Nov 22, 2008

Saddle Club: In which I suffer the return of Deborah

Saddle Club S.1.12 “Jumping to Conclusions”

This episode starts off with Veronica bitching over Max assigning Prancer to Lisa while she gets reassigned to Patch. My personal opinion is that Patch is adorable. Veronica does not share my opinion. As she dismounts in a temper tantrum, Patch starts walking, landing Veronica on her butt. The Saddle Club snickers and Veronica says Lisa isn’t good enough to ride Prancer.

Later, the girls are still making fun of Veronica up by the quarry. Phil tries to justify her behavior by saying she’s probably still upset about Cobalt. This pisses Stevie off.

Veronica is curling her eyelashes (God, why do people do that?) and bitching to Kristi about Prancer. In walks a member of Red’s band, Jake, who is apparently hot. Once again, I really don’t see the hotness. Kristi and Veronica fall for him. Jake’s unhappy that Red spends more time working than practicing. After all, Jake’s made sacrifices. He skips school and everything all for the band. Loser.

Red asks Max for Saturday off, but Max says no. Then Deb shows up. Blech. She and Max are all awkward smiling. It makes me sick. Max tells Red if he can find someone to work part time, he can have Saturday off. Then he and Deb are smiley some more. Whoo.

Kristi attempts to flirt with Jake. Veronica comes in and breaks it up, dragging Kristi out. Phil witness all this and thinks Jake is some girl attracting god, so he asks for some advice for asking Stevie out. Jake’s brilliant suggestion? Hey, tell her she looks good, because all girls love complements. Awesome.

Lisa goes to tack up Prancer, but finds her acting strange. Max agrees that she’s not quite herself, but thinks she’ll settle down. During the lesson, she acts skittish and refuses a jump. True to her character, Veronica snarks that a horse is only as good as its rider. Max tells her not to ride her on the trails to cool her out, and that he’ll have Red check her feed.

Stevie borrowed her brother’s shirt without asking, says he’ll never notice, and then promptly spills soda on it. I laughed. So did Carole. Phil comes in and, not noticing the soda stain, complements Stevie’s shirt. Epic fail. Stevie gets mad because she thinks he’s making fun of her.

Lisa is worried about Prancer, but Max thinks she’s just having an off day. Veronica comes up and says Prancer’s slacking off because of her novice rider. Max retorts that he doesn’t consider Lisa to be a novice anymore. Lisa doubts herself and tells Max that maybe Veronica should ride Prancer. Max doesn’t want Lisa to lose me confidence, but agrees to let Veronica ride Prancer for one day.

Veronica continues being a bitch and Lisa insists that Prancer is not well. Phil tries to complement Stevie again and fails again. Red comes in and says Prancer’s feed is fine. Veronica acts bitchy some more. Red then tells them that all the horses have strict feeding routines, and that no one is to feed the horses anything extra. He tells the girls about a horse that would turn into a steeplechaser every time he was fed extra oats. It’s news to me that oats will make a horse hot (that is, high spirited) but this story puts a scheme in Veronica’s head.

Red tries to get Jake to take the part time job so he can get more time off and they can get in some rehearsal time. Jake’s not interested in horses. Red gives him a hard time about Kristi and Veronica, saying they’re too young for him. Jake acts like a jerk, going “I can’t help it if they dig me.” Loser. He then steps in horse poo and gets all huffy.

Veronica sneaks some oats to Prancer as Jake tells Phil to “play it cool.” As in, ignore Stevie all together. Brilliant.

The next day, Prancer does well for Veronica. Despite getting exactly what she wanted, she still has to be a bitch, saying “You either have it or you don’t, right Lisa?” Lisa looks sad.

Veronica goes further, telling Lisa that since Prancer means so much to her, she can cool her out. That’s the only way she’ll ever get to ride her. Lisa agrees to do it saying they can ride her up to the quarry. Carole tells Stevie to invite Phil. After some protesting, she does, but Phil ignores her. Stevie leaves all annoyed and Phil looks confused.

Stevie and Carole determine that Veronica is doing something to make Prancer act so strange. They head back to find some evidence while Lisa stays out with Prancer.

Stevie and Carole start going through Veronica’s bag, where they are predictably caught by Max.

Phil finds Lisa and asks where the others are. Lisa teases him about Stevie, but tells him she likes him back. She tells him that Stevie hates to be ignored, and when he doesn’t respond she says she doesn’t either. Suddenly Phil says the plant Prancer is eating is oleander, which is poisonous.

As Max brings Stevie and Carole to apologize to Veronica, they catch her putting extra oats in Prancer’s feed bag. Max is thoroughly ticked, suspends her from lessons, and tells her, if she’s lucky, she’ll get to ride Patch again. Lisa and Phil come in with the news that Prancer’s been poisoned.

Dr. Judy tells them that Prancer didn’t eat very much, so she should be alright in 24 hours. After Lisa’s first lesson on Prancer, they rode up to the quarry, where Prancer got into the oleander. The next day, Prancer was sick, so they didn’t go up to the quarry. Later Veronica gave her the oats, so by the next lesson she was back to normal. Stevie gives Phil a big hug, which makes him all love dizzy.

Jake runs into Deb, which makes him act like a goober. Max comes up and says Jake will be working for them part time. Jake, in awe of Deb, stupidly parrots his consent.

Elsewhere, Kristi and Veronica are arguing over Jake. They agree to let Jake decide, but when they go to find him they discover him talking to/ trying to flirt with Deb. They are both disgusted because she is far too old for him, and he must be so desperate. Kristi turns her attention back to Red, and Veronica just looks exasperated.

In a lesson later on, Lisa and Prancer are getting along much better. Veronica is again on Patch. Poor Patch.

This is the best Prancer centered episode thus far. That’s not to say the episode was great. Veronica’s over the top bitchiness annoyed me more than usual. Therefore, the episode gets a B.

I do have to say Prancer and Lisa have really become my favorite horse/rider team. They are both imperfect, and have both undergone real character growth. A big part of this show is the merchandising, and I have somewhat fallen into the trap. The Breyer Prancer model has come to live on my desk at work, and despite myself, I may have to get the rest of the Saddle Club set.

Nov 21, 2008

Wildfire: I don't have a snappy title for this one.

1.4: Mothers

Okay, so my love for this show is starting to grow and flourish, quite unexpectedly. In this episode, we've got parallels being drawn between Matt's mom, Jean, and Kris's mother, the less responsible Barb, who does not look like she could at all give birth to someone who looks like Kris. But that's besides the point. The issue is Jean and Barb, and the episode mostly revolves around them.

