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The Brookmeade Young Riders Series


Book Review by Leigh Ballard
The first two books in the Brookmeade Young Riders Series are Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged by Linda Snow McLoon. The books tell the story of an off-track Thoroughbred, Crown Prince, and his teen rider, Sarah Wagner. Sarah is a good rider, but because of an automobile accident that severely injured her mother, the family can’t afford for Sarah to own a horse and be a competitive show rider. Sarah works to pay for her riding lessons, and she looks forward to a day when she can be part of the Brookmeade Farm Young Rider team.

Opportunity comes along for Sarah when Brookmeade’s owner offers her a free racehorse from a group that is not working well at the track. She has four horses to choose from, and of course she chooses the most beautiful rogue in the world. Crown Prince, although he was of supreme bloodlines, was never even raced because of unmanageable behavior under saddle. In fact, because of his unsuitability for a young girl rider, he was hidden from her in a closed stall when she went to look over her choices. But once she accidentally discovered him, Sarah knew he was the horse for her. Her parents disapprove of her choice, but her trainer sees some potential in the horse. It becomes Sarah’s task to prove to her parents that he can be safe and manageable. The first book is the story of his progress. Sarah’s efforts are somewhat thwarted by jealousy from a “mean girl” who has problems of her own. There is a surprise tragic event near the end of the first book caused by the jealous girl, which is a wake up call for everybody.

The second book is about Sarah and Prince moving on to a show career. The challenges they face are numerous, not only because of Prince’s past, but also because of continuing jealousies and plots from other riders at the barn. Sarah has to work through some accidents that alarm her parents, as well as a negative campaign against her horse based on continued jealousy from the mean girls. There are some incidents based on teenage bad judgment and inexperience, but ultimately Crown Prince’s training progresses and Sarah’s ability with him moves them forward as a competitive duo. The story culminates in a tense and exciting three-day event. And then the book has an unexpected second surprise ending!

These stories are good wintertime reads for young girls waiting on the show season to start up again.

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