Jan 31, 2008

Brad vs. Ashleigh, Round 1! TB#3: Wonder's First Race

Wonder's First Race
Thoroughbred #3
by Joanna Campbell
Original Publication: 1991

I'm convinced this book should have been called Ashleigh's Rivalry or Brad and Ashleigh Make Lustful Angry Eyes at Each Other or something better than Wonder's First Race. Because it's not about Wonder's first race at all.

Here's the cover:

This is another one of my favorites, despite Wonder looking like a broodmare or basic lesson horse. She certainly doesn't look like a three-year-old Thoroughbred in training, but it's not important. The scene is nice and it's straight out of the book (Ashleigh grooms Wonder! Yeah, we've been there, done that). What's not to love?


Is Wonder's racing career over before it begins?

Against all odds, Ashleigh Griffen's favorite racehorse, Wonder, has come through training with flying colors. Now Ashleigh and Wonder's trainer, Charlie, are putting everything they have into getting Wonder ready for the biggest race of her career: The Kentucky Derby. Then disaster strikes.

Brad Townsend, the son of Wonder's owner, insists on working Wonder one icy winter day. As Ashleigh and Charlie watch in horror, Brad gallops Wonder too fast, and the filly stumbles on the frozen track, badly injuring her shoulder.

After two years of hard work, have Wonder's chances been ruined in a split second?

Again, the summary pulls out a rather small scenario in the broader picture. The plot, you may ask? It's essentially racing Wonder. She's showing some promise (despite people going from "she sucks!" to "she can't handle the distance!" to "wow, she's amazing!"), and for some illogical reason the farm decides to pit her against Townsend Prince (Brad's horse, of course) and run them both in the Kentucky Derby although I can't really rationalize why Wonder is in the race in the first place. Nevertheless, she's there and do they win? Well, come on now. Put your thinking caps on.

The secondary plot:
Brad! Again! And in a major way. Brad and Ashleigh hate each other. Check. Brad's horse and Ashleigh's horse race against each other. Check. Brad breaks up with Caroline and must be scolded by Ashleigh. Check. The two claw at each other in a ravenous fight for supremacy before falling to the ground and ripping at hair and clothes before, suddenly, succumbing to urges neither knew they...um. Forget that part. In any case, you get the idea. They hate each other. And they happen to take out their frustrations through racing their horses in the same races. Sure, if that's how they want to deal with that tension, fine by me. Whatever.

