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Elizabeth van Steenwyk

Elizabeth van Steenwyk is a prolific author who has written widely for children. As well as horse books, she has written on ice skating (including a biography of Dorothy Hammill) and several children’s history books. She started to write when she was 10, and came home from school convinced she had to write. Her friend Jeannie called to ask her to play, but with no luck: “Quickly, I ran out to the front porch and told her that I couldn't play because I had to write a story. No one told me I had to except me, and what propelled me into my room to that pad of paper and pencil was simply a desire to write something down.” Since then she has won the Texas Bluebonnet Award and Vermont's Rebecca Caudill Award.


Barrel Horse Racer was made into a film, Best Horse, which won a silver award at the Cannes Film Festival.


Finding the books: all are reasonably easy to find. None were published in the UK.


Links and sources

An interview with the author

Another interview

Macmillan on the author


The Best Horse

Scholastic, 1977, pb

As Barrel Horse Racer

Walker, New York, 1977, 91 pp.


Wendy has a pleasure horse called Kickapoo, but she wants him to be a
barrel racer. Wendy’s mother, who used to be a rodeo rider herself, has
other ideas however. Wendy is to grow up into a refined young lady.

Ride to Win

Creative Education, Mankato, 1978, 56 pp.  Photographs by George Long Photography



Nancy jumps from one event to another, trying to find out what her horse, an Appaloosa called
Oatmeal, does best. At last she plumps for endurance riding, something which teaches her a lot
about herself, as well as about her horse.

Quarter Horse Winner

Whitman, Chicago, 1980, 80 pp, illus Susan Mohn



Holly has a horse called Buddy, which she trains for pole bending.

Bibliography - horse books only

The Secret of the Spotted Horse
Chidlren’s Press, Chicago, 1983, 63 pp, illus Keith Neely


Reddy is keen to be in the rodeo when he is visiting his relatives in Montana, riding the horse
they bought for him very cheaply indeed. However, the horse attracts so much attention from
strangers, they begin to wonder if he is stolen.

Lonely Rider

Ace Tempo Books, New York, 1983


- which might not be a horse book at all. The title looks likely, and that’s as far as I’ve got.