I had four horse books lined up to read this winter: Ride Right With Daniel Stewart, Centered Riding by Sally Swift, Horses I’ve Known by Will James and Bubba to the Rescue by Jennifer Walker. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing all winter, but spring is here already and I’ve only got to one of these. And that would be the Bubba book.
As you may have surmised, Bubba to the Rescue is a kid’s book. I’m thinking pre-teen age bracket. So, I presumed that out of the four books, I would learn the least from this one. However, I did not take into account that when it comes to the art and science of equestrianism, I am actually at a pre pre-teen level. Maybe even a pre-pre pre-teen level.
The main character, Leslie, is a teenaged girl who has horses. For a pre-teen, there is nothing cooler in the universe than a teenager. And for horse crazy girls, there is no cooler teenager than one who has her own horse.
All the stuff you would think belongs in a book for girls in this age group is there: school, boys, boy problems, making up with the boy, a BFF, a fight with the BFF, making up with the BFF, Christmas dance drama, cliques and a mean girl. But the book also deals with heavier adolescent issues such as dealing with a loss of a parent, serious injury to an animal and even touches – ever so lightly – on the subject of abusive boyfriends.
Even with all of that, Bubba to the Rescue is definitely a horse-centered book. Walker laces the narrative with all kinds of solid equine information and examples of good horsemanship. We learn the proper way to tie up a horse. Leslie and her friends wear helmets when they ride. They check the girth before mounting. They allow their horses to cool off after a long, hard ride before putting them in their stalls. We learn first aid for burns. We learn the signs of colic, why it can be serious and how it’s treated. We learn the difference between riding saddle seat and riding hunt seat.
Anyone can write a book or movie script and throw horses into the milieu as interesting decorations. And the result – much to chagrin of knowledgeable horse people (I hear them complain all of the time about this) – is misleading impressions or downright inaccurate information. That’s the last thing horses need from us. Most of the suffering domesticated horses experience under our care is due to just plain ignorance.
Jennifer Walker is obviously a real horseperson. Her ability to seamlessly weave all this education into an entertaining story is why I’m going to get all the books in this series and save them for the day when my grandchild is ready.
Now let’s see if Daniel Stewart and Sally Swift can teach me something as well.
For more reviews and info on Bubba to the Rescue, check out Jennifer Walker’s Virtual Book Tour.