A satisfying, old-fashioned horse stow with a contemporary message. First-novelist Laundrie follows Whinny from his birth in a herd of wild mustangs to his winning his own band. Early in the stow, his herd's annihilation by a cattle rancher is narrowly averted by the sheriff's arrival (by helicopter); later, the same vicious rancher tries to train Whinny as a bucking-bronco, with a callous cruelty that will give readers new insight into the rodeo spectacle. Just in time, Whinny is freed by the daughter of a ranch-hand and escapes to win his victory in the wild. The battles with man, nature, and with other horses--for supremacy in the herd--are familiar features, but Laundrie tells her story with clarity, grace, and authenticity. Helmet's attractive soft-pencil drawings are in the tradition of C.W. Anderson or Wesley Dennis; she knows her horses and depicts them with sympathy and precision. Fine, undemanding fare for horse-lovers.