Monday, February 28, 2011

Jane Smiley's The Georges and the Jewels

The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley is another of my "Love it!" book for horsey readers of all ages. The title refers to the horses on the Lovitt farm - all the geldings are called George and the mares, Jewel. Abby's father insists this so that they don't become attached since all the horses are for sale.

The 7th grader has her share of problems from difficult horses to ride to social interaction with her peers. She finds solace in the "good" horses, especially a new foal, she names Jack despite her father's rule.

With help from a gentle horse trainer, she learns important life lessons about horses and people alike.

I look forward to reading the sequel about Jack growing up!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wild Girl By Patricia Reilly Gif

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Gif is a young adult novel set in the racing world.

Wow! What a great story! The protagonist, Lidie, is a lovable character and not just because she's horse crazy. The emotional turmoil is heartbreaking at times when she leaves her native Brazil and moves to Queens, NY to be with her father and brother who work at a racing stable. They still think she is a seven-year-old who loves Snow White, while Lidia is 12 and, unknown to her father and brother, rides very well. Being at a new school where no one understands her language, and she knows very little English, Lidia is overwhelmed.

A new horse at the stable named Wild Girl (Lidia's dead mother's nickname for her as well) helps her overcome all the new obstacles and bring the family together.

This is a "must read" for all young readers and horse lovers of all ages.

See more about the author at

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quincy Finds a New Home

Quincy Finds a New Home by Camille Matthews is an adorable story about a horse who is sold and all the emotions that comes with moving. The artwork by Michelle Black is stunning. The theme of friendship and self-worth ring true for horses and humans alike.

If you need a book for a young horse lover, this is THE ONE! Amazon says it's for readers 4-8 years, but I think any age that has interest in horses.

Quincy has his own website and there's even a page for kids complete with galloping hoofbeats! A new book about Quincy will be released this year. Check out

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If Wishes Were Horses

If Wishes Were Horses by Robert Barclay is a nice Christian romance set on a horse ranch near Boca Raton, FL (not Colorado or another western state so an interesting setting!)

Wyatt Blaine meets Gabby Powers in an unusual way – the local minister sets it up in hopes of saving Gabby’s teenage son from a self-destructive life. Horses save the day, of course!

Conflicts abound but the ending is satisfying.

I had a few issues: First, the author may not be a horse person but did thorough research. One exception – a halter is for leading, a bridle is for riding. The broodmare would not be wearing a bridle when stalled. The main characters visit her in the foaling stall and “Wyatt walked up to Sadie and took hold of her bridle.” Page 136

Next: Page 176, Ram dismounted twice in one scene without remounting.

Another issue was the multiple viewpoints during the same scene, same page. It was very confusing getting into the mind of one character, and then suddenly switching to another, and a third. I often had to read the scene again to understand it. This happened throughout the book.

The major issue I had - It’s the American Quarter Horse – not quarter horse.

History from AQHA site:

The story of the Quarter Horse begins long before Texans started tying their ropes and hard and fast to the saddle horn. The origins of the breed can be traced to Colonial America. When our forefathers weren’t dumping tea in the Boston Harbor and fighting Indians or Redcoats, they did enjoy a horse race. In the beginning, they ran the English horses with which they plowed and rode every day.

It wasn’t long before the Colonial farmers down in the Carolinas and Virginia began to trade for a faster horse that was being bred by the Chickasaw Indians. These quick Indian ponies were Spanish Barbs, brought into Florida by early Spanish explorers and colonists. This was the same horse ridden by the conquistador Cortez in the conquest of Mexico; the same that Coronado rode in his search for the golden cities in the American Southwest. This was a type of horse produced from the cross of the North African Barb and native Spanish stock following the Moorish invasion of Spain, which began in the year 710.

There is evidence that the Spanish Barbs obtained from the Chickasaws were crossed with the Colonists’ English stock as early as 1611. Over the next 150 years, the product of this breeding would come to be known as the “Celebrated American Quarter Running Horse.” The term “Quarter” refers to the distance, a quarter of a mile, most commonly run in Colonial racing, often on the main streets of small villages.