Original thoughts I read this in my teens in the 80s and loved it Rampant Rupert stole my innocence, but it was beautiful Billy who stole my heart Today s thoughts 25 years later, I couldn t wait to meet Billy again as I buddy read this book with my good friend Jemidar, but discovered that what the teenage heart and the 40 something heart want are two different things Billy just didn t do it for me this time round, and even worse, he actually began to annoy me Gutted that a teenage crush came to such a sudden end On the plus side, this 40 something heart was very happy to get reacquainted with Dino I liked him as a teen, but now, mmm mmmm The heart doesn t break, it just moves on p But the real star of the whole show for me this time was feisty adorable Fen, who took on the boys and won Go Fiona The book itself was just as much fun as I remembered it to be, with sex, scandal and skulduggery all served up with large dollops of wit, one liners and downright silliness 4 stars then, 4 stars now. Set Against The Glorious Cotswold Countryside And The Playgrounds Of The World, Jilly Cooper S Rutshire Chronicles, Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous, Appassionata And Score , Offer An Intoxicating Blend Of Skulduggery, Swooning Romance, Sexual Adventure And Hilarious High JinksRiders, The First And Steamiest In The Series, Takes The Lid Off International Showjumping, A Sport Where The Brave Horses Are Almost Human, But The Humans Behave Like AnimalsThe Brooding Hero, Gypsy Jake Lovell, Under Whose Magic Hands The Most Difficult Horse Or Woman Becomes Biddable, Is Driven To The Top By His Loathing Of The Beautiful Bounder And Darling Of The Show Ring, Rupert Campbell Black Having Filched Each Other S Horses, And Fought And Fornicated Their Way Around The Capitals Of Europe, The Feud Between The Two Men Finally Erupts With Devastating Consequences During The Los Angeles Olympics Drama, drama, drama,,, but, oh, so much fun I was in the mood to read something light and a lil bit scandalous This novel fit that bill perfectly It won t win any literary awards but, oh, it was so enjoyable In addition to being highly entertaining I,actually, learned a great deal about show jumping Highly recommend if your looking for a sexy, fast paced, compulsively addicting read. I m pretty sure the blurb on the cover of my copy read Sex and horses it just doesn t get any better or something like that, and I suppose that s really the best review But the progress of the book into and out of my life is also a testament to its effects on readers A paperback copy of Riders was loaned to me by the director of a school where I worked She d bought it while traveling in England and made me swear I would give it back, as she wasn t sure she could easily get another copy stateside this was the 80 s, before eBay, etc made it easy to get British books I am an ethical person who lives in fear of negative book karma and would never steal a book, much less steal from the person who signed my paychecks But I did In fact, I moved away with her copy of Riders to another state, a state with horses, no less My punishment was swift my dog Toby spent a pleasant afternoon chewing the spines off of two very pricey library books, incurring me a 200 fine Well worth it, I thought as I wrote out a check to the library I d surely had my 200 of enjoyment out of Riders, and while the Layman s Parallel Bible and Barbara Tuchman s Through a Distant Mirror were goners, I still had the book that really mattered.Seven years later, I hesitantly loaned Riders to my riding instructor She loved horses and jumping, but her true love was a former nun I wasn t sure the antics of Rupert Campbell Black et al wouldn t either offend her or leave her yawning and thinking of me as either overly puerile or conflicted in a Freudian way My fears were unfounded I never saw the book again because she loved it, and just kept accidentally not returning it to me until someone finally stole it from her So, yes, five stars for Riders. This must be the tenth time at least that I ve read this novel since my teens and it never disappoints or get s old I d hit a bit of a reading slump so picked this up as a tonic and it worked an absolute treat I m now going to move on to the rest of the saga next up Rivals.Riders is just simply a glorious romp set around show jumping, with some perfect characters Rupert Campbell Black, now a fictional icon, is still JUST as brilliant no matter how many times you meet him , this book is funny, sexy, exciting and SUCH a marvellous reading experience that I m sure that before I m done with life I shall have read it a few times.Following our cast through the ups and downs of local shows, national shows, international shows and culminating in a spot on perfect finale at the Olympics, it is entirely compelling, the intricacies of the love lives and riding lives of everyone you meet being so beautifully done.I adore this series and always will.Happy Reading Folks Is that not the raunchiest cover art you ve ever seen I had to do an inter library request to get this book for some reason, my well stocked urban library system doesn t have a copy of Cooper s classic literary masterpiece , and when I asked the peppy blonde girl behind the counter to retrieve it for me, she came back waving it proudly, asking, Is this it How I responded Uh, yep That s the one Suuuuuuper scandalous How I wanted to respond DUDE Could you maybe NOT call the entire library s attention to the fact that not only am I checking out a book with a hand cupping an ass on it, but I went out of my way to order said ass cupping book from another state Now, I m no prude I volunteer at the library every week, processing hold requests and shelving, so I know for a fact other people have checked out far appalling books than Riders And that s one of the many things I love about libraries it s all there, freely available, without judgment or eyebrow raising Are you a thirteen year old girl curious about your changing body Are you a frat guy in your early twenties looking for instructions for brewing your own beer Are you a middle aged professional woman who can t wait to read the Fifty Shades trilogy Are you pregnant with your first child and wondering what natural childbirth is like Pro tip from someone who knows don t ever open a book written by a midwife There will be pictures Actual photographs, from which you will never recover Come one, come all, because the library s got all the answers and it s totally free I still can t quite get over that.So no, I m not ashamed to request a romance novel set in the world of competitive show jumping from the library I just don t really need Barbie s little sister Skipper parading it around like she s on QVC.Despite the potential embarrassment you may suffer in acquiring this book, it s worth