HOLD THE REIN FREE by Judy Van der Veer
Kirkus Star


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... and this book does let loose on the usually formula-restricted horse and mystery forms. Mia was a filly who looked as if she might grow up to be the pride of Mr. Richie's Southern California ranch. But Mia turned out to be ill-bred for a potential champion of breeders--at too early an age she went footloose into a herd of stallions on the neighboring Indian reservation. When she came back Mr. Ritchie demanded that the foal be shot at birth, and Mia too, if she had any trouble delivering. Kiko, the half-breed son of the foreman, is upset at the decision, and Amy, whose family is renting the guest house and who is the only other child living on the ranch, decides that they should take action. They horsenap Mia. Mr. Richie is determined to find Mia, but Kiko and Amy outsmart all the ranch workers, as well as a determinedly curious relative, and they keep Mia happy and deliver her foal Tesoro. An insurance man gets warm, but some of the Indian children help carry off the pilot. Amy and Kiko occasionally worry vaguely about the future--obviously they can't keep the horses forever. Tesoro is trained, and Mia fully and well grown, before the problem is solved--happily, dramatically, and reasonably. Kiko and Amy don't actually lie they bend and stretch the truth, and children will cheer for the hoax so successfully put over on all the adults, as well as the enthusiastic but unromanticized horse descriptions and the consistent aura of suspense.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1966
Publisher: Golden Gate