  • Apparently now that Wonder has somewhat proven herself in training everyone who previously thought she was a nag is still working under the assumption that she's still a nag and have plenty of venomous, out-of-no-where comments to share. Oh, petty jealousy!
  • I've never thought that "overexcitement or listlessness" could indicate a horse would win a race. Here I thought the two were more or less unfavorable pre-race behaviors. Silly me.
  • And Wonder wins her first race! We totally didn't see that happening at all. Of course not.
  • I can't figure out why Ashleigh is digging under her pillow for her pajamas. Who keeps their pajamas under their pillows? Let's see a raise of hands.
  • Everyone is all excited about Pimlico when they were at Churchill Downs in the first chapter and no one batted an eye. What's so great about Pimlico? The seediness?
  • Gyro has got to be the worst name for a horse...ever.
  • Brad in a white suit, eh? Okay, at first I thought this was another horrible fashion moment brought to us by the early 90s, but then I had to go here. "A man in white is often searching for something: dirt, or life, or love, money or blood, fame or notoriety. A white suit attracts what you don't have or what you want more of." And, honestly? If that's what a white suit suggests, then a white suit couldn't be more Brad. I love it now.
  • Oh, that Brad. Always speaking in low tones in a girl's "diamond-studded" ears. With that white suit on he's getting all flirty with women who aren't Caroline. Damn his arrogant handsomeness.
  • Brad breaks up with Caroline on the phone. *gasp!* Then he has the nerve to reiterate his statement to her in person in front of a group of grooms! *double gasp!* You know, what I can't figure is why he's having some in depth conversation with the grooms in the first place. Shouldn't this have happened in front of the entire training track or something? That would have been more *gasp!* worthy.
  • I find myself wondering why someone in the stands has to yell, "now!" and the jockey they were trying to, I don't know, yell at over several yards of crowds just happens to respond and begins the stretch drive to the finish line.
  • Caroline is one fast rebounder, if not a little bipolar.
  • Jennifer is such a whore. Really.
  • Ah, Mike has entered the fray. At sixteen, he and his friend are training racehorses. What is wrong with this picture?
  • Do they ever name this mysterious Townsend Prince half-brother of Mike's?
  • Ashleigh is so clueless. A boy likes her and she's all "but we were just talking horses!" Such sweet innocence.
  • Aw, arrogantly handsome Brad is relieved Wonder did well! Sure, so he can feel less guilty, but...okay, yeah, I'm still infatuated.
  • Everyone keeps saying how tall or short or whatever a horse is and they follow it up by "but that doesn't mean anything." If it doesn't mean anything, why are they mentioning it?
  • "The suit looks great! It makes you look older...or something." Okay, Linda, what else would the suit make Ashleigh look like? A tramp? A man? A what, exactly?
  • What on earth are Gyro and Break the Bank doing in the Kentucky Derby? Isn't it a little coincidental that these two horses that beat Wonder in some nondescript allowance race are in the Derby also?
  • Oh, another piercing whinny of joy to end the book. Fantastic stuff.
All in all, sure the main horse has to win the Kentucky Derby. It's all cute and victorious and such. Plus there's that tension between Brad and Ashleigh that never gets old (unlike the races recycling over and over, so thank God for that tension). But, I just wish it hadn't been the Derby that capped it all off. Of course, that is insane. It has to be the Derby. I get it. Moving on. We've got a Triple Crown to get through in book #4, Wonder's Victory.... (What could it be about?!)

Jan 30, 2008

She's Uncontrolled! TB #2: Wonder's Promise

Wonder's Promise
Thoroughbred #2
by Joanna Campbell
Original Publication: 1991

I'm not quite sure where the title Wonder's Promise comes from. If it's promising to be persnickety and overly sensitive forever and always, perhaps that's what Joanna Campbell was driving at.

So, here's the cover:

It is remarkably true to the content of the book. Ashleigh spends a lot of time riding Wonder: sometimes on the trails, sometimes on the grass, sometimes on the track! Sometimes she's happy, sometimes she's scared out of her mind, sometimes Wonder is running off riderless...you know, it's all par for the course. I actually love this cover, probably because it actually has some composition to it as opposed to so many of the other covers that really don't seem to have any thought behind them at all.


Ashleigh's dreams are in tatters....

Ashleigh Griffen is thrilled when the owner of the horse farm where she lives puts her favorite horse, Wonder, into training as a Thoroughbred racer. Ashleigh has spent the past year turning the sickly filly into a beautiful, healthy yearling.

Ashleigh knows Wonder could be great, but Wonder dislikes her harsh new trainer. Soon she's bucking and disobeying all his commands. Ashleigh is heartbroken when the trainer says Wonder is untrainable...useless.

Even worse, Wonder doesn't seem to know Ashleigh anymore. One day after Wonder fiercely throws her, Ashleigh becomes afraid of her own horse. Maybe the trainer was right after all-maybe it's time to give up on Wonder....

The summary isn't exactly true to the book. Sure, Wonder throws Ashleigh. But do you think Ashleigh, the one girl in all the greater Lexington area with the ability and courage to turn a sickly foal into a racehorse, is going to let that get her down? Yeah, you guessed correctly. She's actually more upset when her sister starts dating Brad (there's an episode of throwing clothes!), but more on that in a minute.

