HN Book Club: Margaret Fletcher’s ‘Gallop Girl’

What happens when an ex-hunter princess tries her hand at the world of horse racing?


“Poise, class, confidence, fantastic thighs and an even better ass.” The opening line of Margaret Fletcher: Gallop Girl says it all. Sarcastic, witty, and confident, Margaret Fletcher is your stereotypical hunter princess — don’t get offended, hunter riders, you know there are plenty! — with more money than she knows what to do with and a closet full of designer show clothes. But when her world is turned upside down when her father loses his money to gambling, she’s left to pick up the pieces of her charmed life.

Growing up in a primarily hunter/jumper environment, I learned the ways of the hunter riders early on. I was fortunate enough to be at a barn where the money flowed freely but the snobbiness seemed absent. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t see plenty of it when I would travel to shows.

Of course, every equestrian sport comes with its stereotypes: Dressage Queens, Crazy Eventers, and Hunter Princesses … the list goes on and on.

Margaret is forced to face her lifestyle square in the face when she finds herself broke with nothing to show for herself but a room full of Hermes saddles. Through the help of an old friend, Sam, Margaret lands a job as a gallop girl for Winning Edge Farm, a Thoroughbred training operation.

The first person Margaret meets at Winning Edge is Emily, a rough around the edges struggling event rider who gallops racehorses in an effort to find her next eventing partner. The clash of personalities here is evident from the get-go, as Margaret struggles with the lack of fashion sense exuded by Emily, who is more focused on honing her craft than riding in a hairnet.

Before long, the two form a partnership of sorts, although Emily still finds Margaret more annoying than useful — even as she demonstrates a natural ability with galloping young Thoroughbreds.

Through a series of events, Margaret and Emily fall into a joint ownership of a horse who will fulfill all of their dreams — Emily to go work for top eventer Turtle Cumberbund in England and Margaret to make a triumphant return to the hunter ring on the A circuit.

But naturally, training a horse off the track is a process, and its one that will test the strength of both girls as they struggle to make ends meet. Will they succeed in making their dreams come true from their own blood, sweat, and tears — or will their business venture fall flat on its face and leave their pride in its wake?

Full of humor, tongue in cheek moments, and an undercurrent of working hard to achieve your dreams, Gallop Girl is an entertaining book from start to finish. With many equestrian novels, I’m always on the look out for inaccuracies when it comes to the world of horses, but I’m pleased to report that this book is correct and refreshing in its use of “real world” terms.

If you’re chomping at the bit to get your hands on a copy of Genevieve Dutil, you’re in luck! We’re giving away three copies of Gallop Girl. Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, and we’ll contact the winners when the entries close after one week. Good luck!

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