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Title: Ridgeview Riding Club: Courage to Ride
Author: Bernadette Kelly
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
May Contain Spoilers
I am so impressed with this series! Bernadette Kelly really knows what it’s like to love horses and dream of learning to ride. Better yet, she knows what it’s like to learn how to ride, to face your fears and be the best rider you can be. Annie Boyd has a serious case of horse fever, and when she finally gets a horse of her own, she learns that it’s not all fun and games. In fact, it’s a lot of sweat and tears, but it’s a blessing as well. Having Bobby is the greatest gift she’s ever received, but at first, all she can see are the negatives, instead of the positives. Up until the end of the book, all I wanted to do was shake Annie because she was being a spoiled brat. When a demanding instructor makes her re-evaluate her own feelings, Annie realizes just how good she’s got it. Now I actually like her, and want to follow along as she learns more about how to ride, how to care for her horse, and how to be the most skilled rider she can be.
I have only been riding for a few years myself, and it is nothing like I thought it would be like. It’s hard work! It’s scary sometimes! I have to deal with my own feelings of inadequacy, and that is sometimes the hardest thing of all. Why do I still make the same mistakes and get rattled when my horse doesn’t understand a cue that I have given? Why can’t I make her look as beautiful as the trainer? It is frustrating, but as Annie is learning in Courage to Ride, you have to put your best effort into practicing, and you have to take responsibility for yourself. If you don’t put one hundred percent into learning, you will never get better, and you will always be ruled by your fears of falling. I just loved Annie’s struggle with this, because it isn’t always easy to get up and get back in the saddle. That does take so much courage, and though Annie felt a great deal of trepidation, she did get up, dust herself off, and get back on.
It is very gratifying when Annie realizes that she has been acting like a spoiled brat. She is one of the lucky ones – she actually gets to live her dream. So many people never get that opportunity. So what if she has to use secondhand gear and hand me down clothing? So what if she has to work afterschool mucking out stalls to so she can pay her dad back for some of the expenses that Bobby has incurred. Yeah, it’s hard work, but after talking to her instructor, it’s like a light bulb goes off. It’s not always easy, but having Bobby and learning how to ride are so worth the effort that she’s making.
If there is one character that I don’t care for, it’s Annie’s dad. He is one selfish and narrow-minded guy! I feel sorry for Annie for having to put up with him. He offers no words of encouragement, and only seems to find fault with everything about Bobby. He deserves his sheep!
Ridgeview Riding Club is turning into a great series that realistically portrays learning to ride and care for a horse. If you have a horse crazy young girl in the house, I can’t think of a better set of books to introduce her to.
Review copy obtained from my local library