If Wishes Were Horses: A Memoir Of Equine Obsession by Susanna Forrest is published in hardback by Atlantic Books, priced £16.99. Available now.

While working in Berlin, the former assistant editor of the Erotic Review, Susanna Forrest discovers a trail of horseshoes spray-painted on the pavements, which reawakens her childhood pony fantasies and spurs her to return to riding.

Thus begins a journey through the history of woman's love of horses, from the priestess unearthed in Russia along with six geldings and a plate of horsemeat, to Pat Smythe, one of Britain's best female showjumpers. Forrest returns to her former riding school in Norfolk and interweaves her childhood memories of hacking on Tav, with an exploration of why little girls love ponies.

She interviews grown-up obsessives, including a member of the Other Pony Club, who dresses up in pony boots to role play, and debunks a few myths about women, horses and sexuality.

Although she writes engagingly, long descriptive passages on rediscovering riding in Berlin may bore those but the biggest horse fans, and some essay-like chapters could have been structured better.

This aside, it's a fun ride.


(Review by Kate Whiting)