In preparation for my upcoming trip to Ireland, I'm reading a few books that fellow travelers and horse lovers have recommended to me. I'll be spending 10 days riding throughout the country and writing and filming for Equitrekking and Equitrekking Travel at the end of April.
I like to bring along books that give greater insight into a country's history, culture and horses. Add in a local's stories on the trail, and I'm given a greater portrait of an area and its people.
I'm reading The Star of the Sea
by Joseph O'Conner and it's great so far. This work of historical fiction centers around the mid-19th century potato famine and a group of characters who attempt to escape the dire conditions in Ireland by sailing to America. The book traces the conflicts that arise on their journey aboard the Star of the Sea. I've ridden in Ireland twice now and in my travels I passed many a remnant of the potato famine, including abandoned stone cottages on the Ring of Kerry, on the Cooley Peninsula and beyond. On my upcoming trip when I pass a piece of history, I'll be able to imagine even more after reading this book.
I spent the weekend thinking about books that I've enjoyed and have helped me as I've traveled the world on horseback. I compiled them into a series of Reading Lists under each destination on EquitrekkingTravel.com to help travelers who are preparing for an equestrian vacation.
A favorite for Iceland is Nancy Marie Brown's A Good Horse Has No Color: Searching Iceland for the Perfect Horse. It's Nancy's story of traveling through Iceland to find a horse that she can buy and bring back to the U.S. During her quest, she reveals much about the Icelandic people and culture.
Nancy writes, "The summer we lived at Litla Hraun was sunnier than any of our neighbors could remember, and the number of horse trekkers was high. Yes I'd sing out every time I saw them, and stop, and watch. I lived in a state of longing. They were Iceland now, those people riding by. Adventure, escape, a break from the confines of my life, a declaration that I was more than the duties I'd taken on. I had to go with them. I needed a horse."
Last time I was in Connemara, I purchased the book "Seahorses: Connemara and its Ponies." It's a history of the Connemara Pony compete with poetry, stories and old photographs. Now that I'm headed to Connemara to ride again, this time on a different route, I've got this book by my bed and am reading a few pages each night.
Have any horse or travel books you'd recommend? Post them here. I'm always looking for a good read.
Learn more about Equitrekking on PBS and the Equitrekking episodes on DVD and learn about exceptional equestrian vacations and horseback riding tours at EquitrekkingTravel.com. Follow Equitrekking on Facebook and @Equitrekking and @DarleyNewman on Twitter.