Grade 5-9. In 12 stories that are divided into seasonal sections, horses and ponies enrich the lives of the preteens and teens who ride, own, and love them. These contemporary tales realistically recount the dilemma of a boy who has grown too tall for his pony and must find her a new home; the excitement and near disaster of a colt's first show; the bitterness a girl feels toward the animal that she received as a gift from her father after her parents' divorce; and other sad, joyful, and courageous encounters. All of the personalities are well drawn and believable, and the details about equine care and idiosyncrasies ring true. Young people who are enthralled with anything "horsey" will enjoy this book.
Gathering a trio of tales for each season, Welch provides readers with 12 stories of young people and the horses in their lives. While some stories emphasize humor, others feature characters facing personal problems, such as handling sibling rivalry, dealing with divorce, envying a neighbor's show horse, or facing the sale of a favorite pony. The special bond between horse and rider is also examined: Janelle learns to trust her mount, Rusty, who saves the trail ride from a flash flood; Sara's patient work with Frosty helps him overcome his fear of jumping. Each well-crafted story quickly gathers readers into the setting and involves them with the characters' lives. Whether sampled over time or read from cover to cover, Welch's tales, complemented by delicate pen-and-ink drawings, comprise a satisfying collection.