So. Wildfire is gate training. This is all fine and dandy until Kris's mom shows up and announces that she's petitioned the parole board to let Kris come back to live with her. Apparently all she needs is a written consent from Jean to allow all of this to happen. Meanwhile, Jean is collecting everything that might have some worth in the house, preparing the best garage sale ever. Her engagement ring is among the items listed to be sold, and when Matt finds out about this he gets all uppity about how these things are "the family history!" And Jean gets upset about decisions she has to make and it's not like she's spring cleaning here.

Barb moves into Kris's trailer, completely upsetting the balance of everything. Barb has been sober for six whole months, and is determined to bring Kris home with her so she can stay clean. Kris is sure to help her! Or so she keeps insisting. Kris is right to point out that her mother is being selfish, and is also right to not trust her at all. Then you have Jean over there, who has dealt with her addict ex-husband. Jean is concerned about Kris having to manage her mother, because having had to manage her husband's problems.

So while Barb is trying to reel Kris back into her motherly grip by using every passive aggressive tactic in the book, Jean's engagement ring goes missing. Immediately Kris thinks her mom stole the ring, which is a good guess. The ring stays missing for a while, all the time Kris is accusing her mother of stealing it. Her mom is all "blah blah you may have stolen it blah" because somewhere in the course of all of this she fell off the wagon again. Kris sets her back up in her trailer and (probably) finds herself back in the role of keeper. When her mother finally passes out she ransacks the place and finds the pills hidden in a stick of deodorant. Ah, addicts. They are so creative.

Meanwhile, Matt and Junior have decided to call a truce on Kris and meet up with their bookie, who is having a party at his house. Once there, they are astonished by a woman who can tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue. Things might have gotten interesting from here, but then Dani and Amber have to show up, disgusting Matt and Junior, who leave immediately. You see, Dani is still on the outs because of her drag racing stunt. Junior, weirdly enough, has been winning tons of points with me as of late because the fall out of this has left him with some great lines. In fact, he has the best lines of the show, from complaining about his sister possibly breaking the alien toy in his cereal to wishing his sister would be called back to hell, from whence she originated, or something. Matt is too preoccupied with his failing farm to be of much interest to me, especially since he's STUPID and decides that betting more on random sporting events is going to get him somewhere. Dude, it doesn't work that way.

Anyway, eventually Jean's ring shows back up and Matt confesses to having taken it because he has all these lingering issues about his father. Jean insists that she had to take him and his brother away because it was the only option, because really, Matt doesn't want to be in Kris's shoes. Speaking of Kris, she finds out that Matt stole the ring and immediately has a freak out about how she kept (wrongly) accusing her mother. Although apparently she seems to have forgotten about all that passive aggressive "come home because it will help me, not you" stuff her mom was pulling, even after Jean has this long conversation with her about how nothing her mom does is Kris's fault. All true.

SO. Kris gets all pissed at Matt and Matt calls Junior, who rushes to find her in his Porsche so he can take her to the bus station in order for her to have a goodbye with her mother, who has decided to leave without Kris. Kris demands to know why Junior wants to take her to the station, and I found this part pretty sweet. He levels with her, and says his mom left in a taxi, which is all he remembers, and he was too young to have any say. Kris gets to have a say, so she decides this is a good reason and gets in the car. Nice, Junior. You are growing on me ever more, despite your horrible name.

Kris goes to the bus stop, and Junior looks on awkwardly as she says goodbye to her mom and apologizes for thinking she stole the ring, etc. Her mom is still annoying, mainly because she's probably going to go fall off the wagon again. No, I have no sympathy.

Then Matt, in his quest to continue being stupid, goes back to his bookie's house to bet on another game, finding Dani there, topless and proud of it. It was highly amusing, because that would happen to Matt of all people. Seriously, did anyone think Kris was going to wind up with him after that scene? Um, no. It was going to be Junior from the get go. This is plain as freaking day.

Oh, yeah, and Wildfire had some issue with gates at the track. He kept shying at them and refusing to go in, but he would go in a gate just fine at Raintree. Todd, Matt's younger brother, discovers that the answer to this is the goat that they have at Raintree. They take the goat to the track, and miraculously it works. This was the Thoroughbred plot for this episode, obviously.

And that's it for this episode. Now I finally get to return this disc to Netflix and see what else is in my giant queue of horsey movies and tv shows. Should I get more Wildfire? Should I get a movie? Something else? What say you?

Nov 18, 2008

Mary Anderson is not conducive to my mental stability.

Down to the Wire
Thoroughbred #38
by Mary Newhall Anderson

This is one of those books where I'll just start to type as I read, because Down to the Wire is Mary Anderson's debut, and I think it's rather widely acknowledged that Mary was exceptionally well meaning, but she half-assed on the execution. This might be because Mary wasn't exactly the strongest writer brought on board the Thoroughbred series. In fact, this book is a little painful in the show not tell department. However, Mary tried, and seemed so genuinely determined, so I'll always give her a little sentimental A for effort, but honestly she did a lot of weird things, for which I can never quite forgive her.

I don't mind this cover, although something about it looks awkward. It is nice to see yet another version of Whitebrook's silks on a Thoroughbred cover, though. That is a big plus.
A tough choice...

Wonder's Star has returned to Whitebrook Farm, and Christina Reese is thrilled to have him home again. But if Star doesn't win one of his first two races, Townsend Acres will take him back forever.

Christina isn't a jockey yet -- the thought of racing terrifies her -- but Star won't run well for anyone else. Will Christina have to become Star's jockey in order to save him?
This is actually a correct summary, if you don't count that tag line, because I can't quite figure out what the tough choice is referring to. What tough choice is she making in this summary? The choice between jockeying Star and possibly keeping him, or not jockeying Star and definitely not keeping him? There is no hint of this being a choice in the book. There's hardly even a choice between Sterling and Star in the book. So...gotta love those summary writers, am I right?

