COLT by Nancy Springer


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Colt, who has spina bifida, is introduced to riding in a special program for handicapped children. Reluctant at first, he soon learns that being on a horse not only strengthens his muscles but empowers him with new independence and courage, a better route to self-identity than his former brattiness. Meanwhile, his mother Audrey marries Brad, a gentle, sympathetic man with a teenage son (""Rosie"") and a daughter Colt's age. What would normally be a minor incident--Colt's mount jolts him when he starts to trot--is life-threatening for Colt, and Audrey reluctantly decides that the riding must stop. Colt becomes despondent, but then Brad comes up with an especially safe mount and the family agrees that, as Colt has pleaded, the rewards of his riding are worth the risks. Indeed--in a satisfying scene dramatizing how Colt can overcome his limitations, he rescues his stepbrother when the two are alone together and Rosie is injured. The plot here is familiar, the details concerning spina bifida obviously purposive. But Springer's characters, striving to create a loving new family, come alive as exceptionally warm, nice people who try to solve their unavoidable problems without dissipating emotional energy in rivalries or self-pity. Sweet but not saccharine: a satisfying horse story with fine extra dimensions.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1991
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Dial