This Friday, May 10th, we join our partners HeelsDown Mag and legions of authors, readers, and horse lovers around the globe, in celebrating literature that showcases, honors, and teaches us about the horse on the third annual #BuyAHorseBookDay! We hope to make 2024 even more special by highlighting one of the most impactful horse book authors ever, the incredible Marguerite Henry, who published 59 books in her time, including favorites like Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Justin Morgan Had a Horse.

Not only were we at TSB personally influenced by Marguerite Henry, having read most of her books when we were horse-crazy youngsters, but a number of TSB authors have noted Marguerite Henry as an inspiration in their own careers. We asked real-life cowboy wife Jolyn Young, author of NEVER BURN YOUR MOVING BOXES, to tell us her Marguerite Henry story, and she was amazing and took time out of her busy ranch-living-kid-raising-horse-riding life to send a few words along. (Oh, and by the way, Jolyn's book is a brave, ballsy, fascinating read...)


The Author Who Inspired Me to Be an Author 

Misty, Stormy, Brighty, King of the Wind, and Justin Morgan—because he had a horse. 

These characters galloped off the pages and through my mind when I was a kid. The cover colors are muted yellows, browns, and rusty reds that were outdated when I first opened the books during my nineties childhood. That’s because they were printed during my mom’s childhood in the sixties, and she’d saved them to pass on to her daughters.

Or maybe she just couldn’t part with them because they left a mark on her heart, too. Marguerite Henry’s books were written so horse lovers of all ages can ride along on race tracks and ferries that no longer exist. The traditions she shared with the world still exist, though. Horse and book lovers alike can still watch the ponies swim across the Assateague Channel and clamber ashore onto Chincoteague Island, just like she described in Misty of Chincoteague in 1947.

As a book-reading, horse-loving child (thank you, Mom and Dad for raising us on a ranch with no TV), I read and reread Henry’s books. I collected Breyer model horses, and Brighty the lovable donkey sat on his rump with long ears slightly bent over at the top in a place of honor on my bookshelf. Gold-and-white Misty and her brown-and-white foal, Stormy, occupied another shelf. 

Henry’s writing made me think I’d like to author my own book when I grew up. I even wrote Henry a fan letter, not knowing that she’d recently passed away. This was sometime around 1997 or ‘98. The person in charge of her estate sent me back a handwritten letter and an autographed picture of Henry. She’s pictured as a young woman with short, cropped hair in the black-and-white photograph. I’ve given away, thrown out, and lost a lot of possessions during all my family's moves, but I’ve always made sure that five-by-seven image was safely tucked away for transport from ranch to ranch. 

Marguerite Henry’s framed and smiling face, which joined, then replaced, the Breyer models of my childhood, continues to inspire my writing and reading. She represents a long tradition of storytelling and horse-loving folks. I can’t wait to read her upcoming biography, DEAR READERS AND RIDERS by Lettie Teague, and learn more about the author who inspired me to be an author. 


Jolyn Young, Rio Rico, Arizona



We'd love to hear your stories of how Marguerite Henry and her books influenced your love of horses or books...or both! Post your favorite memories and tag them #BuyAHorseBookDay (@horseandriderbooks @heelsdownhappyhour) and you'll be entered to win gift cards to our online bookstore


*Photos of Marguerite Henry from DEAR READERS AND RIDERS used by permission

Trafalgar Square Books, the industry authority in equestrian publishing, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.