantly writes fantasy fiction for young adults (although the books are eminently suitable for adults too), and well known for her quirky re-workings of classic fairytales such as Beauty and the Beast. As a horse-lovers, horses appear in most of her books at some point, and in a few are important characters. She has won the Newbery Medal for her book The Hero and the Crown and also the Newbery Honour for it's sequel The Blue Sword. (See below for more on both these books.) Apart from the books mentioned below, if you are a fantasy fan it may be also worth reading  two of the author's other novels, Beauty and Spindle's End, which also have a little horse content, if not quite enough to class them as pony stories.

Ms. Mckinley now lives in Hampshire in England and enjoys riding, along with numerous other past-times!

She has her own comprehensive website where you can find out lots more about all her books and read samples from some of them.

Damar Fantasy Series:
These two young adult fantasy stories are linked, although they do not share the same main characters. The Blue Sword was written first, The Hero and the Crown later as a prequel. Thus it is suggested they be read in this order. However both can be read as complete stand-alone stories. Probably only the first one is a true horse story however I have included them both for those who like to read full series.

SUGGESTED READING ORDER:

1) THE HERO AND THE CROWN
(GREENWILLOW [USA] 1984)
Reprinted in paperback a number of times.
In print in the USA.
SUMMARY: Fantasy story. Despite being a King's daughter Aerin is an outcast, her dead mother being branded a witch. She forms a deep attachment to her father's old and crippled war horse Talat, whom she cares for. With no-one to teach her, she tries to learn to ride him and eventually succeeds after giving up on the bridle! When a dangerous dragon threatens the community and the army is away, it is up to Aerin and Talat to confront the beast!
The book won the Newbery Medal in 1985.

2) THE BLUE SWORD
(GREENWILLOW [USA] 1982)
Reprinted in paperback a number of times.
In print in the USA.
SUMMARY: Fantasy/romance. Less horse content in this book than the first but according to reviews this is authentic and realistic. Set many years after The Hero and the Crown, Aerin's legacy still lives on in the bridle-less war horses which the warrior's ride. Orphan girl Harry becomes the bearer of the legendary Blue Sword which was wielded by Lady Aerin many years before and can only be used by a woman.
The book won the Newbery Honour Prize..

Collector's Info:
Very easy to find in the USA, both second-hand and new (they are both in print there). Also fairly easy to find in the UK via Amazon, etc.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

PEGASUS
(PUTNAM USA] 2010)
In print.
SUMMARY: Teen to adult. Set in a fantasy world where people and flying horses share a bond. When Princess Sylvi is bound to her own Pegasus Ebon, something unprecedented occurs. For they, unlike others of their respective species, are able to communicate. However as the pair grow closer, this affinity becomes a threat to the status quo of the nation…

You can read the first three chapters on-line here

Collector's Info:
In print and available in both the USA and UK.