The Horse of Her Dreams
by Allison Estes
Original Publication: 1998
Will Christina take a chance on Sterling Dream?
Twelve-year-old Christina Reese is the luckiest girl in the world.She lives at the Whitebrook Farm with her dad, Mike, and her mother, Ashleigh Griffen, one of the most famous jockeys ever. And when Christina asked for a horse for her birthday she got Wonder's Legacy, the last foal of her mom's famous racehorse, Wonder.
But Christina doesn't feel so lucky. Everyone expects her to become a jockey, but Christina wants to be an Event rider. All she needs is the perfect horse. Then she sees Sterling Dream, a beautiful gray mare who's being forced to race against her will. Will Christina risk everything she has to take a chance on a Dream?
Ok, um... is it a traditional thing for whoever writes these things to kind of gloss over the whole plot? I mean, really.
Basically, poor little Christina has outgrown her pony, Trib. She really wants to event, but as far as she is concerned, she will not get another horse due to the fact that she has ownership of Ashleigh's Wonder's very last (for now) colt. Christina's instructor, Mona (of the pre-TB fame), decided to let Chris ride her super event horse, Foster. During this time, we also meet Dylan, the 12-year-old love interest with a strange fetish for chaps. Christina also has the token best friend, Katie, who's only real purpose in this book is a reason for Christina to go on about Dylan and how, like, amazing he is.
Christina gets invited to some dance with Dylan and she also has her very first event coming up. But then, she decides on a whim to take her racehorse, Legacy, for a ride to see what it would be like to ride her very own horse. Legacy bolts with her (is anyone surprised?) and jumps over a fallen tree. Christina decides to jump him again and decides that he will never be a jumper, which is pretty silly, given the fact that any horse can be taught to jump. Anyway.
Her parents find out, get mad, but she goes unpunished. But then! She HAS to go to New York to watch Legacy race! And she will miss her event and the dance with Beau Dylan! Woe!
In New York, she hangs with her cousin, Melanie, who at this stage has more personality than any other TB character to date. Mel, the feisty girl, puts her country cousin on a wild horse called Kenwood and they go for a hack in Central Park. Kenwood tries to buck Chris off, Chris wins as she has riding skills worthy of the best Olympic medalist.
Then, at the track, she finds poor abused Sterling Dream, who hates racing and only wants to jump the railing, which she does in her race. Christina then finds that the horse is being treated unfairly and begs for her mom and dad to claim poor Sterling, as she is the horse from the dream she had! Which, in TB world, is as good a reason as any.
Sterling was, however, claimed by someone else! But Chris trades her highly valuable racehorse, the last foal of Wonder, for her without hesitation.
We end with a romantic gallop.
Yes, the plot sucks. Yes, Christina is a brat. But credit must be given to Ms. Estes, who actually can write a ton better than most TB authors. I loved Melanie so much and I was thrilled she would become a permanant fixture in the series.
Points of Interest
- Christina seems to have little regard for the horses she rides in this book. She beats the daylights out of Trib and tries to make him jump something unsafe to beat Kevin in a race. She then forces Legacy out on the trails, even though the poor horse is terrified. She then hits him to force him to run. But she loves horses, yessir.
- Dylan is an event rider who wears full western chaps. Am I the only one who sees something wrong here?
- I was highly amused by the whole "Chrissy" nickname thing and how much Chris hates it.
- Kevin is a friend Christina so does not deserve. He patched up her wounds and even put cream on it. How sweet, for a preteenaged boy.
- The Terminator. The horse and his name were just plain funny.
- Maureen Algretti was named after someone called Maureen Mack, who received a dedication in this book. Later, Maureen's surname changes to Mack in some kind of typical TB writers' confusion.
- Gardener Farm is the most pathetic name ever. If they had to bring Mona 'back'(as she was never a part of the actual series), they could have at least thought of a nice name for her conveniently close farm.
- Leap of Faith is a chestnut in this book. (she is just like Joseph with her technicolored coat!)
- At least we could tell that Ms. Estes has actually been to NYC, bless her.