the risk I know very little about horses and was actually unaware that such a sport as show jumping existed, but Cooper s book focuses equally on a second topic that is, shall we say, familiar to us all Published in 1985 and set firmly in the 70s, Cooper s characters flounce their way from the stables to the ring to the bedroom and back again.Cooper follows the interconnected lives of several competitive show jumpers First is Rupert Campbell Black, the dark and swarthy hunk who rides both his horses and his women hard Billy Lloyd Foxe is Rupert s best friend and partner in crime, a simple man of simple pleasures Then there s Jake Lovell, the boy who comes from nothing but has such a gift for horse handling that he may be able to make a name for himself Of course, Rupert and Jake have a fierce rivalry that stretches beyond the bounds of their sport and into their personal lives If you thought only girls could be catty and jealous, these men will surprise you when their claws come out.At just over 900 pages, the book may strain your attention span Around page 300 I felt the plot yes, there kind of is one lagging and didn t know if I would make it, but it picked back up and the last half was way interesting Just when you think someone can t possibly make one terrible, self destructive choice, they do And it s awesome.If you enjoy the occasional soap opera, if you love sexual drama and catfights, if your summer just isn t complete without a big, sprawling, trashy novel, put in your library request for Riders now Hopefully your library clerk will be discreet than mine was More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com Well, this is certainly no Pride and Prejudice This is Cooper s debut book a naughty romp through the elite world of show jumping from local shows to the very top of the sport the World Championships and the Olympics Our main characters are Jake Lovell, a Gypsy underdog, and the first showing of Rupert Campbell Black who will appear in future books by Jilly Cooper , the good looking rogue of the horsy set who jumps in and out of beds with no thought to the consequences.There are masses of other characters that people the pages of this huge tome Despite this, they are characterised simply and well, with distinctive traits and values Unfortunately, it is hard to be sure who to root for In the beginning we are firmly behind Jake his tough start in the sport, his sympathetic treatment of horses, and his courageous win of the World Championship in the face of almost impossible odds ensure that we feel certain he is the hero of the piece We cheer when he finds Macauley, a horse that Rupert mistreats, and then uses this horse to beat Rupert in the Championship We adore his family of Tory and Fen and his two adorable children However, key events in the book lead us to firmly throw our weight behind Rupert despite all his many, many faults We find the behaviour of Jake and Helen Rupert s wife abominable.My least favourite character is definitely Helen I dislike her mismanagement of Rupert, her neurosis, her brittle perfection, her inability to stand up for herself I think she is weak and end up believing she deserves everything she gets I love Billy he is one of the few characters who, despite flaws, is consistently a person to have sympathy for.The book is long and rambling and could do with a little structure, although Cooper s research is excellently done It follows a now tried and tested formula of taking a gossipy approach to relationships and sex, but we should remember that Jilly was one of the first to tread this path Riders was a genuinely naughty book when it was first released, with swear words and steamy sex scenes that are now included in books as a matter of course.Certainly Jilly Cooper s writing is not to all tastes her books are often considered lowbrow trash, only suitable for holiday reading I, however, adore her books I love the doorstop bulk of them, where you can really become invested in the characters and the story I especially enjoy the fact that the horses and dogs are as big characters as the people themselves in this book Sailor, Macauley, Revenge, Desdemona, Badger include some of those animals who simply leap from the page.Altogether I would recommend this book to horse lovers who have no issues with a naughty slant readers of chick lit and people who want a slyly funny and very good natured read Extremely enjoyable. Jilly Cooper is my guilty pleasure I have all her books but this was my first I was drawn into the fabulous world she created immediately and still love re visiting it and all the wonderful characters periodically especially during long hot summer holidays Nobody writes like Jilly many have tried but she is simply the best at what she does. Ho ho So much to enjoy about Jilly Cooper s Riders the definitive bonkbuster from the 1980s.I read Riders for the first time in the summer of 1995 because I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to read as many different types of blockbuster novels as possible I felt embarrassed to read it, to be honest I had assumed that Jilly Cooper books were written mainly for girls, rather than boys Maybe they are.Another reason why I didn t expect to like the book is that it s about showjumping, which has never really got me going But I just loved this book I ve re read it numerous times, always in the summer, and it still feels exciting, fresh, funny and pacey Some books really draw you into their world They make you want to be part of it And they make you want to be able to write something that is as entertaining and engaging For me, this book is one of them Always makes me want to have a drink, too.The characters are very memorable They may be larger than life, but they do feel real, presumably drawn from Jilly Cooper s social circle They all have aspirations, wit, motivations, fears, ambitions, victories and setbacks Even if you don t like showjumping, the setting is exciting Like any sport, in order to succeed, the sportsmen and women have to make many sacrifices and dedicate their lives to a pursuit of excellence Rider s captures all the exciting ingredients of that world, showing people living their lives to the full, in order to reap big rewards And that sums up the essence of the book It s a distillation of people living life full throttle I might have to go off and read it now Probably with bottles of wine, or an enormous whisky. Really 3.5 stars.Totally trashy but fun 1980s bonkbuster Horses, sex, scandal and 80s fashion what could you possibly want And many thanks to my reading buddy Anna who set such a cracking pace that I achieved a personal best for the least amount of days it s ever taken me to read a 900 page book I feel like I ve run a marathon and dropped exhausted but grateful over the finish line in the early hours of this morning.