That all said, let's hop back on the recycled plotline merry-go-round. Star is preparing to start his racing career, and there's all this angst about it because if Star doesn't do well in one of his first two races he will be shipped back to Townsend Acres, where he needlessly suffered for no discernible reason other than it suited Alice Leonhardt's whims. Lately he's just been super shiny, what with Chris exercising him at Keeneland and what all. Apparently Mary has been doing some racing homework, because she's breaking out all these racing rules about published works and requirements that have to be met before a horse can be entered in its first race. You see, these are things I appreciate for their levels of realism, but to a certain degree it's just filler. In this case, who knows if they're totally made up facts. In this instance, I didn't really care. The important thing to note is how anxious Chris is about the whole thing. Training Star = Racing Star = Possibly Giving Up Star. Her logic is remarkably simple, and repeated frequently. This issue rears its ugly head immediately in the first chapter, when Brad and Parker show up at Keeneland to see what Ashleigh & Co. are up to with Star. The conversation goes as all conversations inevitably do when Brad discusses anything with someone from Whitebrook. Essentially:

Brad: Hi.
Ash: *cool stare* Hello.
Brad: *is too cool to care* I see you are working Star. How is he?
Ash: He is fine.
Brad: His times suggest he should start racing.
Ash: We are in agreement.
Brad: Great. Tell me when you're racing him. How about in two weeks? I'll be around then.
Christina: *shifty eyes*
Ash: We will inform you of our race choice ASAP.
Brad: Excellent. I will now depart. *departs*
Christina: OMG! I HATE HIM!
Ash: I know honey, I know.


Anyway, Brad exits with Parker, who does not give Christina the immediate attention she desires and yearns for, which obviously tips Christina off that something is wrong. Although we can save this for later, because this is just one of the issues with Mary's writing. What we have to deal with now is Star being a Wonder foal. Obviously the Wonder foals are exceptional race horses, but none of those horses were really that sane. They're all persnickety brats when it comes right down to it, and Star is no exception. He is a one person horse, just like his mom, which we all saw coming. So when Naomi tries to exercise him, his times suffer, and while no one thinks that's a big deal, Chris is about ready to have a heart attack over it. Chris should clearly be Star's jockey, but because I guess everyone lacks the necessary foresight here, she does not have her jockey's license and there is no time for her to get a license before his first race, and she needs to have a few test races first before she can just get on a maiden...all very logical except there was all that time know, between when Christina was fifteen in the last book and when she's sixteen in this one? What have they been doing? Anticipating disaster and looking forward to the angsting they can accomplish?

Well, whatevers. When Star's race comes up, Naomi rides him and Star barely gets what's expected of him. He practically canters past the grandstand, then passes most of the horses like they're standing still, then goes back to cantering or something and comes in fourth. This is a disaster, clearly. Star has one more chance to get his act together, or back he goes to live with Brad.

Next to this whole issue we have dear, sweet Parker, who is over there acting all weird in Christina's uber special presence. He's avoiding Christina, and even goes so far as to drive her home from school in complete silence, provoking Christina's probing questions about his home life. Randomly he tells her that his father is trying to control his life and his mother spends too much time with her beauty products, and his is not a happy home. Although then he seems to do a complete turn around during yet another picnic, when he tells Christina that he has a sudden change of college plans, which now include going to a business school in Italy, of all places, because Brad somehow has connections in Italy. Naturally, I don't question Brad having connections in Italy, I just wonder about why Parker is all happy to go, especially after he's all reticent to listen to Brad's nefarious plans to dictate his life (according to Parker). Perhaps it has something to do with Brad changing tactics and using his persuasive voice...who knows. Anyway, Parker seems to have decided on Italy, letting Brad plan his life for him and seemingly being okay with the manipulation...again. Really, it's too easy for Brad in some cases.

While Brad is busy getting Parker to fall into line with his plans, he's also busy manipulating Ashleigh (again). He wants Star to race in some other stakes at Churchill Downs, and because Brad has ordered it, it's going to damn well happen. Ashleigh yet again bows to his will, which never ceases to amaze me, and because it's been proven that Naomi and Star are a no go, they are going to use Melanie on Star, who has somehow been proven to connect with Star enough to get results (I guess this happened at some point, because there is photographic evidence, but Mary never bothers to show us Melanie and Star interacting much at all, so I remain unconvinced). Christina is pissy some more about this development, and so is Melanie, because Melanie knows Christina has a bond with Star and blah blah blah. The problem here is, of course, that Christina has no license. This is because she hasn't mastered gate work yet. So she gets her ass in gear and starts to work on the gate. This takes up a lot of time, because she really sucks at breaking out of the gate. When Ashleigh gets her a gate test, she actually loses a stirrup and nearly falls off the horse, so while I appreciate that Christina isn't immediately perfect at this stuff (such as Cindy, and Ashleigh before her, not to mention Samantha's random steeplechase) I still have to wonder...why weren't they working on this way way way before their inevitable problem?

In the middle of her gate work issues, Christina decides to move Sterling to Samantha's farm, and subsequently sells Sterling. Samantha buys her and decides to lease her out to the new girl, Kaitlin. I will give Mary some points here, because I think she did a good job with...some of this. I wasn't too thrilled with Samantha suddenly going, "Oh, hey, I have money and can buy Sterling." Also the whole plot is still contrived and forced, given all the anti-racing sentiments other authors (Allison Estes, I'm looking at you) forced on Christina. That goes without saying. However, Christina didn't dump Sterling off with Kaitlin without putting thought behind her actions, and I liked the transition Mary made between leaving Sterling with Samantha and moving on to Star, so while I get the complaining about this, I would have had a far greater issue had Christina kept Sterling and managed to have the best of both worlds. So, frankly, I feel most of the angry reaction to "dumping" Sterling off on Kaitlin was exaggerated. There was plenty of discussion about what was fair to the horse, so I can't see what more we could have logically expected from Thoroughbred on this.

Anyway, we're getting closer to race time for Star and Ashleigh is still being all weird about letting Christina test again, even after Christina has worked and worked to the point of perfection on breaking from the gate. Why does Ashleigh stall on this? It's Mary Anderson's attempt at creating false drama, and that's pretty much it. She gives absolutely no reason why she wants Christina to wait...she just does. However, conveniently for Christina, Ashleigh wants to take Star and Melanie up to Churchill Downs for a week to prepare for the race. I guess Melanie no longer needs to be at school...I'm sure her dad is thrilled. This gives Christina a window to act irresponsibly (but always correctly) to go out and get her gate test done without Ashleigh's approval. She calls up Parker, insists on having him drive her and Sassy Jazz to Keeneland, and she tests wonderfully with Vicky and Tommy (jockeys who were apparently there way back when in Thoroughbred canon, but not, if you get my drift). Christina gets her jockey's license, and all is happiness and light until she gets home and realizes that Ashleigh has heard all about this and has rushed home to tell Chris that there is no guarantee that she'll ride Star in his race. Basically: "Congratulations! Oh, but this doesn't mean I'm letting you actually apply this to anything, sweetie. You disobeyed me, so feel my random, heartfelt wrath." Christina is crushed and feels the impending doom, probably envisioning Brad polishing his equine torture equipment.

