Posts Tagged ‘horses’

Showtym Viking by Kelly Wilson and Amanda Wilson. Pub. Penguin Random House. Imprint Puffin, 2022.

June 13, 2022 Comments off

If you are a horse person, into show jumping and love competition then this is the novel for you. Written by two of the famous Wilson sisters with input from the rest of the family this novel doesn’t seem like your regular novel it reads like a true story. I am sure it is based on real events.

Amanda is 16 years going on 17 and she rides ponies in show jumping events. Her older sisters are riders in big events and are an important part of her interest in horses. Amanda is homeschooled and mixes her school work with training and riding horses. She is good at it but at times lacks confidence particularly when things don’t go her way. She has to learn to get back on the horse after a fall.

When sister Vicki recommends she buy a 6 year old pony who she sees as special Amanda does so and finds that Vicki is right. As Amanda rides the new pony who she calls Strider, with the name Showtym Viking for events, she learns that Strider is indeed a special horse.

With her other horses Max Frodo and Baggins, Amanda competes in many real events with the aspiration that Strider can compete in Pony of the Year a title that no 6 year old horse has ever won. Can she do it? Read it yourself and find out. Is Amanda up to it?

I have read many girl and horse books particularly from Stacy Gregg and other titles from Kelly Wilson too, but this novel taught me more about what training and riding a horse in show jumping events means. Showing the horse the jump before an event, working out how many strides it takes between fences according to the stride and pace of the horse, bridleless riding and lots more.

Well written with short chapters and big build up to the main event. Good story.

Prince of Ponies by Stacy Gregg

October 5, 2019 Comments off

prince of poniesPrince of Ponies by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This latest novel from Stacy Gregg for intermediate and junior secondary readers, is breathtaking.

If I had to summarise it in one sentence it would go “two girls, two horses, two dogs, two Germanys, two historical periods, two connections”.

Zofia is a 9 year old polish girl when the Nazis conquered her country in 1939. She survived WW2 on a horse stud  taken over by the Germans and developed a close relationship with a grey/white Arabian horse called Prince. He was a superior horse, proud muscular and awe inspiring. Her dog Olaf hated Nazis.

Mira is from Syria and now resides in Germany in 2019. She is bullied at school, loves horses and walks a dog called Rolf. She and Rolf follow a horse who has got loose through the forest to a stud where she meets Zofia as an old lady. The horse is also white/grey, is named Emir and has the same arrogance and other qualities as Prince.

Both horse are powerful expressive stallions. There is much quality horse and show jumping talk.

In return for writing Zofia’s story Mira gets horse riding lessons from Zofia who tells her after her first attempt at riding Emir “it takes a hundred falls to make a true rider”. Zofia’s story in Berlin and the last days of Hitler are mind blowing as is Mira’s progress in the show jumping circuit. The ending is very emotional.

Find out the rest for yourself and you will love it. Zofia’s story is stunning and Mira has much to deal with too. One of the best of the year so far.

Mini Whinny by Stacy Gregg, illus. Ruth Paul.

October 26, 2018 Comments off

mini whinny.jpgMini Whinny by Stacy Gregg, illus. Ruth Paul. Pub. Scholastic, 2018.

Cute little pony Mini Whinny has never had a birthday of her own simply because she is a horse. You see all horses have the same birthday on August 1st. I think it is to do with the racing industry.

As all the horses in the stable prepare for the big day Mini Whinny sulks, rolls in the mud and feels sorry for herself. Come the night when all the other horses are fast asleep Mini Whinny decides to have a party of her own.

Catastrophe! What will all the other horses say and do? Not to fear, Palomina Mini’s mum has the solution. Read it and find out what.

Stacy Gregg knows horses and while this is her first picture book the text is full of horse sense. Ruth Paul is an accomplished illustrator and she captures the essence of horse to a T. Mini Whinny will make you go aaaah. The eyes of the horses are particularly attractive, the horse does have the biggest eye of all the land animals.

For children 3-7 mainly girls I would suggest but you never know. Good read-a-loud.

Fire Stallion by Stacy Gregg.

September 18, 2018 Comments off

fire stallionFire Stallion by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This is the best Stacy Gregg book about girls and horses yet. It has everything – action, two horses, history in a wonderful place, a film set, romance, transmogrification and the line “she swept into the stable like she was walking onto a yacht”. You can’t beat that Carly Simon.

