Emily's Ride to Courage by Sarah Maury Swan
"Swan, a long-time horse enthusiast, is writing about a subject that she obviously knows well… The trope of the lost pre-teen taking solace and confiding in an animal is a gem, and Swan uses it well....On top of her familial challenges, Emily is trying to conquer two major fears—riding horses and math. Even as a nearly fifty-year-old man, I sympathized with her on both counts. I’ve done better at the former than the latter. I applaud Sarah Maury Swan for being so generous an author as to share her talent to make the world a more manageable place for her young readers. "
"Continuing on similar themes from her earlier debut novel, Terror's Identity, Sarah Swan once again entertains her readers with the heroic if not underdog qualities of her young main characters who despite their youth, are often called upon to face some of life's most difficult challenges."
When Emily and her sister move to their grandfather's farm, Emily dreams of a horse of her very own. She wants to buy Gemini, the patient horse she uses for riding lessons. However, Grandpa refuses to buy a horse with four white hooves.
Emily's plan to get Grandpa to accept Gemini is only one adventure. Emily also learns the value of math,supports her bullying sister during a difficult time, and even helps her mother all the way in Afghanistan.
Sarah Maury Swan was inspired to write Emily's story by her grief for having to put down her nine-year-old Appaloosa because of weak feet. The first voice to come to her was Grandpa saying he wouldn't ever own a horse with four white feet.
Like Grandpa, Ms. Swan and her husband had their own horse farm in Maryland for twenty-two years. But the sadness of having to put down three horses in five years, took its toll, so they sold the farm and move to New Bern. They spend their time golfing and kayaking. She continues to write stories and her husband continues to write songs.