The main plot is as follows:

Wonder is now a year and four months old. I presume they mean this is her real age (as she was born in May and every Thoroughbred's official birthday is the New Year) because it's the end of summer and yearling training is starting. Wonder is in the last group of yearlings to start training and Ashleigh is both extraordinarily excited about this and freaked out of her mind as, and she is right to assume, she won't have any say or hand in what happens to Wonder in training. Of course, when Wonder does enter training it all heads south from the instant the trainers come to take her from the stall. People manhandle Wonder! And being as delicate and feminine as possible for a horse, Wonder doesn't handle that well and slips into passive-aggressive mode. Thinking the filly is "unpredictable" (as if Thoroughbreds in general aren't flighty and unpredictable), the yearling trainer (the demonized, and apparently dim witted Mr. Jennings) puts her out to pasture and that's that. Except Ashleigh and Charlie retrieve Wonder and work her in secret, righting all the wrongs done to the poor horse and proving everyone wrong in the end. Everyone gapes at them and the victorious parties smile and think about how glorious Wonder's future will be.

The Secondary Plot:

Brad! Oh, that dastardly young man. Second to making sure Wonder becomes a great racehorse is the drive for Ashleigh to make sure she proves Brad wrong. I don't know exactly where that drive is coming from because mostly everyone thinks she and Charlie are crazy for wasting their time on Wonder. But no, it's just Brad she mainly wants to wave at while riding by on her prized Thoroughbred racehorse that only she believed in and he clearly didn't. Then Ashleigh's sister, Caroline, has the nerve to start getting into horses again so she can be closer to Brad and then, shock of all shocks, put herself in the position to start dating Brad. After the two do their version of teenage hooking up that can only happen in children's books, the word "traitor" is thrown around a lot, along with the phrase "Brad says" as Caroline parrots off every snide remark Brad can come up with concerning Ashleigh and Wonder. It is beautiful comedy. If this had been a teen drama on CW I can already see the love triangle forming. Needless to say, Caroline and Brad are still doing whatever they're doing by the end of the book so what's going on there will have to wait until volume 3.


  • "Today Caro had pulled one side of her reddish-blond hair up on top of her head, held in place with combs." What is this hairstyle? Who would possibly do this to their hair? I have vague memories of crimped hair and side ponytails from this era, but I'm not sure what's going on here.
  • "Reddish-blond hair." Okay, for the life of this author why can't she just say strawberry blond? Reddish-blond and reddish-gold hair has a relatively universally accepted name, damn it.
  • Get ready for the best name in this series (possibly ever): Jocko. JOCKO. Who in their right mind names a child Jocko? It's as if his parents knew he'd become a pushy exercise rider with no brain and a penchant for whipping the living daylights out of a horse. Nicely done, Joanna.
  • "Hair like a poodle." Here we go with the hairstyles again. I'm trying to picture Ashleigh with poodle hair, but it's not really computing. No wonder none of the boys approached her at the school dance. Poodle hair is hard to overcome.
  • Every trainer at Townsend Acres (with the exception of Charlie, but then he doesn't count) has an amazing ability to not think outside the box. It is AMAZING. One would think that trying different things with a horse until something clicks might be a good idea. The Townsend Acres trainers would spit on this idea and then bury it alive.
  • There is a lot of giving of speeches in this book. Little, inspirational paragraphs meant to motivate...a horse. Look, I get that Wonder is a character in this series just as much as the next human, but she doesn't know what Ashleigh's saying. Talking to her as if she's a person is not supposed to end with Wonder trying her best in a work out or understanding everything that's going on. It's almost a little maddening. She's a horse! Saying "Oh, Wonder, blah blah auction blah blah do your best for blah blah" should never cause her to really buckle down and do well. And yet it happens. Nearly every time.
  • Whips! This is the first book in which the crop is also demonized. I'll have to start counting the books between when a major character uses a crop on a main horse. I'd guess that between now and book 72 it might be, oh, never.
  • Brad. Again. I know, I have this unhealthy obsession with Brad, but then so does Ashleigh and I really couldn't help giggling like a maniac when Wonder tossed Ashleigh and Brad is the one who caught her and brought her back and couldn't stop smiling. Then Charlie, of all people, says something along the lines of how Brad's pretty good looking. Oh, Charlie. I don't know why you said that, but it humors me so.
Okay. All things said and done, I have to like this book more than the first. It follows the same formula of Girl & Horse Go Up Against Amazing Odds and Win, but really that's pretty much the whole series. So this one gets the full stamp of approval. Although maybe that's just because Charlie tells Ashleigh that Brad is good looking. I mean, that's reason enough for a high rating all by itself.

