Mar 24, 2009

I just don't know, you guys. I don't.

Hercules: A Matter of Trust
by Heather Brooks

Horse friends forever?

Emily Summers is on a mission. A scared little pony has come to Running Horse Ridge, the horse rescue ranch where she lives. Hercules desperately needs a friend, and Emily knows exactly how the lonely pony feels. She is new to Running Horse Ridge herself. But unlike Hercules, she has begun to make new friends, and she has the love of her horse friend forever, Sapphire. Can Emily get Hercules to trust her before he is beyond help?

Horse friend forever? Is that what we're calling this relationship now? Well, whatever. I'm too busy glaring at the cover of this book to care.

A Matter of Trust starts pretty much directly after whatever the first book was called left off. Emily has been at Running Horse Ridge all of maybe five days, she's still being highly annoying about Sapphire, her "horse friend forever," and her Aunt Debby still isn't letting her ride this horse. Cue whining. Emily grooms Sapphire for "several hours" and is trying her damnedest to unravel whatever training Sapphire has absorbed. The horse has a thing with pushing people with his head, and Emily thinks it's fantastic when Sapphire pushes her onto her ass. This just sounds annoying to me, but Emily is OMG DO IT AGAIN HA HA OMG about it. Ugh, it makes me want to smack her. Anyway, while Sapphire is acting like a misbehaved mutt, Debby walks up so she can be disapproving. However, she's got a surprise for Emily. How would Emily like to be in this show that suddenly exists?

Well, Emily is all OMG YES and OMG's some more when Debby asks her to show Sapphire in some halter class or something. Emily is momentarily disappointed that she won't ride Sapphire. Instead she's riding Moondance in a couple of classes, one being a maiden jumping class, and Emily is upset about this maiden terminology despite the fact that she has taken two jumping lessons. In Emily's life, that would be two jumping lessons total. Emily bitches to herself about this, because back at home she showed all the time in dressage! But no one at Running Horse Ridge respects dressage, according to Emily, and for all we know she could be right. It's that sort of childish attitude I've come to expect from these people.

So Emily keeps grooming Sapphire, which has got to be the longest grooming session in the history of horses at this point, and then bitches some more about how her aunt doesn't trust her and her father defers to her aunt too much. Frankly, Emily has done absolutely nothing to warrant being trusted. I mean, in the week she's been at this place she's only broken every rule in the book and thrown a massive fit whenever anyone talks about selling Sapphire. She does take some time to acknowledge that she has acted horribly annoying, but this to a person like Emily is not justification. So Emily decides to step it up a little and goes out to find this pony, Hercules, who is all abused and shell shocked. Nothing happens with the pony that is important until right around the end, so let's ignore him and move on to Emily whining some more.

Debby and her dad, Scott, are working with the foal Emily was given. Holy hell, let's freak out! How can she learn if she's not there to watch? Normally I would agree with this, but this is Emily, so I completely understand their motives. Blah blah, Emily decides she's alone at Running Horse Ridge, blah.

To the show! Things don't go well for Emily, she's too late to show Sapphire in his class, which she realizes is just a giant advertisement for buyers, and then falls off before she can even get to her jumping class and is whisked off to the hospital. She's okay, but falling off has put the fear of jumping in her, and so she goes through most of the second portion of the book refusing to jump, making the excuse that her back hurts too much. She also has a giant falling out with her father, doesn't feel like she fits in at all, and is generally starting to detach from the family. Things are not helped when her father refuses to go home to New Jersey, and has actually given up the lease on the fabulous horse she had there to this never seen arch nemesis, because keeping people in the dark is the best policy!

Eventually Scott and Debby decide to so something and come up with this trail ride that gets everyone together and includes Emily. At some point, I think Hercules gets in trouble and is saved. Really, he wasn't important. Then Debby makes her come to the barn for a lesson, and when Emily gets there she finds out that she's going to ride Sapphire. And then Sapphire practically grows wings and they do everything perfectly.

  • She'd been working so hard to prove herself to her aunt, to show she was worthy of being trusted with animals even though she came from a dressage barn... Ha Ha WHAT? Since when does dressage equal incompetence?
  • Again, it's actually written well. This is what makes these reviews so painful, because it just so happens that I hate most of the characters. The only two characters I like are Meredith (random boarder at the barn) and Emily's dad.
  • Despite being well written, the premise still makes me roll my eyes. What sort of crazy family is this? Why would they just move in the same house with these people and live there indefinitely? Really, the only way I can see this working is if Emily's dad happens to be independently wealthy, because that's how he acts.
  • I would love to see Sapphire sold. It's sort of my new "that would be awesome!" plot that almost never happens.

The next book in this series comes out this summer, giving me a nice long break before delving back into this madness.

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