So after this Ashleigh decides that they feel obligated to go to a flashy function, quite possibly the only function they've been to involving the Townsends that doesn't involve marriage vows. During the dinner, Ashleigh and Mike announce that Christina will ride Star, but then Brad comes along to rain on their parade by stating the obvious: Christina is not experienced enough! Or at all! She might, like, cause an accident, so he insists that he will make sure Christina doesn't ride the colt using his super co-owner powers. Ashleigh tries to cut in to argue, but he simply silences her by raising his hand and casually tells her that he'll protest and Star is as good as his. Ashleigh, completely astonished by how awesome he is, immediately surrenders. Like she always does.

Anyway, before the race, Melanie fakes an injury and Christina is swiftly ushered in as the replacement rider. Brad will never know because he always watches the races from the stands...which means he never visits the walking ring, or something? (Not to even mention this is totally not Brad's style, but whatever.) So Parker, of all people, gives Christina a leg up and she sees Brad looking all pissed off, but it's too late! She is on the horse and...yeah, like a horse can't be scratched at this point. Uh-huh. There's also this handy thing called disqualification, but we won't get into that.

So we have this super long race scene, where Christina spends most of the time freaking out as we get a furlong by furlong blow by blow of every tiny freaking thing that happens. Wow, that took a long time. Christina wins, Brad pretends to be happy (you know, he could be happy...I mean, what the hell?), Ashleigh and Brad have some weird off screen moment, Parker blows Christina a kiss and randomly tells her he's not going to Europe. He, like, never wanted to go in the beginning. Of course, I guess. Then everyone has a collective crazy moment over how fantastic Star is and how Ashleigh is so proud of Christina and everyone can rest easy. Star is staying at Whitebrook, everyone. Super!

  • Melanie guided Heart through an invisible opening between the two leaders. An invisible opening?
  • Mary has a tendency to simplify things to the point where she inadvertently changes facts. For instance, Ashleigh originally shipped Star off to Townsend Acres because she blamed herself for Wonder's death and seeing Star every day constantly reminded her of that fact. In Down to the Wire, this explanation has shifted to Ashleigh blaming Star for Wonder's death. I can see how Mary would make this mistake -- it's an easy one to make -- but it's just one of the many little ways she took a more complicated issue and dumbed it down.
  • Also, Ashleigh did not ride Wonder in the Kentucky Derby. Why do we keep insisting on this, Mary? Why?
  • Ashleigh says something about finding a nice maiden race for Star, and I guess all the nice maiden races were no good, or something, because she comes up with something called the Keeneland Futurity instead. By the way, this is all taking place in late March/early April...when two-year-olds aren't exactly running. Are we curious about the disconnect between Christina throwing a fit over backing Star a little earlier than expected and everyone totally being okay with racing Star before he's technically two? Yeah, I thought not.
  • "I know it sounds pompous, but..." Wow, where have I heard this line before? Oh, yes. It was when Cindy said basically the same thing about being Glory's one special person in Glory's Triumph. Yes, Christina, it does make you sound horribly pompous to simply walk around telling people that they are not as special as you. Of course, in any real world this might rub someone the wrong way, but in Christina's world everyone more or less agrees.
  • Everyone keeps shortening Samantha's name to Sam. This irritates me, because it was always shortened to Sammy, and even in the narrative it was always Samantha, not Sam.
  • I find it weird that Parker is suddenly going to Henry Clay. Especially when Christina goes out to wait for Parker to pick her up after school. Like, couldn't she just walk out to his car with him? On top of that, no way in hell would Brad have his kid in a public school. There is about 0% chance of that being possible.
  • I, personally, loved the scene where Christina had to go talk to the racing stewards before getting her license. There's something ridiculous about a few old men looking down their noses at Christina and saying something to the effect of: "Young lady, racing is dangerous. You know that, right?"
  • Ashleigh spends a nice moment with Christina before the race, when she gives Chris her saddle that she used with Wonder. Only this occurs in the jockey's room, and jockeys don't bring their saddles out with them to the saddling paddock. But whatevers.
  • Brad knows. Again. Christina assumes that he has been maneuvering to get Star back at Townsend Acres, but honestly I think he just likes creating drama while he gets everyone else to do all the work. He manipulates everyone, gets a winning race horse, and creates some havoc while he's at it. Sounds like a fun plan to me.
So, that completes the Wonder's Legacy trilogy. Started out great, got a little rocky, and then completely fell apart. That's the sort of consistency I like in my Thoroughbred books.

Nov 14, 2008

Saddle Club: In which we get three-dimensional characters, yay!

Saddle Club S.1.11 “Greener Pastures Part 2”
First off, I’m sorry I haven’t posted lately. I seem to have to catch every cold that goes around this month. Indiana weather is not helping. OK, the last episode was good. Really good by Saddle Club standards. It made me cry and everything.
This episode starts off with a memorial of sorts for Cobalt in his favorite field. Everyone takes a turn saying something. Carole and Veronica are both silent, giving each other death stares.

Carole blames Veronica completely, which is fair to a degree, but Carole blows it entirely out of proportion. She’s super pissed that anyone feels sorry for Veronica and wants her banned from Pine Hollow. She then goes completely emo, tearing down her horse pictures and saying she quits horses.

While Max is giving a lesson, Sam says he doesn’t think it’s fair acting like nothing happened. Max tells Sam it’s okay if he wants to sit out the jumping for now.

Carole continues to be emo, Lisa and Stevie don’t want to go to lessons without her. They inform Carole that Starlight is miserable without her, and she tries to tell them to ride him.
At Pine Hollow, Ashley tries to get Delilah to eat. She tells Mrs. Reg that Delilah is missing Cobalt. Starlight is also acting lonely.

Max is giving Sam a jumping lesson, but Sam keeps pulling Pepper up before the jumps. Max tells him he can lay off the jumping until he feels ready. Max is hot. Yes, this is a mandatory statement.

The vet stops in to see Delilah and says there’s nothing to worry about. She asks about Carole, but Max and Mrs. Reg only say that she’s taking Cobalt’s death very hard, but they wouldn’t give up on her yet.

