Like a young colt on his Virginia ranch, Dirck has to learn control and discipline before he could win anything. In this case, the stakes are high. For his father had promised him more and more freedom in breaking in horses and training racers. Spring and summer vacations are entirely devoted to helping trainer Charlie in the stables and on the track, and incidentally in developing deep attachments to individual horses. Dirck learns a great many things -- he witnesses the birth of a foal, he calmly leads his horses to safety when a fire breaks out, he eventually learns to understand his animals. His hard work pays dividends, both financially and spiritually, for his young colt wins first prize in the annual race. Children who perk up at the sound of ""thudding hoofs"" either on the TV screen or in the country will find some excellent pointers on their favorite animals here.