Set in Iceland where the horses are pure bred and been untainted for more than 1000 years. No other horses are allowed in Iceland and if an Icelandic horse leaves the county it can’t get back in again.

Brunhilda is an Icelandic legendary warrior Queen and 14 year old Hilly and her mother are on a Hollywood film set in Iceland making a film of her life. A Hollywood starlet named Jamisen has the part of Brunhilda and Hilly is her stunt double doing all the horse riding scenes. Jamisen is true brat pack and her male lead man is a Justin Bieber double named Anders Mortenson. Romance looms and there is a wedding but between whom?

Hilly is advised by a cultural adviser in Norse affairs named Gudrun who has the power to send Hilly back in time into the body of the real Brunhilda.

The action is stunning and the horse talk endless. Strong girls confront the male opinion of “a man should be in control, it’s the natural order of things”

A wonderful story, spellbinding in parts which takes fans of Stacy Gregg forward in age a little into the puberty thing. Intermediate and junior high school kids will love it and I suspect younger girl readers will prise it out of your hands given a chance. Boys should give it a crack too the action is brilliant

Watch Me! by Jenni Francis.

April 7, 2018 Comments off

watch meWatch Me! by Jenni Francis. Pub.  2018

The most recent short novel for intermediate and junior secondary girls from the Keri series about Keri and her friend Mereana who are now 13 years old.

The girls go to visit cousin Claire on a farm that runs horse trekking holidays as well as stocking sheep and cattle. Someone is stealing horses sheep and cattle from Claire’s farm and from surrounding farms and the girls are going to become involved.

It is not the only drama in the book as Claire has found lumps under her arm and has bad sweats in bed at night but this is not going to hold her back.

As usual this short novel is tightly written with realistic dialogue between the girls and other characters. It has great family values and is written at a pace that keeps you in the book.

Who would have thought that Morse Code would be still useful in these days of cell phones. Read it and find out why. Lots of horse talk.

The Thunderbolt Pony by Stacy Gregg.

September 21, 2017 Comments off

thunderbolt ponyThe Thunderbolt Pony by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

If you are a fan of Stacy Gregg’s horse and girl stories then I don’t need to tell you how good this latest novel is. If not read and learn.

Evie has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD as a result of severe trauma caused by the Canterbury and Kaikoura Earthquakes. She takes responsibility on board and feels responsible for the aftershocks unless she goes through a number of routines. Of course this is nonsense but the sense of anxiety for Evie is real.

When Evie’s house is destroyed by the Kaikoura earthquake and her mother is airlifted out with a broken leg and pelvis, Evie travels through the earthquake ravaged land between Parnassus and Kaikoura to meet the naval ship HMS Canterbury.

Her companions on this journey are her Arab pony Gus, her border collie Jock and her Cornish red cat Moxy. They are a tight group with the animals just as traumatised by the earthquakes and aftershocks as Evie is.

The journey is riveting, dramatic and accurately described by Stacy Gregg. I lived through the Canterbury earthquakes and aftershocks and remember the roar they gave and the shaking which will stay with me forever.

It is said that 4 out of every 5 children who experienced the quakes still have anxiety disorders and Stacy Gregg analyses this traumatic effect on children through Evie’s OCD. Evie has to understand that it is not her fault and with the help of a therapist and her animals she comes to terms with it.

References to the heroes of the Greek legends make for an interesting link up.

Stacy Gregg’s other titles are reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

The Diamond Horse by Stacy Gregg.

November 3, 2016 Comments off

diamond-horseThe Diamond Horse by Stacy Gregg. Pub.HarperCollins, 2016.

Anna Orlev lives in Tsarist Russia when Catherine the Great is Empress. Her father was given an estate by Empress Catherine an estate where wild animals were free to run. Anna has a Siberian tiger and a borzoi wolfhound as companions but her greatest love is a half Arabian, half Siberian stallion called Drakon or dragon. She hid the colt from her ruthless father Count Orlov and from her crazy brother Ivan and  establishes the famous Russian horse breed the Orlov Trotter.

Anna’s mother died of a fever when she was 9 years old and on her deathbed gave Anna a black diamond teardrop necklace. This necklace has a power to show the past, present and future but it is the stone that decides what she will see.

