Jan 27, 2013

Wish Upon a Horse

Wish Upon a Horse
Timber Ridge Riders #4
by Maggie Dana
More than anything in the world, Kate McGregor wants a horse of her own, but the scruffy mare she rescues from the auction is hardly the horse of her dreams. 

Still, Kate’s betting that one day her horse will be a champion. Together they’ll win blue ribbons. They’ll beat Angela Dean once and for all, despite the fact that Angela’s being coached by one of the top riders in the world who’s as unscrupulous as she is.

But can Kate do it? Even her best friend, Holly, is doubtful, especially when Angela spreads the rumor that Kate’s horse might be stolen property.
Hi y'all! Welcome to my herculean attempt at Cheerful Southern. I am not a southerner (not really) and I'm not cheerful (I don't think so, anyway). So listen. I've been trying to get through my backlog of books I promised people I would read way long ago in this time that I call 2012. It was a magical and horrible time, resulting in a list of books that became a pile of books (or, well, metaphorically) that I kind of ignored up until very recently. I realize that I'm basically describing the human condition (overly emotional procrastinator), but I think we can all sagely agree that we're walking hormonal bags of goo and continue on with our lives. So here we are, with a book to get around to talking about at some point. So let's get to that!

Kate McGregor has a chunk of cash burning a hole in her bank account, and she has designs to turn this money into a Wonder Pony all her very own! Liz, who is the haver of all horse knowledge, declares that she will help Kate on this magical quest and Holly whips out the horse classifieds. Everyone realizes that horses cost a lot of money...like, way more than the tantalizing amount Kate possesses...and the girls are demoralized that anything worth having is reserved for those of us with income. But Liz says, "Hark! I heard of an auction that may or may not have something worth looking at and you did tell your dad that you're buying a horse right? I didn't just imagine that it's totally okay for you to buy livestock without the permission of an adult that is actually your legal guardian and not me, your sort-of employer?"

So Kate is like...maybe? And then they're off to an auction. While at the auction, either nothing is appealing or everything is too expensive. Kate's attempts at buying a horse are thwarted, but there is a secret auction going on in the back lot or some such and those are the horses that will be headed to Canadian slaughterhouses. Because I can't remember anything anymore, I am not sure how Kate notices the mare from the book previous, but she does. The crazy loon's brown mare is purchased by a kill buyer and Kate, mustering up all her horse girl heroine gusto, flings herself at the side of the truck in order to stop the kill buyer and insist on buying Brown Mare. Eventually Liz appears to punch the kill buyer in the face, which was pretty awesome because random violence entertains me, and Kate buys the mare.

Congratulations, Kate! You are the official owner of a horse type thing that Liz recommends you fatten up and sell. Huzzah. They haul Brown Mare home and Kate slinks into the barn with it, hoping to not be seen by Angela, who is not going to be on board with having a rescue horse within the stable walls. Rescue horses bring down the value of all horses near it, obviously. So Kate and Holly clean up Brown Mare and discover that she's actually a flaxen-haired, golden chestnut Morgan underneath what must have been two inches of dirt. They name the mare Tapestry and one up Angela when her mother storms in asking to see the dirty Brown Mare that is ruining all of their lives.

Speaking of Angela, she now has a new coach that is set on whipping her into shape for team try outs. They conduct their lessons in a totally enclosed arena, in complete seclusion, because that is normal and rational and not super sketchy and suspicious. Angela's sanity begins to slowly unravel, and it goes without mentioning that her horse goes batshit.

Meanwhile, Tapestry jumps out of her paddock, convincing everyone that she is awesome and doesn't need to be sold. Only by that point it has occurred to Liz that the mare was probably stolen, but by that point there are a ton of pictures of her on Facebook and because Angela knows everyone the mare has already acquired a "horse stalker" that is "interested" in "seeing more" of the mare. How do you stalk a horse online? Is that a thing?

So Kate has to cowgirl up and recognize that her horse may not be her horse, while her boyfriend who is not her boyfriend fails to contact her from Romania or somewhere because he is a movie star. Then she doesn't even make the riding team with Tapestry, and Holly will not stop cuddling with Adam and this makes Kate extremely stressed. Although not as stressed as Angela, who is literally at meltdown levels. Eventually Kate and Adam put two and two together and hide away in a closet adjacent to the arena so they can watch the abuse occurring between Angela and her new coach. Then there's some hysterics and Angela whips the guy in the face. Go Angela!

There is also a party. I think I forgot to mention this, which is horrible of me because two girls arrive dressed as My Little Ponies and it was adorable. And Nathan, Kate's movie actor/sort of boyfriend, appears fresh from being hospitalized in Romania with an excuse for not calling Kate that rivals Tor's legendary "but the phone lines were down for three days and I can't leave the horses for five minutes because I am responsible, which therefore makes me not a complete prick...in theory. I will accept your forgiveness now." In Nathan's defense, however, he wasn't actually being seduced by a blonde, nor did he epically piss off his non-girlfriend before failing to make contact with Kate. So he gets a pass. Mainly, I think Kate needs to chill out and find a second hobby.

Then Kate tries to check in on Angela, and Angela almost lets her, and it was a sweet moment that is totally ruined when Angela panics at the thought of having a genuine friend or something and defects to the opposing riding team. Do we get to have a second antagonist now? Does having Angela on the rival team give her potential for being nice? Or sort of morally gray? Or will she try to lure Adam away from Holly, given that I guess she'll be over at his barn causing chaos there? What will happen? I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

We close with a rousing equestrian show.

Oh, and Tapestry was stolen. But I don't really feel like revealing how that plays out. Go read it yourself, slackers. (Ha ha ha!)

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