Starlight Stables series by Soraya Nicholas
Brumby rescue, book 5. ISBN 9780143787440
Barmah brumbies, book 6. ISBN 9780143787433
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. Horses and horse riding. Brumbies. Soraya Nicholas' Starlight Stables series is packed full of fun, friendship and horses. Twelve-year-old Poppy, Milly and Katie enjoy their weekends riding, caring for their ponies, competing in events, camping out and experiencing new adventures.
In Brumby rescue Poppy accompanies her Uncle Mark, a veterinarian to a horse auction. Poppy enjoys listening to the auctioneer, the buyers bidding on the horses as they are paraded around the ring. She is alarmed at the fate of some older and unwanted horses as they are sold to the Meat Man. Poppy passionately bids on a wild brumby using all of her savings and some extra money from her uncle. A new chapter in her life begins as she learns to gain the wild horse's confidence with the assistance of her Aunt Sophie. Poppy and her friends still enjoy cantering across the country side on their horses, helping out in the stables and going home each week for school. This story explores the dynamics of taming a wild creature, shows the patience and resilience required, and displays how family and friends help in tough times.
Barmah brumbies continues with Poppy, Millie and Katie keen to ride in the Barmah Muster. Aunt Sophie looks into the possibilities and decides they will join in the Barmah Heritage Ride instead, spending five days riding in the forest and camping in the muster yards. There's the excitement of a one-day horse event before they leave with Poppy and her pony Crystal winning the competition. Poppy, Millie and Katie help at the campground, and Storm the brumby seems to recognise the sounds and smells of this familiar country. Aunt Sophie rides Storm while the girls love participating in the ride on their ponies. Their decision to sneak out of camp and search for the wild brumby herd causes problems as they become lost and their uncle and aunty have to frantically search for them.
Soraya Nicholas shares her knowledge of horsemanship and the responsibilities of being a horse owner in these exciting Australian stories. Her characters are realistically portrayed, they struggle, share their concerns and encourage one another. She brings the countryside to life and shares her passion for wildlife rescue and respect for the environment. The Starlight Stables series is perfect for readers who like animal and nature novels and for horse lovers.