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Wild Horses by Jenny Oldfield

Wild Horses

by Jenny Oldfield

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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Kirstie Scott's family runs a successful vacation ranch in Colorado, and the 13-year-old loves her lifestyle. In the first book, she witnesses the mistreatment of a stallion at a rodeo so her mother purchases the horse—a major error according to their senior hand. Kirstie faces the daunting job of training the animal to live and interact appropriately with other horses and with people at the ranch. In the second title, the protagonist is on a trek with a group of tourists when an unexpected thunderstorm causes a landslide. She is cut off from the rest of the trail riders and trapped in a canyon with wild horses. One of them, a beautiful black stallion, has been hurt by falling debris. When help comes, Kirstie leaves the animal behind but then pleads with the vet to treat it. Returning to the canyon, she discovers that the entire herd has disappeared. In both books, illustrations are scattered throughout. Oldfield does a superior job of integrating factual information into the story lines. The plots moves quickly and the writing is straightforward. Some of the characters are not well developed, but Kirstie, who has strength and conviction, is a great role model. Good choices where books about horses are in high demand.—
  EBurggraf | Mar 5, 2012 |
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

Thirteen-year-old Kirstie Scott lives with her mother and brother at Half Moon Ranch, which her mother built up into a guest ranch after the death of Kirstie's grandfather.

While on a Saturday trailride with a group of guests, Charlie, one of their cowhands, asks Kirstie to lead the group into Dead Man's Canyon while he helps the guests cross a tricky stream swollen with melting snow. Following the senses of Lucky, her trusted palomino, Kirstie enters the canyon to find a herd of wild horses trapped in the back. Their leader, a beautiful black stallion, reacts aggressively, and rain begins to pour as Kirstie freezes in an effort to not upset the herd any further.

Kirstie is about to turn around and leave the canyon when one of the ranch horses, spooked by her inexperienced rider, races into the canyon and up the trail, causing an avalanche on the weakened ridge. When the dust settles, Kirstie is unharmed thanks to Lucky, but the black stallion is trapped under rocks, badly hurt.

Now, trapped with the herd while Charlie goes back to the ranch for help, Kirstie does what she can for the stallion, and she wonders if it will be enough...

I loved reading about this resourceful heroine! Her courage and confidence in her own abilities is what really drives the plot. This story should resonate with any girl who loves horses and loves to trust her own instincts. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Kirstie Scott, her mother and her older brother, with the help of a couple of ranch hands, run a small guest ranch in the Colorado foothills. It's a family business, minus Kirstie's father who's out of the picture with a new wife. Leading a string of dudes on ranch horses on a day trip through the hills, a sudden storm triggers a landslide that leave Kirstie and her horse Lucky stranded in a gully with an injured wild stallion. Can Kirstie convince the stallion to let her help him? And will she be able to save the injured animal from the rough rodeo-string horse-seller's plans?

The book's a bit thin, and so's the plot. The horse-related details are iffy in spots, as well. At 150 pages there's not much space for error if things aren't tightly written, and unfortunately, there are quite a few rough edges. I found myself wishing for the adventures of Gypsy and Nimblefoot or the plucky heroine of C.W. Anderson's Afraid to Ride. It's not a bad story, just not a great one, either. ( )
  SunnySD | Sep 18, 2008 |
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After moving from the city out to the horse ranch with her family, Kirstie Scott leads a pony trek through Miner's Ridge when a sudden storm causes a landslide. Trapped alone in Dead Man's Canyon with a herd of wild horses whose leader--a proud, black stallion--has been hurt by falling rocks, she must find a way out and help the injured stallion.… (more)

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