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A Horse of Her Own by Selma Hudnut

March 1, 2011

Book Review: A Horse of Her Own

A good book for adventurous girls, A Horse of Her Own couples a good story line with a love of horses- a natural for girls. This book was published in 1963, but offers a pure and innocent read more reminiscent of some of the 1940’s classic horse tails like National Velvet and the Black Stallion.

Rosemary is a recently orphaned girl now living with her aunt, uncle and cousins. While her new caretakers are kind to her, she doesn’t quite fit into her new world. Her father was a horse trainer and until his death her world revolved around horses, and she was given a fair amount of responsibility as his helper.

Fortunately for Rosemary, her rural neighborhood possesses some horse lovers, an active hunt club, and stables. She is quickly taken under wing by a classmate’s kind father and fellow horseman, Mr. Sedgwick. He can see she is an accomplished horsewoman and introduces her to the people active in the hunt club. He reveals to Rosemary that his daughter, also thirteen, wants nothing to do with horses.

Rosemary’s school life is still a little rough as she hasn’t made any real friends since she moved. Her social life takes a turn for the better when Mr. Sedgwick’s daughter asks Rosemary to teach her how to ride while her father is out of town. Rosemary proves to be a good teacher; thoughtful and patient, and she earns the respect and friendship of Cindy. With the consent of Mrs. Sedgwick, the girls plan a surprise display of Cindy’s new skills at a local horse show.

Rosemary is kind, understanding, and responsible. She is hired to help at one of the more prestigious stables in the area. She loves the job, the horses, and her students, but from the beginning, she gets off on the wrong foot with the stable manager. Her relationship with Red continues to deteriorate when she discovers he is neglecting a valuable horse which was injured when Red tried to saddle him.

Red seems to have a grudge against this horse she calls Irish and keeps him locked away in a stall during his ‘recovery.’ Rosemary cannot stand to see the horse neglected and takes it upon herself to clean his wounds and care for him – all in secret. She knows she may loose her job, but she is willing to take a chance because she has grown very fond of this horse.

The story culminates in a confrontation between Rosemary and Red over Irish. Rosemary sees Red hit Irish with a chain and runs to the horse’s defense. She decides at that moment that she must ‘steal’ Irish to get him out of Red’s hands.

That night Rosemary sneaks out and back to the barn to get Irish. She plans to keep him at an abandoned barn down the road until she can figure out what to do. Her plans are changed when a drunken Red accidentally sets the barn on fire while smoking. Red and the horses are narrowly saved because of Rosemary. Her secret care of Irish is discovered by the owner and so is Red’s lack of character. Rosemary is rewarded with the gift of Irish by the stable owner.

The story is somewhat predictable, but the plot moves along at a good pace, and young horse lovers will enjoy the read. I think it is an especially good book because of Rosemary’s character and she serves as a role model for young girls. She is responsible and reliable. Although she acts in secret concerning Irish, she enlists the advice and help of an adult, Dr. Potter, the veterinarian, and when directly questioned by Mr. Sedgwick she tells him the truth about what she has been doing.


Rosemary keeps her activities secret from Mr. Sedgwick, Red, and her Uncle, although she has the assistance of an adult.

Rosemary sees Red drinking alcohol.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2011 12:07 PM

    This was one of my favorite books when I was a girl…and I have been looking for it for years!! Thanks for the review!!

    • August 4, 2011 7:08 PM

      I love these older books. Just great, enjoyable, wholesome reads. Happy to hear I’m not the only one! I hope you can find a copy. I think I found mine at the local library book sale.

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