Dr. Judy visits Carole at her home. She explains that prolonging Cobalt’s suffering would be much harder than letting him go. Carole retorts that sometimes you can save a horse, but the owner tells you not to bother. Carole pouts.

Later, Carole asks Stevie and Lisa to sell Starlight for her. They try to tell her that they all feel bad about Cobalt, but she criticizes them for continuing to ride. Stevie points out that the other horses don’t deserve to be punished for what happens. Carole gets pissed off some more and storms out.

Stevie and Lisa are worried about both Carole and Starlight. Stevie comes up with a scheme and Lisa looks worried and mildly disgusted. Really, her expression sums up how I feel about most of Stevie’s plans.

They go to Carole’s house and tell her they’ve found a buyer. Starlight needs a rider and this person needs a horse. Carole even knows the buyer. It’s Veronica. Stevie’s lie lights a fire under Carole’s butt and she heads for the barn as Stevie gives Lisa an ‘I told you so smirk.’

Carole tells Starlight that he doesn’t want to be around her. After her mother and Cobalt’s deaths, she thinks she’s jinxed. Carole then attacks Veronica, saying she can’t have Starlight. Veronica obviously has no idea what she’s talking about. Carole then says she can’t believe Veronica can even look at another horse. Veronica starts getting upset as Carole tells her Cobalt would still be alive if it weren’t for her, and that she’s not going to let her kill Starlight too. Veronica begins to cry and says she’s not getting another horse.

She says that her parents wanted to buy her an expensive jumper, but she didn’t want it. She also admits that she knows it was her fault, that Cobalt didn’t want to jump, but he didn’t want to let her down. As she cries, Carole comforts her. It’s a fairly touching moment.

Sam blames himself, because he challenged Veronica to the jump off. Mrs. Reg convinces him that it wasn’t his fault, and encourages him to try jumping again. As he goes to get Pepper he notices that Delilah is acting strange. Lisa and Stevie gawk at the sight of Veronica and Carole talking as Sam comes running out to get Mrs. Reg and Dr. Judy. At Delilah’s stall, Max tells them all that she’s just cranky. He then reveals that she’s pregnant with Cobalt’s foal. They didn’t want to say anything until they knew she was alright. Everyone’s happy. Yay.

Later, Carole is watching the video of her lesson and being slightly less emo. When some footage of her mom comes on, she and her dad share some good memories from before her mother got sick. Carole’s dad says it’s okay to be happy and sad at the same time. Hugs and sad music, and Carole’s dad is kinda pretty.

The next day, Carole gives Veronica a picture she took of Cobalt and offers to help the vet with Delilah. The Saddle Club then exchange hugs and giggles. The end.

This was another good episode. Carole’s behavior may seem a little extreme, but it’s a fairly accurate interpretation of a grieving child. Veronica got to be three-dimensional two episodes in a row. Whoo hoo. What the heck, this episode gets an A as well. We’re on a roll!

Another adventure with YouTube

I haven't watched a music video in a while (if you don't count those weird teen music videos on The N whenever I'm watching Caitlin's Way, and even then I fast forward through all of that as I don't have the time to mock those people). But Books, Mud and Compost posted this today, so I'll have to follow suit because it's just about the last thing I ever expected.

Nov 11, 2008

Karen, have we really come this far?

Horse of Seven Moons
by Karen Taschek (aka Bentley)
Published: 2005

I know we're all ridiculously eager to find out what Karen Bentley has been up to since her last Thoroughbred book went to print eleven years ago. I am here to inform you that Karen Bentley is now publishing books on bats and the universe in general. Next year, she's taking on the civil war.

No kidding.

I don't know what possessed me several weeks ago, but I discovered all of this and even went so far to find a photo of her...which I promptly lost. I was rather flummoxed by this strange bat, universe, civil war fixation, as this seems to be a rapid departure from her bitchy girl takes on the horse industry writing background. Only then I found Horse of Seven Moons and all my worries ceased.

Struggling up the mountainside in a fierce storm, sixteen-year-old Bin-daa-dee-nin tries to survive. The Mescalero Apache has lived off the land in southwestern New Mexico, hunting and raiding since the death of Apache leader Victorio last October 1880.

Just before dawn, under a full moon, Bin-daa-dee-nin finds a black-and-white horse whose intelligence and beauty surpass that of any horse he's ever seen. Bin-daa-dee-nin trains the surefooted pinto to run fast on command so that he can use him to hunt and on raids. But when the army attacks, the horse disappears.

Fourteen-year-old Sarah Chilton has never felt at home on her family's ranch in New Mexico near Cooke's Peak. At least, not the way she did in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where she lived until just four months ago. Then on Valentine's Day, 1881, Sarah finds the horse of her dreams: a gorgeous pinto, wandering near the river under a bright moon. She names him Moon Dancer and teaches him to jump. Just as she's making wonderful progress with Moon Dancer's training, the Apaches raid the ranch, and Bin-daa-dee-nin has his horse back.

Through army battles, Apache raids, and perhaps Moon Dancer's own mysterious desires, the horse changes hands between Sarah and Bin-daa-dee-nin several times. As each puzzles over the training and tricks the other has taught the horse, the boy and girl learn that life requires adaptation and adjustments--and can sometimes bring great joy.

So that's the longest summary in the history of ever, right? Let me see if I can expand a little on this.

Bin-daa-dee-nin is super awesome because he is a) Apache b) on the lam and c) has perfect eyesight. He and his random friends/sort of relations are running from U.S. soldiers after some conflict or something or another. One of his friends, who has a name that is completely impossible to remember, is hurt, so this book inevitably becomes one long torturous session as we wait for this guy to die. This takes just about forever. Anyway, Bin is hiding out in a cave, wondering just what the hell he's going to do here, and he has a spirit dream or something and presto! A horse appears. And let me tell you, this horse is freaking gorgeous. He is a black and white pinto, and Bin names him Moon That Flies. Okay, so blah blah blah...Bin obsesses over the horse and ponders if he's been trained and blah blah blah. Eventually we break into Bin's story to learn a little about this girl named Sarah Chilton, a fourteen-year-old blond girl fresh from Arkansas, where things were perfect (you know, this just amuses me). She rues the day her family moved to New Mexico, because she wants a horse, which apparently they can't have despite all sorts of space and other completely ridiculous reasons that involve quality of grass? Well, whatever. Sarah wants a horse, Sarah doesn't have a horse, so what does Sarah do? Sarah wakes up in the middle of the night because she thinks livestock is roaming around the house, breaks all her father's rules in order to be responsible and save the livestock, and winds up catching the same pinto, who randomly shows up on her lawn.

