Rave Reviews Log: Animal Stories

July 25, 2008

Gabriel's Horses

By Alison Hart
Animal: Horses
Rating: 3 3/4 stars

Thirteen year old Gabriel is a slave on a farm in Kentucky during the time of the Civil War, but he doesn't feel like one. His father is a free man and trains the thoroughbreds and Gabriel gets to ride them. When one of their prize colts, Tenpenny, goes to Lexington for a race, Gabriel gets to go along and watch their star black jockey, Jackson, ride him. But when Jackson gets hurt, Gabriel has to take his place. He does so successfully and Gabriel is looking forward to more race riding, especially on his favorite horse, Aristo. But then everything changes. Gabriel's father joins the Union army and the new horsetrainer is a cruel man. His mother is freed from slavery, but is expecting a new baby. And the outlaw and Southern sympathizer One Arm Dan Parmer and his band are looking to horsenap any thoroughbreds they can find. Can Gabriel stand up for the horses he loves, even if he is just a slave? For horse lovers or even those who just like historical stories, this Racing to Freedom trilogy may be just up your alley. Look for Gabriel's Triumph and Gabriel's Journey to hear the full story.