Jan 11, 2008

TB #1: A Horse Called Wonder

A Horse Called Wonder
Thoroughbred #1
by Joanna Campbell
Original Publication: 1991


Ashleigh wouldn't care about anything, ever again.

Ashleigh Griffen swore she'd never give her heart to another horse -- not after a terrible disease wiped out her family's breeding farm, along with Ashleigh's favorite mare, Stardust.

Now the Griffens are starting over as breeding managers at Townsend Acres, and Ashleigh's sure she is going to hate living there.

Then a small, sickly foal is born -- a beautiful copper filly that looks like Stardust. No one thinks the foal will live or that it's worth trying to save. No one but Ashleigh.

Can one girl's love alone work miracles?

Overall Amazon.com Rating: Five stars out of five.

Yup, this is the book that spawned 72 volumes, a spin-off series, some number of super editions, and forced three other books that had relatively nothing to do with the series under an imprint called "Ashleigh's Thoroughbred Collection". Its accomplishments are great indeed, but let's take a closer look.

We open up on Townsend Acres, a breeding and training farm of the sort that tend to not exist. Townsend Acres is a sprawling and impressive (read: wealthy) farm that has just hired on two new breeding managers, who are in the process of moving into their new home conveniently located on the farm. They've brought their three children with them, a picturesque bunch that either look like their mother or their father with absolutely no mix of the two (Caroline and Rory have their mother's "red-gold" looks, while Ashleigh sports her father's dark hair and hazel eyes). Our interest is, of course, on Ashleigh.

The Griffens arrive at Townsend Acres after bungling up their try at their own Thoroughbred breeding farm, which was under insured right when a virus came along to deliver the death blow to their family's financial security. So they've lost almost everything but their immediate possessions, and Ashleigh's pretty bitter about it. After all, she lost her horse when they sold their farm and lord knows there's nothing like a 12-year-old girl who's been forced to give up her first horse. We're dealing with a strong force of nature here.

Lucky for us, Ashleigh isn't the snotty type even though she tends to make goody two shoe remarks to herself about how wonderful horses can behave when they're given the right treatment. Clearly no one else in the book has the unyielding faith Ashleigh does in loving a horse until it miraculously does what you want, but Ashleigh is the special type prone to falling head over heels in love with these creatures. Unfortunately she's vowed to never do that again.

So we get our tour of the farm, during which Ashleigh exhibits an astonishing lack of understanding despite the fact that she's supposed to have grown up in this sort of environment. No, Ash, you're not supposed to put stallions in paddocks together, no matter how much love you shower upon them. They'll still dislike each other.

Moving on, we meet Brad Townsend -- the heir to Townsend Acres -- for the first time. He's surly and rude, while Caroline spends her time "fluffing" her hair in order to get his attention. I was not aware that girls actively fluffed their hair for the sake of boys and in front of boys, but this was the early 1990s. Who knows what fifteen-year-old girls were doing back then. Ashleigh is contemptuous of Brad's holier-than-thou attitude, although she spends time later on staring at him in a daze while he rides a sweaty, steaming horse on the training oval. Read into that what you will, because it's the last time any sort of subconscious sexual meaning will be implied in the series.

