The reason I began reading books was that I was a city kid who loved horses. I started with the Billy and Blaze books by C. W. Anderson when I was in first grade and continued with Black Beauty and the Black Stallion series by the time I was in second. These books gave me the joy of being someone else, somewhere else and the empowering feeling of being able to do things in my imagination I could never do in real life.
The first fantasy I ever read was Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton. There weren’t a lot of horses in it, and I was very disappointed (at age ten or eleven) that there wasn’t even a unicorn, given the title, but it was a great book nevertheless. Andre Norton also wrote the first science fiction novel I read, Beast Master, with a main character who communicates with animals—including a horse. So I went from riding in steeplechases to traveling in star ships, but I still have a weakness for fantasy novels with horses that function as characters in their own right.