Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Horses of Half Moon Ranch

Every 11-12 year old-girl I've ever known, including me, has gone a little horse crazy at some point. What is it about young girls and horses? In my case, I was fortunate to have a friend down the street who had a horse. She taught me how to groom her horse, how to muck out his stall, the basics of riding, and the best way to feed and water him. I learned that taking care of a horse is an awesome responsibility and one that does not disappear when you start to lose your interest.

I always thought it would be fun to live on a ranch for a summer. In the newly re-published series, The Horses of Half-Moon Ranch, Kirstie Scott does not have to imagine what life on a ranch is like. She lives on the ranch. Her mom, her brother, and a small group of dedicated hands have brought her grandmother's ranch back to life again and they take in guests during the summer.

In both Wild Horses and Rodeo Rocky, the first two books in the series, author Jenny Oldfield creates a satisfying mix of horse lore, mystery, and local color. Not surprisingly, Kirstie is the most fully developed character but there are plenty of memorable characters, even if a little heavy on stock characters of the old crusty trusted ranch hand and heart-of-gold, hermit in the woods kind.

For many readers there will be much to learn about in these stories including how wild horses are tamed and trained and what a rodeo is like. But the thing that shines through both of these stories and rings most true is the love and connection that Kirstie has for these horses. By caring for them and loving them, she learns much about herself and the world around her. A very enjoyable read.

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