So Ashleigh starts up her new school, meets her new gaggle of friends, and inevitably falls hard for, you guessed it, another horse. It helps matters that this horse looks "exactly" like Stardust, her old horse from home, and that this horse is pregnant because it's really no fun to fall in love with a geriatric horse. No adventures can be had there. Eventually, after taking care of this horse (Townsend Holly, stakes winner and dam of many fine race horses), it gives birth to a sickly thing that no one will love except, of course, Ashleigh. And this guy named Charlie Burke. Did I not mention him? Right. Charlie, Townsend Acres' old trainer who haunts the place and just won't retire to Florida like all other normal people, steps in and helps Ashleigh bottle feed this new foal. After many hours and days and weeks and months and failing report cards and sleeping in the barn and getting grounded for failing report cards and being taunted by Brad about how sickly the foal is we get to around the end of the book. The foal is christened Wonder, or Ashleigh's Wonder as she'll later be registered, and the owner of Townsend Acres, Clay Townsend, who acts like God half the time, declares that the filly won't be sold off and they'll keep her on for yearling training. Glorious! Wonder whinnies in joy and all is well. Until the next book when the training problems start, because you didn't think they'd get off easy did you? Certainly not.

In the end, the first book of the series is relatively slow going. There's a lot of angst and needless drama between Brad and Ashleigh serving to set up their future rivalry (the inner fangirl in me sighs for Brad/Ashleigh...*sigh*). More fun and amusing things are set up to happen in the next books, when the action starts and the character list grows and things become more interesting. Sickly foals are inspiring and all, but really it's monotonous after a while (not as if the whole series isn't...oops! revealing too much too early there).

Yeah. I somewhat agree with the majority, but I'd go with four and a half out of five. Because the monotony is worth that extra half star.

Jan 1, 2008

TV, Movies, and Video Games


The Black Stallion (1990-1993)
1.1: Where There's A Will
1.2: Vigil
1.3: First Among Equals
1.4: Long Way Home
1.5: Stowaway
1.6: A Friend in Need
1.7: Pony Express Ride
1.8: The Big Fix
2.1: Barn Burner
2.2: Diamonds
2.3: Chateau Sauvage
2.4: Killer Stallion
2.5: Machine Rider
2.6: The Alhambra Zarr

Caitlin's Way (2000-2002)
1.2: Stray, Part 2
1.4: Boundaries
1.8: Bear With Me
1.16: Caitlin's Trust
1.19: Playing Caitlin
1.22: Under Western Skies
2.29: Money Walks
2.32: All Night Long
2.43: Juliet and Her Romeo
2.46: All About Caitlin

Fury (1955-1960)
1.1 Joey Finds A Friend

Heartland (2007-?)
1.1: Coming Home
1.2: After the Storm
1.3: Breaking Free
1.4: Taking Chances
1.5: Best Laid Plans
1.6: One Trick Pony
1.7: Come What May
1.8: Out of the Darkness
1.9: Ghost from the Past
1.10: Born to Run 
1.11: Thicker Than Water
1.12: Nothing Endures
1.13: Coming Together
2.1: Ghost Horse
2.2: Letting Go

Jockeys (2009-2010)
1.1: Starting Gate
1.2: One Good Horse
1.3: At What Cost?
1.4: Losing Grace

Luck (2011-2012)
1.1: Pilot
1.2: Episode Two

McLeod's Daughters (2001 - ?)
1.1: Welcome Home
1.2: Ducks on the Pond
1.3: Don't Mess with the Girls
1.4: Who's the Boss?

The Saddle Club (2001-2002)
1.1: The Saddle Club
1.2: Work Horses
1.3: Trail Ride Part 1
1.4: Trail Ride Part 2
1.5: Horse Shy
1.6: Mystery Weekend
1.7: School Horse
1.8: Star Quality
1.9: Herdbound
1.10: Greener Pastures: Part 1
1.11: Greener Pastures: Part 2
1.12: Jumping to Conclusions
1.13: Set Up
1.14: Over the Bit

