The Outside of a Horse

( 18 )

Overview

Hannah Gale starts volunteering at a horse stable because she needs a place to escape. Her father has returned from the Iraq war as an amputee with posttraumatic stress disorder, and his nightmares rock the household. At the stable, Hannah comes to love Jack, Super Dee, and Indy; helps bring a rescued mare back from the brink; and witnesses the birth of the filly who steals her heart. Hannah learns more than she ever imagined about horse training, abuse, and rescues, as well as her own capacity for hope. Physical...

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The Outside of a Horse

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Overview

Hannah Gale starts volunteering at a horse stable because she needs a place to escape. Her father has returned from the Iraq war as an amputee with posttraumatic stress disorder, and his nightmares rock the household. At the stable, Hannah comes to love Jack, Super Dee, and Indy; helps bring a rescued mare back from the brink; and witnesses the birth of the filly who steals her heart. Hannah learns more than she ever imagined about horse training, abuse, and rescues, as well as her own capacity for hope. Physical therapy with horses could be the answer to her father's prayers, if only she can get him to try.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
A good entry point for reluctant readers moving on from Stine's own oeuvre.
Children's Literature - Patrice Russo Belotte
At thirteen, Hannah Gale has been through more emotional grief than any human could survive. Hannah's fascination and love of horses has helped her cope with her mother's death from cancer at a young age and her father's deployment to Iraq through the National Guard. In her father's absence, Hannah supports her stepmother through pregnancy and the delivery of Hannah's little brother, Jeffy. In an effort to contribute to the family expenses, Hannah gets a "job" at a horse farm not far from her home. While her payment comes in the form of riding lessons, Hannah's contribution is more to her own emotional welfare than the family's. Rorby paints a painful picture of a strong-willed teenager in Hannah and urges the reader to comprehend the bonds of love that can be built between humans and horses. When her father returns from Iraq, suffering physically and mentally, Hannah's world is torn apart, again. Her stepmother leaves and Hannah is forced into the role of the parent, caring for her father as he falls into an alcoholic depression. It is her relationship with the horses and their owners that keep her from drowning in an overwhelming sea of emotional chaos. Hannah finds connections in the equestrian world that allow her to imagine how her own life could be if her father would only commit to recovery. Reviewer: Patrice Russo Belotte
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Hannah, 13, has always loved watching horse races on television with her father, but when she begins to help out at a local riding stable, she discovers how much more she enjoys working with real animals, especially those who have suffered abuse. She particularly loves a filly named Rega, the offspring of a Premarin mare (a pregnant horse from which urine is collected to make pharmaceuticals). When her dad returns from Iraq as an amputee suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hannah's work at the stable not only helps her cope with the problems at home, but also leads her to equine-assisted psychotherapy and riding therapy for her troubled father. Things improve, but Hannah will need all her strength to make a difficult decision when Rega suffers a terrible injury. Like Rorby's Hurt Go Happy (Tor, 2006), this book is laden with so many issues—the problems of returning vets, various and horrifying types of abuse of horses, humane Parelli horse training methods—that they nearly overwhelm the story, and the horse/human amputee metaphor becomes heavy-handed. However, this novel really shines in showing how horses can help troubled humans heal their physical and emotional wounds. There's plenty of fodder here for spirited book discussions.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Sentimentality battles cruelty in this overdrawn middle-grade novel. Twelve-year-old Hannah begins work at a nearby stable as a way to connect with her father in Iraq; when he comes home missing a leg and emotionally shattered, parallels between him and rescued horses begin. Hannah's father suffers flashbacks, drinks too much and patrols the house with his assault rifle. Her stepmother moves out, leaving Hannah alone with him. Instead of ensuring Hannah's safety, the adults at the barn suggest equine therapy. Rorby loads her narrative with graphic descriptions of every possible kind of equine abuse and suffering, without any leavening-even the foal Hannah loves is attacked by dogs. None of the characters come alive (the women at the stable are interchangeable) and many of the details ring false. Would Hannah really not have been told for three months that her father had been injured, for instance? The foals of mares farmed for estrogen, animal hoarders, Barbaro, horses stabbed in Mexican slaughterhouses-it's all here. Manipulative and overwrought-the last book to give to a horse-mad 13-year-old girl. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803734784
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 640,188
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Ginny Rorby was born in Washington, D.C., but spent her first twenty years in Winter Park, Florida. She now lives close to nature, on the northern coast of California, supporting the appetites of five cats (the fourth and fifth appropriately named Spare Cat and Extra Cat), three birds, and a snake named Rosie. Because she does some wildlife rehabilitation, she frequently has an assortment of critters staying with her (past residents have included a bat, a hummingbird, a raven, a turkey, and numerous baby birds).

