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Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite
Rose Miller, the author of The Horse That Wouldn't Trot, has loved horses from an early age and finally gets the opportunity to own a horse farm, with the encouragement of her family. When backache threatens to put an end to her riding, she discovers the Tennessee Walking horse. This gorgeous breed is known for its fast, smooth walk that many riders find more comfortable than the bouncing action of the trot. Her enthusiasm for the breed soon leads her to showing and breeding her own Tennessee Walking horses over a period of several decades, but her discovery of the industry's dark secret - the abusive training practice of soring horses to achieve the freakishly spectacular high stepping gait known as big lick - eventually casts a shadow over her life dream.
As a lifelong horse lover who's never had the pleasure of owning one, I really looked forward to this read and it turned out to be a real treat. I loved meeting characters such as Xanadu, Nugget - whose story I found particularly poignant - and of course, that awesome gentleman in horse form, Praise Hallelujah. The mention of soring should serve as a warning to readers who might be triggered by animal abuse. I should add though, that the author tackles the topic throughout with honesty and compassion for the poor animals who have been subjected to this cruel procedure, while at the same time offering real perspective on the damaging consequences of breeding priorities warped to allow a harmful practice to continue. But, the sad legacy of soring is not the main focus of this book. There are many heartwarming horse stories, such as the tale of the special needs colt that touched the lives of two teenagers. I was never in any doubt that Rose Miller cared deeply for the well-being, integrity, and individuality of the horses entrusted to her care. For this reason, The Horse That Wouldn't Trot is highly recommended for horse lovers in general and anyone who wants to run a horse farm in particular.