Wildfire (2005-2008)
1.1: Pilot
1.2: Rescue
1.3: Trust
1.4: Mothers
1.5: Guilty
1.6: The Claiming Race
1.7: Lost and Found
1.8: The Track
1.9: The Party
1.10: Identity
1.11: Tina Sharp
1.12: Impressions
1.13: Loyalty
2.1: Try It Without the Porsche
2.2: Opportunity Knocks
2.3: A Good Convict is Hard to Find
2.4: Dangerous Liaisons
2.5: Family Matters
2.6: Nothing Takes Away the Past Like the Future
2.7: Taking Off
2.8: Fear
2.9: Breakdown
2.10: 51/49
2.11: Who Are You
2.12: For Love or Money
2.13: Close Shave
3.1: Fairy Tale Endings
3.2: The Feud
3.3: Moving On
3.4: Close to Home
3.5: Love vs. Work
3.6: Kiss Kiss 
3.7: Push Me/Pull You
3.8: The Goodbye
3.9: Heartless
3.10: Diplomacy
3.11: You Can't Count on Me
3.12: Picking Sides
3.13: So Long Pardner
4.1: The More Things Change (1)
4.2: The More Things Change (2)
4.3: Calm
4.4: Flames
4.5: The Friend
4.6: Friendship/Passion
4.7: Commitment Issues
4.8: Life's Too Short
4.9: Vows
4.10: The Comeback
4.11: Being Mrs. Junior
4.12: The Ties That Bind, Part 1
4.13: The Ties That Bind, Part 2


Amazing Racer aka Shannon's Pride (2013)
Champions (1984)
Disneyland: The Bluegrass Special (1977)
Down Argentine Way (1940)
Flicka (2006)
Flicka 2 (2010)
Flicka 3: Country Pride (2012)
A Horse for Danny (1995)
Moondance Alexander (2007)
My Friend Flicka (1943)
Peter Lundy and the Medicine Hat Stallion (1977)
Race (2008)
Racing Stripes(2005)
Ruffian (2007)
Running Free (1999)
Secretariat (2010)
Shergar (1999)
Simpatico (2000)
Sylvester (1985)
The Black Stallion (1979)
The Black Stallion Returns (1983)
The Cup (2011)
The Derby Stallion (2005)
The First Saturday in May (2007)
The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968)
The Last Victory (2004)
The Long Shot (2004)
The Red Stallion (1947)
The Silver Stallion (1993)
The Wild Stallion (2009)
The Young Black Stallion (2003)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)
Tex (1982)
Thoroughbreds Don't Cry (1937)
Virginia's Run (2002)
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991)

Introducing the Master List

Just because I'm feeling nice today, I decided to make our reviews easier to find. Do you, the reader of our witty and/or volatile commentary, want to know if we've gotten to a specific book yet? Well, there's a good chance we haven't. But that will always change. So stay tuned! Keep in mind that there are five of us, so any one book might have multiple reviews. These will be linked accordingly.

(Updated 12/15/2014)

Thoroughbred Series:
1. A Horse Called Wonder
2. Wonder's Promise
3. Wonder's First Race
4. Wonder's Victory
5. Ashleigh's Dream
6. Wonder's Yearling
7. Samantha's Pride
8. Sierra's Steeplechase
9. Pride's Challenge
10. Pride's Last Race
11. Wonder's Sister
12. Shining's Orphan
13. Cindy's Runaway Colt
14. Cindy's Glory
15. Glory's Triumph
16. Glory In Danger
17. Ashleigh's Farewell
18. Glory's Rival
19. Cindy's Heartbreak
20. Champion's Spirit
21. Wonder's Champion
22. Arabian Challenge
23. Cindy's Honor
24. The Horse of her Dreams (Reviews: Monique, Mara )
25. Melanie's Treasure (Reviews: Monique, Mara)
26. Sterling's Second Chance (Reviews: Monique, Mara)
27. Christina's Courage
28. Camp Saddlebrook
29. Melanie's Last Ride
30. Dylan's Choice (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
31. A Home For Melanie
32. Cassidy's Secret
33. Racing Parker (Reviews: Claire, Mara )
34. On the Track
35. Dead Heat (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
36. Without Wonder (Reviews: Claire, Mara )
37. Star in Danger (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
38. Down to the Wire
39. Living Legend
40. Ulitmate Risk (Reviews: Mara, Monique)
41. Close Call (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
42. The Bad Luck Filly
43. Fallen Star
44. Perfect Image
45. Star's Chance
46. Racing Image (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
47. Cindy's Desert Adventure
48. Cindy's Bold Start
49. Rising Star (Claire, Mara)
50. Team Player
51. Distance Runner (Monique, Mara)
52. Perfect Challenge (Reviews: Mara, Monique)
53. Derby Fever (Reviews: Mara, Monique, Claire)
54. Cindy's Last Hope
55. Great Expectations
56. Hoofprints in the Snow
57. Faith in a Long Shot
58. Christina's Shining Star
59. Star's Inspiration
60. Taking the Reins
61. Parker's Passion
62. Unbridled Fury
63. Starstruck
64. The Price of Fame
65. Bridal Dreams
66. Samantha's Irish Luck
67. Breaking the Fall
68. Kaitlin's Wild Ride
69. Melanie's Double Jinx
71. Calamity Jinx
72. Legacy's Gift

