Desert Horse Recommends:


The saying “it’s a small world” certainly pertains to the portion of the world’s population that devotes at least some waking hours to riding, caring for or even dreaming of horses. Anywhere you go you might reasonably expect to run across someone who owns, used to own, always wanted, begged for or borrows a horse.

I recently listed some items for sale on Craigslist, and that’s how I met former rider and ongoing Thoroughbred enthusiast Sondra Newman. You know how these conversations start: she came to look at my sale items and in casual conversation I said something about the horse depicted on her bag. She asked whether I had horses and how many and, as if by magic, a new acquaintance between two horse lovers took off.

I learned that she used to ride with a trainer I knew and liked in the local hunter/jumper world. And that she and her journalist husband (journalism was my first career) were horseracing fans who had made a point to visit tracks in their travels. And that she wrote a novel inspired by a Thoroughbred she spied at an Arizona track.

When she came back to pick up the items she had purchased, she kindly brought me a copy of her book, "Silver Dreams"

This story struck me as a grown-up version of all those great books and movies I loved as a horse-crazy pre-teen girl. Sort of “The Black Stallion” meets “National Velvet.” Think of all those beloved stories in which the plot didn’t have to be entirely believable as long as it prominently featured A HORSE. Reality wasn’t the point.


Of course we all knew that a horse who washed up on a desert island wasn’t going to end up on the racetrack in elite company. Just like we knew a teenage girl on a backyard horse wasn’t going to ride in – let alone win – the Grand National. But it didn’t matter. We were happy to suspend disbelief while we rooted for The Black and The Pie and daydreamed that someday we’d be the chosen to ride the underdog barrel horse or show-jumper or stakes-winning Thoroughbred to victory after the professional rider got hurt or fired at the last minute.

Well, "Silver Dreams" is just that kind of book. Woman gets dumped and leaves a high-powered job to re-invent herself with the help of a rescued gray horse who turns out to be an elite competitor. New job, new friends, new mostly-PG-rated romance and, you guessed it, the chance to ride her own horse in the big race. A story comfortingly familiar to all of us horse-crazy-girls-turned-women. The perfect choice for a fun, easy summer read.

Oh, and this one has a healthy dose of “don’t tell me what I can and can’t do with my own horse, thank you very much.” A study in when a woman should stand her ground and when the wisest choice is to ask for help. Not a bad lesson for us all, especially when it’s painlessly delivered in an engaging story crafted by someone from our small world.

Note: The hardback version of this book is out of stock at Amazon, but you can purchase from online booksellers associated with Amazon or choose the Kindle version using the link above. Purchase the Nook version at Barnes&Noble. Or buy the book direct from Robert D. Reed Publishers, which contacted me to say nice things about my review and let me know they have the hardback available.



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