So Sarah sticks the pinto in the chicken coop, a Cindy move if ever there was one, distressing her sister, who loves chickens (I am not kidding). We get more pondering over if the horse is trainable or not, blah blah blah. Sarah gets dumped, but she's all self-righteous and perfect about it, and invariably Bin shows up and steals the horse away. Sarah is pissed. Those damn savages! How dare they? Don't they know that this horse is her property? Oh, the indignant anger. The self-absorbed whining. Where have I seen this all before?

Yeah, Bin steals the stupid horse back and I stopped really paying attention. All I know is that Sarah's anger was so great her father joined the army to get this horse back because Sarah's happiness is everything. So they get the horse back and Bin gets shoved on a reservation and Sarah is all happy again. Of course, she realizes that Bin loves the horse also, but to hell with that. She has her horse, and will proceed now to never think of this situation ever again.

We then have an epilogue. Lindsay, Sarah's descendant, goes to a gas station. Mike, Bin's descendant, goes to the same gas station. Lindsay pumps gas. Mike gets a soda. They both notice each other and OMG, sparks fly! Across the gas station parking wild horses suddenly decide to romp by. And because the horses are all inspiring, they both have a revelation that they should know each other from somewhere, although this is completely impossible because they don't know each other from anywhere.

  • It is Sarah's birthday when she finds the horse, which she names Moon Dancer. She has always wanted a horse, and when she finds Moon Dancer she immediately thinks exactly the same thing Cindy would think in this situation: If she found the horse, shouldn't that mean she can keep the horse? Sarah, take your 1880's etiquette and apply it to your real life, please.
  • Also during her birthday, the stage is raided and Sarah's bolt of cloth is missing! Naturally this lays the foundation for Sarah's hatred for the Apaches. They have Sarah's number, surely, and she is not thrilled about this.
  • Eventually, after Moon Dancer is stolen, she has to have a private moment to mull over how horrible things are because both her cloth and her horse have been stolen as she hates those "savages" even more. Note that Sarah was all peace loving and relatively carefree about the Apaches before they started to steal her stuff.
  • Bin-daa-whatever's story is supposed to be the interesting, action packed portion of the book, but I found it exceptionally boring. Plus, he's as perfect as Sarah, what with his zoom lens eyesight and his ability to ride a horse bareback at a gallop and kill things with a rifle without really trying.
  • The end was exceptionally weird. Lindsay and Mike both have to think back to their great great grand whatevers, Sarah and Bin-daa-dee-nin. We get extremely short discussion on what they did: Sarah had kids and loved her horse, who disappeared after 20 years of service. Bin-daa-dee-nin went to the reservation and apparently also had kids. Blah. Boring.
  • Mike's notice of Lindsay made me laugh: Check out those three hot girls in a car, he thought. Nice. Who the hell thinks like that? Not to mention, Lindsay isn't even in the car.
  • Just so you know, Moon Dancer is the fastest horse ever and jumps perfectly.
  • Phoebe is Cindy's Heather. At one point, Sarah is having Phoebe, her friend, set up jumps for her (like this is fun and rewarding for the friend...nice, Sarah). And Phoebe requests some time to ride the horse. Sarah hesitates, pondering how much experience Phoebe has. Ahh, wonderful. Phoebe gets on the horse, does everything wrong, and Sarah just suffers her incompetence, further making Sarah look like the perfect equestrian saint. Yes, Karen. I noticed what you did there.

So, yeah, I didn't actually get all the way through this. I suppose Karen has grown marginally as a writer since her run as a Thoroughbred author, but she clearly hasn't gotten over her various characterization issues. All her characters are still variations of Cindy, but are we really surprised?

Nov 10, 2008

Wildfire: the sexual frustration begins.

1.3: Trust

You know, I love this show. I don't know when this happened, exactly, but I have a feeling it has something to do with Kris punching Dani and Amber trying desperately to become a lush. Let's go over analyze this episode.

It's ninety days later. Pablo arrives at camp in his spiffy new truck (in the pilot/Rescue he was driving around this old 1930s thing, trying to keep up with Raintree's Great Depression motif, no doubt) to pick up Kris, who arrives at the gate with duffel and boom box in hand. Pablo has vague and awful news for her: Wildfire is not the same horse she remembers. You see, he has been moved too much. Too much! What the hell kind of racehorse is he going to make?

Well, the situation is hilariously serious. Wildfire has not been worked with, does not want to relate to people anymore, and mopes in his stall. Surely everyone at Raintree is pissed off that they sank the paltry amount of $650 on this horse, because they've been selling off their "good" stock in order to keep this worthless head case around. Anyway, Kris arrives back at the farm and Jean gives her rubber work boots despite everyone's critical comments on said boots. Jean's all: "It was either rubber boots or a rain coat, so shut it!" And everyone shuts up and Kris appears hesitant but thankful about the boots. Only she is too worried to appreciate them because she has to go see Wildfire. So everyone rushes over to Wildfire's stall and clusters around it like they've never seen a horse before and Wildfire nearly tramples Kris before bolting out of the barn. Jean's dad says it best: "We should have known better." No kidding, Sherlock. Cornering a supposedly screwed up horse is a fantastic idea.

So Kris is all forlorn. But not all is lost! This is when the training begins, and this involves Kris sitting in a ring with the horse. The horse, naturally, isn't amused about this and mostly ignores her. What does Kris do? Kris gets passive aggressive. "Well, fine! You don't have to like me. I don't have to be here. You're going to miss me when I'm gone, Wildfire!" Yes, really. This happens several times throughout the episode.

In other developments, Jean is further upset that all the men in the household want Kris to eat dinner with them. Oh my God, eating dinner with them might equal heightened horniness/greater chance for bastard grandchildren! And so everyone is awkward over a normal dinner, and then Kris spills the peas and you expect Jean to suddenly shriek: "Don't you dare trap my babies with your youthful sexiness!" But she doesn't. They just clean up the peas and act awkward. Oh, and Pablo stares yearningly at Jean from a distance. He tries for that smoldering obsession thing, but really it just comes across as a blank stare. Pablo is no Richard Armitage in that department. Sorry, Pablo.

