Oh, teenagers. Tweens. Young persons. I don’t know what to call them anymore, but “consumers” seems like it might fit the bill. Whatever the moniker, they are the new rulers of media and advertising. Their whims dictate what is produced for nearly every age group. And when they decided that they really liked vampires, then everyone else had to like vampires, too. Unless, of course, you’re a person completely checked out from the world outside the riding arena.
In most lesson barns, you’ll find that there are a couple of deeply focused teens who don’t actually realize there is an outside world. There are books, but they are written by either Walter Farley or George Morris. There is music, but it’s whatever the battered radio held together by fluttering strands of orange baling twine is able to pick up in that day’s particular atmospheric conditions. There are movies, but they’re all horse movies and horse movies never get it right anyway.
Then there are girls who actually manage to strike a balance between the horse world and the “real world,” much to the befuddlement of the diehards. They ride horses and they read Seventeen. They know how to braid complicated patterns into manes and into their own hair. They know the top five show jumping riders in the United States and they have some idea who all those guys are in the movie commercials.
I don’t know any of these girls but let me tell you, they’re out there.
In Riding for the Stars, Maggie Dana‘s third release in her tween horsey series, Timber Ridge Riders, we meet up once again with Kate and her best friend Holly. And Holly is being all fan-girly, for reasons beyond true-blue horse-obsessed blinders-on Kate’s comprehension, over some vampire horse book.
But even if Kate can’t be bothered to read the damsel-in-distress time-warp vampire-horse novels that have Holly and the rest of the tween universe in palpitations, she’s definitely interested in the movie version of the book. Because the vampire horse will be a Timber Ridge mount, and the damsel in distress stunt double will be a Timber Ridge rider. Vampires schmampires, Kate McGregor wants the big fat check that comes along with the gig.
Kate wants — needs — her own horse. To make that happen, she figures, she needs this job.
Resident rich girl/Kate-hater Angela, who is mayhem in a tennis skirt, doesn’t need anything but the complete and total worship of everyone in the universe. To make that happen, she figures, she needs this job.
Riding for the Stars is a tribute to all those horse-obsessed girls who can’t see beyond the front gate of the farm, and who will do anything to have a horse they can call their own. Anything… even, as in Kate’s case, step far, far out of her comfort zone and into a world of make-up, wardrobe, and teen idols with “real” names and “working” names who might, maybe, possibly be just a little bit into her. Not that she’d notice. Boys are Holly’s department. Holly with her magazines and her lip gloss and her horse vampire books. Weird.
The book romps along at a break-neck pace. Along the way, Angela’s cruelty and deceptiveness provide embarrassment, tears, and outright life endangerment. But while she still has her posse of minions to take care of the menial tasks like grooming and tacking her horse for her, a few more members of the narrative seem to be hip to Angela’s two-faced nature, providing some welcome allies for Kate in the barn. And when one of Angela’s own attacks on Kate’s attempt to win the stunt double role back-fires, you can’t help but laugh at her sputtering defeat.
Riding for the Stars is available as an ebook from Amazon, along with the first two books in the series, Keeping Secrets and Racing Into Trouble. Read the Retired Racehorse reviews of these books here: