By Sarah Maslin Nir. A wonderful book for younger readers, it strikes precisely the right balance between being informative and containing valuable life lessons about overcoming obstacles while remaining entertaining and engaging.
Sarah Maslin Nir’s “The Flying Horse,” out March 14, is a wonderful book for younger readers. It strikes precisely the right balance between being informative and containing valuable life lessons about overcoming obstacles while remaining entertaining and engaging.
The story begins with a newborn foal, wide awake on a crisp spring morning in the Netherlands. He’s arrived in the world earlier than expected, much to the surprise of the farmer who discovers the new addition while doing the morning feeding. Since this foal is the first one born on the farm this season, he’s named Trendsetter, “Trendy” for short. Trendy is a KWPN (a Dutch Warmblook registered with Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland) descended from Nimmerdor and everyone has high hopes for him as a jumper – the farmer wants to sell him and use the money to keep the farm afloat. But, Trendy realizes he doesn’t want to jump, at least not for just anyone. From there, readers follow Trendy to the Spanish Riding School, led by Cavalry Master Paula Butscher, to his eventual sale to show jumper Beverly Woods and finally to a young girl in New York City named Sarah.
Sarah is introduced in the second chapter and we learn she has a secret: while she’s been admitted into the prestigious Clearwater Academy, she struggles with writing despite being a strong storyteller otherwise. The letters seem to move around on the page when she tries to type. While she aced all the tests needed to get into Clearwater, she aced them because they were multiple choice.
Over the course of 13 chapters, we see Sarah and Trendy grow. We see them, individually, face pressure to perform, poor treatment from humans, traveling and injury in Trendy’s case, and learning to ask for help, dealing with and overcoming your obstacles and seeing a loved one in the hospital, in Sarah’s case. We see both horse and human overcome adversity and learn how to fly, metaphorically and in Trendy’s case, literally. This is a book that has something to teach everyone, whether it’s educating readers about how no, horses can’t throw up, what KWPN stands for, or not giving up on your dreams and believing in yourself. This is a book any young equestrian would enjoy and as an adult, it was a reminder that we all get into this because we were that horse crazy kid once upon a time!
This is the first book in Maslin Nir’s “Once Upon A Horse,” series; the second book, “The Jockey and Her Horse,” about Cheryl White, the first Black woman jockey, is slated for a Fall 2024 release.