Quality of Care|
(eventing/dressage) Set on a dressage horse farm in California
As a teenager, Dr.Clara Raymond suffered a tragic riding accident that killed her Olympic contender horse and ended her riding career. Twenty years later, the childhood friend who saved her life shows up unexpectedly at Dr. Raymond's hospital and suffers from an often fatal obstetric complication.
To pick up the pieces, Dr. Raymond returns to California, where she tries to unravel the mystery behind her childhood accident, while befriending a marvelous dressage horse named Benedetto.
|Better novel than a HORSE novel, by pawsplus on December 04, 2006|
|This is a well-written book well worth the read, but the dressage accuracy leaves something to be desired. Still, it's pretty good and has enough horsey info to keep the devotee of the horse novel happy. ;-)|
|medical and horsey, by ponydom on January 28, 2006|
|This interesting novel is half horse book, half obstetrics/MD. It is full of technical language on both sides, and yet I had no trouble following the MD talk.|
Clara becomes a scapegoat when her hospital fears a lawsuit. Temporarily relieved of her privileges, she returns to her childhood home in California to ask questions about her father, who had died shortly after similar accusations. It all leads back to Eleanor Norton, hospital trustee and ultra-picky dressage judge, someone who Clara had ridden for years before. Clara ends up working for Eleanor, and rediscovers her connection to horses.
Most of the book focuses on caring - caring for patients, caring for horses - rather than competition or riding. The horsey details are generally correct and well written.
It was Lydia who rode horses first. She had a large pony named Shackles, a plump dun with a flaxen mane and tail. She used to ride Shackles around bareback. He was soft as a pillow, and you had to clap your legs hard onto his broad barrel just to nudge him into a reluctant trot. Lydia liked playing with Shackles, I think, more than riding him. He would stand peaceably no matter what she did: combing checkerboards onto his rump with a wet pulling comb, painting his hoofs with Hooflex, braiding pom-poms into his mane, and wrapping ribbons around his neck. "I want a pony," I begged my father from almost the moment we moved in two houses down from Lydia. "I want a pony like Lydia's."
But it wouldn't have been like my father to just go down to the stables and buy me a pony--not just any pony. He plunked down lots of money and got me a horse of show caliber--a beautiful chestnut with four white stockings, Captain. Pretty soon the excavators were out plowing a riding ring behind our house, and a trainer was there almost every afternoon for private lessons. And it turned out I had a flair for it. I used to be conviced that I could guide Captain with my thoughts. I would think flying change, and the opposite foreleg would flash out with perfect cadence. Lydia, who had joined in on the lessons, of course, was still bumping along on Shackles, who really preferred to walk. So pretty soon, I started to gallop around the ring, taking fences, while she was still struggling with the posting trot. Not long after, Lydia's parents bought Lydia her own show quality mount, a twelve-year-old gelding named Greystoke. He was a seasoned event horse, a real packer, but he was big and strong, and Lydia was afraid of him. The pony was sold, and Lydia struggled with her new horse, all the joy gone out of riding for her.
Although the basic plot sounds terribly familiar, the sum total of the novel is an unusual work with strong characters, and worth reading.
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| Historical/General Fiction
| Questing Fantasy
| Science Fiction
| Young Adult