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A Good Horse (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch) Paperback – 23 Aug 2011


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About the Author

JANE SMILEY is the author of many books for adults, including"Private Life, ""Horse Heaven," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning"A Thousand Acres."She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.
Jane lives in Northern California, where she rides horses every chance she gets. She is also the author of four other novels for young readers in the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series: "The Georges and the Jewels, ""A Good Horse, ""True Blue, "and"Pie in the Sky."

"From the Hardcover edition.""

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smiley has united her immense love of horses with her vast writing talents to create an endearing story 2 Dec. 2010
By KidsReads - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's the 1960s, and Abby Lovitt is starting the eighth grade. She lives with her very strict but loving parents on their 26-acre horse ranch in California. The family business consists of buying horses at low prices, getting them healthy and handsome, training them, and selling them for a profit. Abby knows she shouldn't get attached to the horses, but she can't help herself, especially when they come across an extra special one like Black George.

Black George is beautiful and a gifted jumper. He sails over jumps with ease and enthusiasm, and loves doing it. Abby's father decides to enter his daughter and Black George in a high-class horse show. With more exposure to the upper class society, they might catch the eye of a wealthy horse buyer and get top dollar for selling Black George. Abby loves riding him and will be sad to see him sold, but she understands. She also knows that training him to his full potential will make him even better. But what she doesn't comprehend is why her heart seizes up in fear when her teacher raises the jump height to over four feet when she knows Black George can do it.

Abby's most favorite horse at the ranch is little Jack, the orphaned colt. His mom, Brown Jewel (or Pearl, as Abby secretly called her), died from colic not long after giving birth to Jack. Since then, Abby has taken over the care and training of Jack, and they have grown very close. But then a letter arrives from a private investigator who is working for a rich Texas rancher. A while back, someone had stolen a few of the rancher's prize horses, and the investigator suspects that the Lovitts had purchased one of the stolen mares. If Brown Jewel is proven to be the stolen mare, the owners are going to want to take her colt back to Texas. How will Abby find the strength and courage to say goodbye to Jack?

Horse fanatics will love this sequel to THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS, which weaves horse training and care into an exciting and heart-touching story. Abby is a determined and hard-working girl with a big heart. She also has huge obstacles to face, including a crippling fear. Fear is something that most riders encounter at some point, and Jane Smiley addresses the issue with compassion and sympathy. She adds many exciting parts, like the horse show and rounding up some trespassing cows, as well as a bit of mystery with the stolen mare case. Smiley has united her immense love of horses with her vast writing talents to create an endearing story that will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman, author of FINDING MY LIGHT
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 6 Feb. 2011
By Robin Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For authenticity in horse novels, Jane Smiley knows her horse details. In the second novel in her series of horse books for kids, A Good Horse, she tells the story of Abby and the quarter horse gelding Black George. The story is compounded into a mystery when it's apparent Abby's favorite colt, Jack, may have been born to a stolen mare. Black George is a talented jumper, and Abby is more of a country-taught type of rider. Can she and Black George outperform the snooty riders at the upscale horse show at the coast? She's mostly schooled Black George on her own, with limited professional coaching. Problems arise when she realizes the night before a big show that she's outgrown her riding clothes. Panic claims her nerves when she sees her sometimes coach raise the jumps to four feet, even though Abby knows George can jump that high easily. Can she? And can she solve the mystery about the yearling, Jack?
You may think that reading horse books for kids isn't for you, but please realize that most kids' books are great high-quality writing and top-notch stories. Authors such as Jane Smiley, who truly knows horses, continue to provide us with great horse stories. Give A Good Horse, and its prequel The Georges and The Jewels a try. You'll be impressed, no matter what your age.--Robin Moore
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Horse, not a Great Horse 24 Nov. 2011
By EllaBellaV - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Good Horse is a good horse book. It's well-written, and really puts you in the writer's too-tight riding boots. However, I felt that the ending was a little too cliche, and somewhat abrupt. The experiences in the book are believable, and for actual riders hold very true - when you know the height of the jumps, it makes them seem infinitely more difficult! All in all, it was a good, quick read that was well put together, but could've used an extra chapter or two at the end to finish things off.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandma thinks this is a great book for her granddaughter : ) 26 Sept. 2011
By Gayla S. Kemink - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a granddaughter whose passion is horses. This is a wholesome read with some really terrific life lessons in it. I read it before giving it to her as a gift.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good 24 Jan. 2014
By Happy Pony Driver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like but don't love this series of books. They were recommended by a friend because I'm into natural horsemanship, but I didn't feel that they represented the topic all that well. It sort of implied that a couple of "tricks" would fix almost any horse in no time. Still, for the youth audience, they are nice books and good reading.
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