|Title||:||The Perfect Horse|
|Number of Pages||:||158 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Perfect Horse Reviews
Published in hardback in 1963, paperback in 1968. The cover picture on the paperback shows a girl rider and horse ready for cross-country eventing. This is the third in a series: Jump To The Stars, The Difficult Summer and The Perfect Horse. Gillian Baxter was still a teenager when she wrote the first book. They follow teenaged Roberta 'Bobby' Morton and her work at a riding stables where she trains horses for sale to good owners and gives lessons and rides. She has a gentle romance with the owner Guy, but after the first book he has been injured in a fire so he is unwilling to ask her to commit to him. Did I mention fire? Yes, this series for young adults doesn't hesitate to give us dramatic and major life issues. The difficulty for me is believing that horses of such quality and worth so much, top-class showjumpers and eventers, are being left in such a yard and not brought around the country in pursuit of prize money; also that they are casually ridden around lanes, roads, woods and fields escorting classes in foul weather, when any injury would ruin a season's competition. We see that Bobby's star mare Shelta is a top showjumper, but Bobby doesn't bother competing. Rather oddly Bobby says the selectors for the Olympics won't look at her because she works with horses; just about all Olympic riders come from dealing families, they buy and sell horses for a living, pursue prize money for a living, they may claim to be farmers or in one case a car park attendant, but nobody is in any doubt. The main plot in this book is that Bobby's spoilt cousin Ellen comes home from finishing school and persuades her parents to buy her a pricey top-class horse for eventing, which she first calls combined training and then eventing. Bobby is envious that this horse, Minos, is so good, but takes Ellen's money to stable him anyway. Ellen is determined to ride in the top event, Badminton, although she is no way ready. In the way of horsey books written at this time, we get a few other people and horses supplied as contrasts, so we can see how to go about or not go about training young horses across country. These people are a local brother and sister who come across as rather caricatures. This is certainly well written and few books have dealt with three-day-eventing apart from 'International Velvet' by Bryan Forbes, the excellent book of the film.
Bobby Morton is surprised when her cousin wants to move in at Bracken Stables, and wants to buy a horse. Money is no object and when Minos, a dun anglo-arab, duly arrives, everyone is a little but jealous. Ellen is no rider though, but Minos is perfect and takes her round the jumps with little effort. When Bobby finds out the motives behind Ellen's sudden interest in jumping, she is furious, and the two fall out after Ellen injures her beloved horse, Shelta.I liked this story, but it is soooooo dated. These days it takes a lot more to qualify for Badminton than they do here.
So good! I definitely need to look for more Baxter books, having now finished the Bobby trilogy!! Great characters, great horses, and just the right amount of horses-and-riders-that-are-superbeings ;)