Then we have the teenage antics. Everyone shows up at Raintree and decides to go to this hamburger place. It's like The Max of Saved by the Bell, only outside. Kris initially doesn't want to go, but when Dani comes along to act all flagrantly interested in Matt, Kris gets all upset and decides that yes, she does want to go because while she doesn't really want to be involved with Matt she sure as hell wants to make things more awkward. Of course! You see, Matt wanted to visit Kris while she was in camp, but Kris didn't want Matt to see her in camp, so she avoided him entirely. Because he is a 17-year-old boy and ruled by testosterone, he went back to Dani. Now Kris is back and poor Matt is confused. He wants Dani, but maybe he wants Kris more. Matt, it doesn't matter. You're the nice boy. You're not going to get the girl, okay?

Anyway, Matt doesn't know this yet, so when he and Dani get to the hamburger place he breaks up with her. Dani is shocked and pissed. Meanwhile, Junior lets Kris drive his Porsche and she is all over the road. (Later, Junior insists that she's a better driver than he is, which would then make him a completely incompetent driver.) Junior takes her to a field, where he is planning to make his move (he apparently takes all his conquests to this field, which I find rather disturbing), only Kris completely derails him and hurts his arm. She is not stupid, says she. She's only the catalyst for everyone's hormonal rage. Kris can't help that, people.

So Junior gives in and offers to take her back to the farm or wherever. Only on the way there they run into Dani, who has set this plan into motion that will involve drag racing by a cop car she just happens to know about. Junior pulls up next to Dani's Escalade. She starts to rev the engine. He pooh-poohs her attempt to entice him into a race because he's in a Porsche. It's a no-brainer, really. But Dani insists, so they race past the cop and he pulls them over and he checks everyone's IDs and decides to manhandle Kris because she's on parole. Matt and Junior are not happy about this, so they get arrested also. This is no big deal. Jean and Ken come to the rescue, tell off the cop, and bring the kids home.

Meanwhile, there is a function at the Davis farm. Kris is employed to walk a horse around at the function, which I guess is part auction, part fancy social networking event. Anyway, she walks the horse around and tells Matt, who is further sexually frustrated, that she usually falls for guys like Junior (nice foreshadowing, show!), and not nice guys like him. Then Junior apologizes for getting her arrested again, and explains that Dani had the whole thing set up. Then Kris loses it and punches Dani so hard she flies back and lands in a mountain of finger foods.

Kris is now upset, decides to leave, and is persuaded not to by Jean, who manages to get through a whole conversation with Kris without screaming "do not get pregnant!" Then Junior blackmails Dani into not pressing charges on Kris. This section I actually liked. Junior was really channeling his Brad Townsend here, if Brad had a younger sister who had been romantically linked to Mike and was a slut...I guess. But yeah, I liked that moment. He just says, "If you press charges on Kris, I'm going to tell dad that you slept with his friend. Okay! See ya, sport." Or something. I loved it. Dani completely bows to the pressure and drops all charges.

Then Kris walks out and sits with Wildfire again, who miraculously decides that he's going to wander up to Kris and be useful again, because the show needs a useful horse, not a petulant, annoying one. Everyone laughs in slow motion and that is the end.
  • Junior and Matt have a bookie. This bookie gets interested in Dani, who invites him to the event thing at their house. He shows up and meets Amber, who says, "Hi, I'm Amber." And he just looks at her and says, "And what a nice little Amber you are." Amber pouts, and then asks for his drink. He gives it to her and says, "It's water." She pouts some more. Oh, Amber. Never change.
And that's it for this episode. Junior is growing on me. Matt's inability to function is starting to grate on my nerves. Kris remains the equivalent of an emotional black hole for me. Wildfire is starting to verge on being more persnickety than Wonder, and that is a feat to be amazed by.

Happy Monday!

Nov 7, 2008

Wildfire: Introducing the love quadrangle.

1.2: Rescue

Rescue is basically an immediate follow up to the pilot, bringing in the horse to the plotline. This episode includes the important wine festival thing that everyone was all excited about in the pilot, and it includes Amber trying to get some wine despite the bartender telling her he was at her christening and no, she will not receive wine. Amber pouts and complains about the small town she's living in. Poor, poor Amber. She's just waiting to go to college and binge drink until she's hospitalized.

Anyway, it looks like Wildfire hasn't made the smoothest of transitions into police horse life. By this I mean he sucks as a police horse. A garbage truck makes him go crazy, and that is effectively it for his law enforcement career.

Back at the festival, Ken is telling Jean that she really should be careful about the new girl because Jean has two boys and the last thing she needs is Kris popping out a grandkid. Jean apparently really takes this advice to heart because she starts to eye Kris pretty hard, just waiting for her to do something wrong. This something occurs when Matt wanders up and starts to talk to Kris, who reveals to him that she kind of lied about telling him she learned to ride at camp. Camp is actually prison camp, and Matt is all shocked and touched and sympathetic and crap. Then there are fireworks and Matt takes this opportunity to kiss Kris. Kris puts a stop to this, telling him that she works for him and sadly they can never be (or not, whatever), but before she can do this Jean spots them making out. Jean overreacts completely, figuring that Kris is probably already pregnant with her first bastard grandchild. Horrified, Jean orders Pablo to take Kris away. Pablo drives Kris home, and Kris is insistent on not knowing what was happening before it happened and she will never kiss any boys ever again! Pablo's reaction is pretty, well, um, shall we say shitty?

Anyway, Kris still gets to stay on the farm, but she can no longer kiss boys. This does not bode well for Junior, who has struck a deal with his sister regarding Matt. Apparently she and Matt got into a stupid fight that was supposed to end in make up sex, but the make up sex just didn't happen. Junior understands his sister's plight, and decides he will act on her request to seduce Kris away from Matt, thereby allowing Dani the opportunity to get Matt back under control. So right when Kris starts to undress in her trailer, there's Junior at her window being a complete dork.

So, Junior wants her to go to a hot tub party. Clothing optional. Or maybe it's not allowed. Whatever. Kris is not tempted, and tells him so. She calls him Kenny and Junior refuses to be called by this name, breaking out his pathetic rich kid story. Kris doesn't buy it, stating that he drives a Porsche and wears clothes she's only seen in magazines. Junior realizes out loud that she's not buying his poor rich kid story, and just requests that she give him a good night kiss through the window. Kris shuts the blinds on him and has a private moment to smile (because she's probably secretly infatuated with him, and if he was Brad Townsend I would totally okay this).