Thoroughbred Super Editions:
Ashleigh's Christmas Miracle
Samantha's Journey (Reviews: Claire, Mara)
Ashleigh's Hope
Ashleigh's Diary

Ashleigh Series:
1. Lightning's Last Hope
2. A Horse for Christmas
3. Waiting for Stardust
4. Goodbye, Midnight Wanderer
5. The Forbidden Stallion
6. A Dangerous Ride
7. Derby Day

The Ashleigh Collection:
Battlecry Forever by Joanna Campbell
Star of Shadowbrook Farm by Joanna Campbell
The Forgotten Filly by Karle Dickerson

Other/Related Children's Books:

A Horse of Her Own by Joanna Campbell
The Wild Mustang by Joanna Campbell
Everyday Friends by Lucy Diggs
Dark Horse by Jean Slaughter Doty
If Wishes Were Horses by Jean Slaughter Doty
Headed For the Win by Rachael Eliker
A Summer of Horses by Carol Fenner
No Small Thing by Natale Ghent
Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff
Shadow Horse by Alison Hart
Whirlwind by Alison Hart
Keeping Barney by Jessie Haas
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Dream of Night by Heather Henson
The Secret Horse by Marion Holland
Somebody's Horse by Dorothy Nafus Morrison
Whisper Goodbye by Dorothy Nafus Morrison
Astra by Christ Platt
Moon Shadow by Chris Platt
Willow King by Chris Platt
Willow King: Race the Wind! by Chris Platt
The Most Beautiful Horse in the World by Diane Redmond
Wild Horse Summer by Hope Ryden
To Race a Dream by Deborah Savage
The Dream Horse by Virginia Campbell Scott
Not on a White Horse by Nancy Springer
Christmas Colt by Mallory Stevens
Horse of Seven Moons by Karen Taschek
The Palomino by Virginia Vail
A Horse of Her Own by Annie Wedekind
A Horse Called Holiday by Frances Wilbur
Firehorse by Diane Lee Wilson

Other/Related Children's Series:

Blue Ribbon Series
1. Riding High

Canterwood Crest by Jessica Burkhart
1. Take the Reins
2. Chasing Blue
3. Behind the Bit
4. Triple Fault

Chestnut Hill by Lauren Brooke
2. Making Strides

Golden Filly Series by Lauraine Snelling
1. The Race

Heartland by Lauren Brooke
1. Coming Home
2. After the Storm
6. One Day You'll Know
7. Out of the Darkness
9. Every New Day

High Hurdles by Lauraine Snelling
1. Olympic Dreams

Horses of Half Moon Ranch by Jenny Oldfield
1. Wild Horses
2. Rodeo Rocky

Lucky Foot Stable by JoAnn S. Dawson
3. A Star Discovered

Phantom Stallion by Terri Farley
1. The Wild One
2. Mustang Moon
4. The Renegade

Pony Camp by Susan Saunders
1. Jessie Takes the Reins
2. Pam's Trail Riding Adventure

Running Horse Ridge by Heather Brooks
1. Sapphire: New Horizons
2. Hercules: A Matter of Trust

Saddle Club by Bonnie Bryant
1. Horse Crazy
2. Horse Shy
3. Horse Sense
17. Horsenapped
86. Secret Horse
87. Show Jumper
Just For Girls: Happy Horse Day!

