Aug 9, 2008

The Whitebrook Farm Blog Basics


The goal here is relatively simple: we read the Thoroughbred series and then scurry back to report our findings. As it happens, our focus has broadened to reading just about any book that involves horses and recapping it for our entertainment. From The Saddle Club to those completely obscure stand alone novels you've never heard about. We're also here to review television shows and movies, therefore this blog should be active forever.

Recaps tend to run from nostalgic to forthright. We're tend to post spoilers. The blog's purpose is entertainment, and the absolute last thing anyone needs is to take it 100% seriously. We're only serious a small portion of the time here as it is. Read, laugh, request a recap of your favorite horsey book, and sit back to watch the antics. It's all in good fun.

About Us:

You might wonder what makes us qualified to run this blog besides the fact that we can read, write, and operate a computer. Perhaps not astonishingly, nothing qualifies us. The fact that we can accomplish all of the previously listed things is pretty much it. That and we all have a horrible yearning to read books involving horses. Some of us might, actually, have experience with horses or some sort of knowledge picked up from somewhere, I guess. In any case, here's a breakdown of the partners in crime.

The Editor:

Mara actually remembers when A Horse Called Wonder was the only Thoroughbred book in print, because she was ten at the time, which makes her 28 now. Currently she's a librarian (and author and professional book reviewer...seriously!) residing in Pittsburgh, where children's and young adult books involving horses have absolutely nothing to do with her job. Her love for TB was briefly interrupted when she was thirteen and sold the first (and only, at that point) eleven books in the series at a garage sale. When she was sixteen she realized her tremendous mistake and bought them all back so she could read them over and over again for no reason. Mara rides fairly consistently, and focuses on dressage. Her favorite character of all horse books everywhere is Brad Townsend, and she likes to picture him as Christian Bale playing Bruce Wayne, because she just does.

What else is Mara reading? Take a look at Good Reads for more reviews and whatnot. She also reviews supernatural YA at A Novel Year.

If you've got a concern you feel needs to be addressed, Mara is the administrator of the Whitebrook Farm Blog and you can e-mail her here: wbfblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Contributors/Guest Reviewers:

Claire, who enjoys writing biographies about herself in third person in the interests of sounding official, is 24 years old and studied history at George Mason University. This is because she does not enjoy making money. She began reading the Thoroughbred Series in third grade when she purchased Wonder's Yearling from a Scholastic book order form thingy that they always used to hand out in school. She recalls reading it in the orthodontist's office and being captivated by its characters and the maturity of the writing (hey, for a book aimed at 8 to 12 year-olds, the early TB series was surprisingly mature!). This began a lifelong love affair with these books that culminated in the creation of the website. She of course also read every horse book she could get her grubby hands on, especially when dragged to the pool against her will every day during the summer (water terrifies her). She took riding lessons for eight years before all the barns around her closed and her instructor fell off the face of the earth. After six years away from horses, she is once again searching for a place to ride. This will surely help her point out every gaping inaccuracy in all the books she reads for this blog. Her greatest fear is that the writers she lampoons will one day find this blog and send her nasty hate mail.

Monique: I am a 25 year-old South African who discovered the Thoroughbred Series at the tender age of 8, when I thought the books were an accurate account of riding. They inspired me to ride, because if Ashleigh could jockey a horse, so could I! Sadly, my dreams were shattered when I fell off again and again…leaving me to wonder about the inherent potential the books had lead me to believe in. I did own a pony…a grumpy mare called Cisco…Wonder she was not. Despite her colouring! Not all chestnuts possess the ability to Bond with their One and Only Girl! Now, I am a full-time student, studying Nature Conservation and doing my small part to save the world from the various evils that plague it… (Yes, I mean you, Stephenie Meyer. You and your stupid vampire books!) Monique has more reviews at A Novel Year.

Elizabeth has been reading horse books since she was little. She credits her parents for starting her on The Saddle Club, because they wouldn't let her read The Baby-Sitters Club, and her grandma for starting her on Thoroughbred. In addition to writing for the Whitebrook Farm blog, Elizabeth works in a library and teaches swimming lessons for children. She has a BA from Goucher College and is currently mired in getting an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Lei remembers buying A Horse Called Wonder not long after it hit the shelves, which means she's probably dating herself here (being which, she's the oldest of the whole crew -- draw your own conclusion here, really, folks) and she's been reading the series ever since. Something of a crazy horse fanatic, Lei has had horses on the brain for longer than she can really remember. She was lucky enough to own a grand old Thoroughbred named Flair, and they were partners for 12 long years until his death at the age of 30 in June of 2007. Now, she's proud to say that she is gasp an adult who rides a pony -- a golden butterbutt of a Haflinger named Mitch, who's birthday is ironically the day before hers. This love affair with ponies has sparked her ire against the animosity towards ponies in any series where pree-teen children whine about wanting a horse and consider ponies to be the Root of All Evil (Lei admits it ... ponies are smart little bastards, but they're really not that bad.) In terms of what she plans to do with her life, she's discovered she rather likes teaching kindergarten and pre-school kids, and thus will probably get a job at a school in a computer lab or as a computer teacher or something.

Heather asked Santa for a horse every year as a kid. Now as a 24 year-old, she has two of her own and takes care of four others to earn her keep. When she's not slave to her equine charges, scooping poop, she's slave to her job at a hospice in Kokomo, IN, keeping supply inventory and maintaining medical records. Sometimes she even has time to ride! Heather's babies are: Feather, an eight year-old, chestnut quarter horse mare, and Pirate, an eighteen year-old, black and white, gaited something or other. Heather's first horsie books were The Saddle Club. She then discovered Thoroughbred and followed the series well into middle school. Going through some boxes last year she found her collection, reread them, and wondered if anyone else remembered these books. Getting online, she randomly decided to Google 'Whitebrook Farm' and the rest was history. Heather's first and foremost goal is to review all the Saddle Club TV series episodes. To her shame, this has led to an unhealthy obsession with Max Regnery. One could say that Max has become Heather's Brad Townsend. Or one could simply say she's crazy, and probably be right.

Aimee is a high school student in Nova Scotia. She wishes she could ride more often, but due to medical circumstances (it's kind of hard to get on a horse when you can hardly breathe, have a nasty headache, and/or dry heaving, isn't it?) and the condition of the roads she can't. So she likes to play horse games to get her riding fix, which isn't exactly the same but good enough. She's planning to go into computers, or to be more specific, A+ Certification. Anyways, her first horse game was Let's Ride: Silver Buckle Stables. She also likes reading the Throughbred series, although it's hard for her to find the books as there's very few in the public library. Her first Throughbred book was #5. And this is the biography of Aimee, although it's not very organized, which is basically how Aimee is until it comes to computers, then you should see her THEN!!!

And that, you know, is us.


Susan Benson said...

I was interested to see your review of Sweet Running Filly, by Barbara Van Tuyl you and your readers might be interested to know that the series is going to be re released early in 2010

Anonymous said...


Just wondered why was offline?



Mara said...

Claire was the owner of As far as I know, she let the site expire. I have no word on if or when the main site will ever be back online.