Pablo and Jean have a long discussion about how they don't understand the modern world, having difficulties with updated training methods and VCRs. No wonder their farm is failing. Really, is there something wrong with VCRs and exercising a horse in a swimming pool? What is wrong with these people? They have obviously been infected by whatever the hell it is bit the Whitebrook people on the ass.

At this moment, Kris panics because she's discovered that Wildfire is going to be sold at auction. Maybe he'll be sold to kill buyers. Let's all panic and cry! Pablo and Jean won't help because they literally can't buy a horse that isn't the a bargain version of Secretariat. But Matt is all too willing to drive her to the auction, break into the auction house register's office, and help her steal Wildfire. We proceed to have an exceptionally long chase sequence, during which the whole nation becomes infatuated with Kris and her mission to rescue Wildfire from kill buyers. I have a hard time believing all this hoopla over a horse and a girl, but I guess in today's media coverage this might be possible. Anyway, they have live helicopter footage of Kris outrunning everyone on Wildfire, inspiring Jean to believe in her courageousness, Jean's father to want to buy the horse, and Junior to want to have sex with her more. Oh my gosh, girls who have been to jail are just so hot! Imagine all the showers! Or that's what's going through his head, anyway. People look like they want to smack him, and I don't blame them.

So they catch Wildfire and Kris, leading to Kris having to go back to camp for the next 90 days. Only Raintree buys Wildfire and Kris gets to go back to the farm when her sentence is up. Then Wildfire will become Raintree's one and only productive horse, I am sure, giving Jean her fantastic modern Great Depression scenario.

  • You were alone with him. What did you expect to happen? Wow, no one should ever come to Pablo for support after being sexually assaulted. He's one of those guys that would say: "Well, of course that guy tried to rape you. Just look at your skirt."
  • Jean doesn't know how to work a VCR? (I would hate to see how she reacted to DVD players and laptop computers.) She's also talking about the Great Depression like it was yesterday. What year does she think it is? 1950?
  • At the auction, Wildfire is described as a two-year-old thoroughbred colt. Um, sure. And they wonder why he didn't make a good police horse?
  • Apparently no one ever told Kris to never drink stream water. Especially obviously dirty stream water. I hope she enjoys the explosive diarrhea thanks to the giardia that is probably coming her way.
  • This episode has such a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid moment. Typing that sentence was almost painful for me, by the way.
So, that's this week's episode of Wildfire. I've still got to get through Karen Bentley's latest, and considering this book involves a young blond girl that is currently having a conniption over her ruined birthday, I imagine you can guess my opinions already. November is proving to be rather busy for me (53 hour work week! NaNoWriMo! Oh my God!), but the blog is going to see updates. When these updates occur, I couldn't tell you. Just look out for them.

Nov 3, 2008

Upcoming Series: Horse Diaries

Elizabeth alerted me to this new series, and as per the usual, here I am with a post.

Horse Diaries
by Catherine Hapka

Book #1: Elska
Iceland, circa AD 1000

Elska is a silver dapple Icelandic filly. She spends summers frisking about the countryside and winters in the farmyard, where the girl human Amma takes special care of her. But when a powerful neighbor notices Elska, her contented life suddenly changes. Here is Elska’s story . . . in her own words.
Catherine Hapka wrote several books for the Saddle Club and Sweet Valley. Look for this one on March 24, 2009.

Nov 1, 2008

Saddle Club: In which I can't snark because it's genuinely sad

Saddle Club S.1.10 “Greener Pastures Part 1”

The episode opens up with a jumping lesson. Carole is jumping while her father video tapes her. Dr Judy, the vet, stops by to check on Delilah and tell Carole that her work study has been approved. Basically, Carole gets to be her assistant for two weeks. Yay.

In another lesson, Sam, riding Pepper, is jumping the course and Veronica determines that she’s going to do it faster. Max yells at her to slow down, but she doesn’t, and continues to ride like a loony. Max yells some more and Veronica blows him off.

Carole’s dad finds on old tape of Carole as a little girl. Little Carole is playing vet when her mom comes home. Turns out Carole’s mom was a vet, and Carole wanted to be just like her. Older Carole can’t watch the video of her mom and leaves.

On Carole’s first day as vet assistant she deals with pigs, cows, goats, chickens, and an adorable puppy that barfs on her.

Sam and Veronica share a lesson again. Sam is doing well and Veronica gets jealous. She rushes through the course until Max orders her to stop. He chews her out some more about racing. Veronica and Sam get crappy back at the barn and plan a jump off to see who the better rider.

Carole is tired and disenchanted. She’s scared she may suck at being a vet. Her dad acts all proud and tries to give Carole her mother’s vet bag. Carole gets all freaked out and says she’s not going to be a vet. Next morning her dad tells her that she has to be the one to tell the vet she’s quitting.

Red tells Veronica that she’d better start practicing because Sam is, and he’s doing really well.

Carole quits with the vet because she just doesn’t think she’ll be as good as Judy or her mother.

Kristi tells Veronica that the whole jump off is lame, but she offers to help her practice anyway. Red tells Kristi that she can’t ride Delilah because she has another vet appointment.

Everyone gathers to watch the jump off. Sam and Pepper complete it in 58 seconds. Veronica looks nervous, but she says no problem. Carole notices that Cobalt look stiff, like he hasn’t been warmed up. Veronica starts pushing him to go faster, whipping him to speed up. Carole screams to pull him up, but they jump. Cobalt lands wrong, and goes down, throwing Veronica. Veronica has an injured arm and a scratch above the eye. Cobalt’s leg is broken.

Real life perspective: My family had a three year old paint gelding who broke his leg in a pasture accident. Our vet gave us a thirty percent chance that he could be stall sound. Thirty percent. We stood out in the field with him for an hour in the rain before we put him down. Thirty percent wasn’t good enough, money was not the issue. This was four years ago, and I still cry sometimes. I cried watching this episode. I even cried proofreading about how I cried watching the episode.

Veronica’s mom takes her to the hospital, though she cries she wants to stay with Cobalt. The vet and Veronica’s father agree that it best for Cobalt to put him down. Carole fights her about it, but she eventually surrenders. They don’t show the injection, thank God. They show Cobalt laying down as the Saddle Club says their goodbyes. The episode ends with a shot of Cobalt running free through some woods and whinnying.

This is part one of a two-parter, but this episode gets an A. There’s nothing glaringly bad, and it made me cry like a little girl. There’s not much else to say.