Title: Ridgeview Riding Club: Team Challenge
Author: Bernadette Kelly
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
May Contain Spoilers
Annie and Bobby are back, and this time, they are gearing up for the annual Game Day! Game Day pits rival equestrian teams against each other, and they compete in speed events. Though Annie is still a beginning rider, she is desperate to be on the team. The only problem – there are only a couple of spots, and Annie might not be measure up to the other riders who are trying out for a spot on the team. A lot of the older riders want to compete, as do Reese and Matt. When Jessica decides to be on the team, too, Annie is determined to try her best beat Jessica for a spot. Does she have what it takes to earn it?
This was another wonderful installment of the Ridgeview Riding Club series. Annie has come a long way with her riding skills, but she is still a newbie compared everyone else. Annie’s got heart, though, and she has something else that is equally important – she’s got a horse that has been there and done it all. It doesn’t take much to fluster him, but when he does shy away from some of the props used in the games, Annie shows the patience to get him through his spooks. This happens all the time with horses. They have tiny little walnut-sized brains, and they need to utilize most of their grey matter to just stand upright. They are silly creatures, easily given into that fight but mostly run away as fast as you possibly can mentality. I think of it like this; the horse is going to save itself, and if you can hang on, it will save you, too! It doesn’t matter that it is running away from an empty plastic bag or a plastic water bottle. They are equally threatening, so you need to be prepared at all times!
I like that Annie isn’t panicking as much when these unexpected incidents occur. It’s part of a life with horses. So is the feeling of not being good enough and constantly second-guessing your riding abilities. That’s part of learning. Accepting that you are making a mistake, or not giving it your all, are a part of learning how to do anything new. If you are determined and dedicated enough, you will improve at any new endeavor. It takes patience, and a willingness to practice. This is why Annie will be a more accomplished rider than Jessica ever will. Jessica isn’t willing to work for anything, and she’s never had to. Annie has to struggle and work hard for everything that she wants. Don’t forget that she’s got that awful dad who thinks that sheep make wonderful companions for kids. Er, yeah.
Annie also has to deal with friendship issues in this volume. When Jade and Reese are introduced, they don’t hit it off. At. All. Suddenly, Annie’s peaceful weekend dissolves away as her two best friends bicker and sneer at each other. In addition to keeping her focus on her riding, now Annie has to deal with the conflict between the other girls. I don’t think I liked Jade or Reese in Team Challenge. They were both behaving like a bunch of babies, and I’m surprised Annie didn’t just wash her hands of them.
And this, unfortunately, is the last Ridgeview Riding Club review that I’ll be writing for a while. None of the libraries in my network have any of the other four volumes. At least Team Challenge wrapped up with a satisfying conclusion, and I enjoyed the time I have spent with Annie and Bobby.
Review copy obtained from my local library