Svein's burning but abstract desire for a ""super horse"" involves him in a series of down to earth challenges, beginning with the problem of raising money for occasional riding lessons (especially when his teacher calls for ""voluntary"" contributions for an African orphanage). Then there's the problem of learning to ride the docile mare Flora when all the time his ambitions are fastened on riding the spirited stallion Pronto. . . and the very day Svein gets his wish, Pronto is sold away from the stable. In the meantime he meets new friends -- the transplanted country girls Ella and Sigrid and wild, jealousy-ridden Rollie who is reformed by the kindly stable owner. Svein's impressionistically internalized emotions and the warmly diffused imagery of a Norwegian Christmas nurture a fragile atmosphere of growth, though sometimes threatened by uncertainties of tone and awkward syntax. It's more of a reverie about the changes people go through than a vicariously satisfying daydream about horses -- likely to frustrate those searching for equine adventure, but to please readers who can follow the gently meandering prose through Svein's successive hopes and disappointments.