Sandy Lane Stables
1. A Horse for the Summer

Short Stirrup Club by Allison Estes
1. Blue Ribbon Friends
2. Ghost of Thistle Ridge
3. The Great Gymkhana Gamble

Silver Creek Riders by Beth Kincaid
Back in the Saddle

Sweet Valley Twins
First Place
Lucy Takes the Reins

Timber Ridge Riders by Maggie Dana
1. Keeping Secrets
2. Racing into Trouble
3. Riding for the Stars
4. Wish Upon a Horse

Totally Horse Mad Series by Kathy Helidoniotis
1. Totally Horse Mad (Reviews: Mara, Heather)
2. Horse Mad Summer
3. Horse Mad Academy

Wildwood Stables by Suzanne Weyn
1. Daring to Dream

A Horse Called Bonnie by Pat Johnson and Barbara van Tuyl
1. The Sweet Running Filly
2. A Horse Called Bonnie
3. Sunbonnet: Filly of the Year
4. Bonnie and the Haunted Farm
5. The Betrayal of Bonnie

Caitlin: Love Trilogy by Joanna Campbell
Love Lost
True Love

Pine Hollow by Bonnie Bryant
1. The Long Ride
2. The Trail Home
3. Reining In
4. Changing Leads
5. Conformation Faults

Misc. Young Adult Books:

Ruby by Francesca Lia Block and Carmen Staton
The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka
The Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell
Blood Red Horse by K.M. Grant
Green Jasper by K.M. Grant
Flying Changes by Lynn Hall
Ride a Dark Horse by Lynn Hall
Blue Moon by Marilyn Halvorson
Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton
Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby
The Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
A Horse Called Hustle by CJ Love
Bug Boy by Eric Luper
Last Junior Year by Barbara Morgenroth
Dancer by Shelley Peterson
Blind Beauty by K.M. Peyton
The Outside of a Horse by Ginny Rorby
Eclipsed by Shadow: Book I by John Royce
The Georges and the Jewels by Jane Smiley
Homestretch by Paul Volponi
The Perfect Distance by Kim Ablon Whitney

General Fiction:

The Head and Not the Heart by Natalie Keller Reinert
In & Out: Year One in the Jumping for Gold Series by Barbara Moss
Night Ride Home by Barbara Esstman
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen (Mara, Monique)
Flying Changes by Sara Gruen


Hex by Maggie Estep 
Gargantuan by Maggie Estep
The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag
On The Run by Iris Johansen
Hugger Mugger by Robert B. Parker


The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West by Mary Stanton


Showdown by Tilly Bagshawe
The Gift Horse by Jami Davenport
Devil's Gambit by Lisa Jackson
Gypsy Wind by Lisa Jackson
The Lady by Anne McCaffrey
Chance Meeting by Laura Moore
Ride a Dark Horse by Laura Moore
Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice
Hunter's Moon by Karen Robards
Paradise County by Karen Robards
Irish Dreams by Nora Roberts
Irish Rose by Nora Roberts
Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts
True Betrayals by Nora Roberts
Legends Lake by JoAnn Ross

Thoroughbred Legacy Series (Harlequin)
Flirting With Trouble by Elizabeth Bevarly
Biding Her Time by Wendy Warren
Picture of Perfection by Kristin Gabriel
Something to Talk About by Joanne Rock
Millions to Spare by Barbara Dunlop
Who's Cheatin' Who? by Maggie Price

Author Interviews

Author Interviews:

Jessica Burkhart (1/27/2009)
Alison Hart (11/17/2010)
Maggie Dana (12/18/14)
Brittney Joy (12/28/14)

Guest Posts:

Alison Hart, research and writing (11/19/2010)


We at the Whitebrook Farm Blog strive to review every Thoroughbred Series and Ashleigh Series book in print, however we're not above taking requests for books outside of Thoroughbred. If you want to see a post about a book, we will try to do so, but there are no guarantees. Post your horsey fiction requests here.

(Make sure to check the MASTER LIST of stuff we've already reviewed first!)