Through the necklace she becomes aware of the second girl in this story, Valentina, a girl who works in today’s world as a circus performer. Valentina has cruel characters to contend with and runs away with her pink horse Sacha and joins the Russian Federation international showjumping team.

The horses and the girls are linked. Read it and find out how.

Beautifully written and conceived by Stacy Gregg. Her descriptions of Russia in the winter,  all the characters of Tsarist Russia and the circus are amazing. Some may say the books are formulaic and to a certain degree they are  but Stacy Gregg’s research into her topic and her knowledge of horses is stunning. Her descriptive prose is outstanding.

Lots of drama and adventure in this novel for horse lovers of all ages but particularly of primary, intermediate and junior secondary age.

Starlight Stables Bk.4: Saving Starlight by Soraya Nicholas

July 21, 2016 Comments off

saving starlightStarlight Stables Bk.4: Saving Starlight by Soraya Nicholas. Pub. Puffin Books,imprint penguin Random house, 2016.

This fourth part about a horse riding stable has the same quality and values as the previous three which are reviewed on this blog. Set in Australia and mainly written for horse crazy girls and there are a lot of them, this continues the story of Poppy, Milly and Katie and their horses Crystal, Joe and Cody.

Aunt Sophie and Uncle Mark have financial worries after a sponsor hits hard times. Starlight Stables is under threat. The girls have a competition of their own and Aunt Sophie is riding for an Olympic place at an event in Melbourne on her impressive horse Jupiter.

The girls want to help save Starlight and poppy wants to do well at her role of groom for Aunt Sophie’s horse Jupiter. What will happen if the stables go broke?  Will the impressive colt Prince have to be sold?  Will the girls be able to hold on to their horses? Read it and find out.

Starlight Stables Bk.3 Bush Bolts by Soraya Nicholas.

July 20, 2016 Comments off

bush boltsStarlight Stables Bk.3 Bush Bolts by Soraya Nicholas. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2016.

Poppy and her two horse riding friends Milly and Katie return to Starlight stables for a long weekend but this time they have another companion who doesn’t share their fanatical love of horses.

Her name is Sarah and she was a good friend to Poppy when her father died and her mother was grieving badly. poppy badly wants Sarah to love horses like she does but that is a big ask. However Sarah has other qualities as a friend and a human being especially her love for all animals.

Starlight Stables is tinder dry and bush fires are a threat. While out riding the girls come under threat from a lightening storm that threatens catastrophe. Read the rest and find out what happens.

The other Starlight books are on this blog and the author can be reached at

Starlight Stables. Bk1 Pony Detectives. Bk 2 Gymkhana Hijinks by Soraya Nicholas

March 13, 2016 Comments off

pony detectivesStarlight Stables. Bk1 Pony Detectives,Bk 2 Gymkhana Hijinks  by Soraya Nicholas. Pub. Puffin Books, 2016.

These two easy to read novels for primary/Intermediate school girls who love horses are brand new out of Australia by an author who lives on a farm near Christchurch.

Poppy is given a pony by her aunt Sophie and Uncle Mark when she stays at the Starlight Stables over the school holidays. She calls the pony Crystal. She shares her time with two girls who are scholarships to the stables. Milly a bright cheerful risky and competitive girl who rides an Arab cross pony, Joe. Katie is less assured but an  honest, shy and competitive girl who rides Cody.

The girls train together and become close friends but on their first outing near neighbour Old Man Smithy’s farm. Milly sees strange horse hooves marks near the fence and wonders what is going on.

It becomes evident that horses are being stolen in the area, could these horse marks be a clue? and are their horses in danger? The girls are going to find out.

Gymkhana hijinksBk 2 Gymkhana Hijinks

This book continues on straight after book 1 when a new girl Jessica and her horse Cleopatra come to share training. Jessica is a surly rude girl with a mother who is even worse.

The girls are training for the Gymkhana, all want to win but Jessica has a win at all costs attitude and tries to ruin it for the other girls. When things go wrong and Aunt Sophie is told she doesn’t believe the girls so they are going to have to prove it.

These novels are not just about pony riding. They are about competition, friendship and other life problems such as grief and honesty. Poppy’s father has died and her mother is in grief. How will this affect Poppy?

As well there are two fine adults giving the girls guidance. Aunt Sophie and Uncle Mark.

A well written wholesome exciting series with good values about girls and horses. Certain to be popular.