by Marina

When I was a kid I was a fanatic for books about horses. And sometimes dogs. And The Baby-sitters Club. But mostly horses.

I started out by devouring the Billy and Blaze series. Multiple times. And then anything by Walter Farley–my absolute favorite was Man O’ War. (I still have my paperback copy.) Marguerite Henry, of Misty of Chincoteague fame, was also a favorite of mine. And, yes, I have several of her books in paperback, too. The obsession–to put it lightly–fueled my interest to continue reading horse books as an adult. Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend was a wonderful read! And I’m anticipating getting into The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts (the author of Eighty-Dollar Champion) as I work through my audiobook queue.

As a kid, not only would I read horse book after horse book I would also watch any movie about horses. The Man From Snowy River remains in my favorite movies of all time–yes, I’ve even read the poem it’s based on. (“You can bid the mob good day.”) Walt Disney also had some classic horse movies for me to enjoy. These were movies that weren’t the classic cartoons (The Little Mermaid, 101 Dalmatians, etc.) that you can still find somewhat easily on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming. These movies had a smaller budget with a more limited release (or were direct to TV). A few were even based on the Marguerite Henry books (Justin Morgan Had a Horse was one).

But what really got me thinking about my childhood favorites is that I ran across something pretty cool recently. I was so excited when I was poking around hoopla and found one of the movies that I would watch over and over. It stars Tab Hunter as a Canadian wilderness/hunting guide. He and the daughter of one of the people he takes on a fishing trip decide to capture a wild stallion locals named Hacksaw. Also the title of the movie. The culmination of the movie is participating in a chuckwagon race at the Calgary Stampede. Kinda cheesy but I loved it!

And, not only did I find Hacksaw but I found so many other “old school” live-action Disney movies in hoopla. The Love Bug movies. The Shaggy DogThe Ugly Dachshund (which made me really want a Great Dane but not a Dachshund. Go figure). Documentaries. I had just listened to The Quiet World by David Brinkley about conservation in Alaska and there was a whole chapter (maybe more? It’s hard to tell on audio sometimes) about Walt Disney and his conservational influence. Including discussion about the documentary White Wilderness.

You can easily find almost 200 options by searching Walt Disney Productions, Walt Disney Television, or Walt Disney Pictures in hoopla. Have fun walking, uh watching, down memory lane! And share some of your nostalgic favorites in the comments below.

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8 responses to “Nostalgia”

  1. Lindsey Anderson says:

    I LOVED The Ugly Dachshund as a kid, and still do. Brutus is so lovable. I actually watched a lot of live action Walt Disney movies, too! I think there was a summer that I watched Old Yeller daily, and I loved The Shaggy Dog. I guess I’ve just always been a dog girl, though I definitely loved horses and horse movies, too. I adored Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, for one. I can’t believe I’ve never seen The Man from Snowy River, though. I need to fix this immediately. Great post!

    • Marina says:

      Thanks Lindsey! Yes, it was a toss up of dog and horse movies but most books were horse themed, hence the direction this post took. But, I was obsessed with Great Danes because of that movie! Good thing my parents never let me get one . . . . Now that I can choose my own dogs I find that I’m still making choices based on what I see on television–I have an adopted pit bull and that decision was influenced by the reality show Pit Bulls & Parolees.

  2. Jordan says:

    Love The Man from Snowy River! I also love-love-loved National Velvet, pretty old but such a classic!

    • Marina says:

      Jordan, National Velvet was also a favorite of mine. But The Man From Snowy River would probably edge it out in a head-to-head competition. Both are classics in their own way.

  3. Tamra says:

    It was a horse book that really made me an avid reader. The title was Quest For courage by Stormy Rodolph. I can’t remember what it was about beyond it was a horse and boy story. The little boy some how crippled his leg and caught an horse no one could catch. I remember feeling empowered after reading it, and realizing books were more than entertainment or knowledge. The reflected back aspects of our lives, and changed us, it was the first time I saw a character with a health issue triumph over his circumstances. Another classic for me was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I still reread the book. I’m working on my third copy.

    • Marina says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience about your favorite childhood horse book, Quest for Courage, Tamra. I haven’t read it but it sounds good. It might tell a story similar to one that I read by Diane Wilson called I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade. The character in this story, a young Mongolian girl in the 14th century, has her foot crushed as a child and tries, as she gets older, to figure out how to work around her disability to honor her family. We only have it in this anthology of Horse Tales. But you can recommend it for an eBook purchase through OverDrive.

  4. Leslie Franzen says:

    I grew up with horses and Misty of Chincoteague and Album of Horses. Black Beauty was another favorite and we had horse shows complete with ribbons with the collection of Breyer horses we all had. Thanks for a great blog. It brings back fun memories.

    • Marina says:

      Thanks for the comment, Leslie. I also had many imaginary games with my Breyer horses (which I still have tucked away in a chest).

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