She writes by hand under a plum tree on a deck overlooking a creek, facing a redwood forest (with at least one cat in her lap). She had been working as a flight attendant for fifteen years when wrote an editorial about an abandoned dog and sent it to a local newspaper. An editor at the newspaper encouraged her to continue writing. Ginny has since received her MFA in creative writing. She was still flying when she wrote Dolphin Sky, so most of it was written while she was standing up in the lower galley of a DC-10 airplane.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

    AWESOME!!!

    This was one of my favorite books! I reccomend this to anyone who loves horses!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    This book is my favorte book

    This book is the best book in the whole entire world. If you luv horses with all your heart this is the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2010

    SERIOUSLY AMAZING!

    This book blew me away! I loved the way the author tied together war horses and relationships. This book was a tear jerker. If you love horses I highly recommend this book. It is a beautiful book about a girls father who comes home from war and her finding out what he went through, through his nightmares. And how horses heal them both.I read this book in two days and would read it again in a heartbeat! A MUST READ FOR HORSE LOVERS!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Great

    Besrt book i ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2013

    Best Horse Book Ever!!!

    This is the absolute best horse book ever!!! I recommend it!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Beeest

    Best book ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am listening to this book on my Audible account, but I need to

    I am listening to this book on my Audible account, but I need to say
    something about this book. It's told from the prespective of a 13 year
    old girl who has to deal with her father's return from the war. This is
    one of the most emotionally powerful books I have read in awhile. This
    is not a happy book, at least not as far as I have gotten in it, but
    the author is amazing and she does a wonderful job connecting the reader
    to her characters. My heart breaks for Hannah and her father at every
    turn. I hope this author has author books out! I'll be looking of rhtem!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Love it & highly recommend!!

    I love this book! Ive had it for close to a year and read it atleast 4 times! Highly recommend!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    I....

    I love this book it is the best book am i have read it about 4 times and i just got it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Horse Crazy :D

    I LOVE this book!!! I could read it over and over again. If you love horses you've searched the right book. Ginny writes so visual it is AMAZING!!! You will fall in love with it like I did. Best book EVER!!! Buy it NOWWWWWWWW :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    Most Amazing Book Ever

    this book is amazing! this was the first ever Ginny Rorby book i ever read and i instantly fell in love with her writing. i could read this book thousands and thousnds of time and never get tired of it. it is a heart felt and very realistic and visual novel... if you love horses, adventure, and if you have ever loved something or someone so much that you didn't think you could ever let go of them, than this is the perfect book for you.

    ~love always~

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Give me a book about a horse crazy girl any day!

    Outside of a Horse examines a girl's relationship with her father, both while he is serving in Iraq and after he comes home, wounded and mentally damaged. Left behind with her stepmother and baby brother, she finds solace working at a local stable, learning to earn the trust of horses rescued from abuse, and watching the birth of one very special filly. When her dad returns, damaged, lost, and angry Hannah has only the horses to turn to for help.

    Give me a book about a horse crazy girl any day! I loved the strength, work ethic, and morals Hannah learns from the women she meets and the way they take her under their wing. However, the soap box the author gets on about the horse industry, racing and meat packing plants especially was a real turn off. It felt like she was intent on pushing her agenda and the story suffered for it. She got back on track with the rehab Hannah's dad goes through and that part felt very authentic and touching.

    I listened to The Outside of a Horse on audio, narrated by Emily Bauer. She has an amazingly convincing, little-girl voice. The transitions to adults are not as convincing, but given that the story is told in Hannah's voice that seems realistic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2011

    Most addicting animal book(:

    The Outside of a Horse is the best animal connected book.
    It's real. It's happy & sad. And it's addicting.
    Read this book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Animal Fiction Perfection!

    Ginny Rorby writes books about animal-human relationships and the healing power of these animals. This is animal fiction that falls into a completely different realm than others. She breathlessly intertwines human problems with animals. Her previous book, Hurt Go Happy, dealt with Joey, a deaf young girl, her mother's inability to deal with her disability, and how Sukari, a young chimpanzee, helps Joey and her mother accept their life. Her newest book,The Outside of a Horse, deals with Hannah. Hannah Gale feels so alone. Her mother passed away from cancer a few years ago, her father is fighting in Iraq, her stepmother doesn't really connect with her, and her brother, Jeffy, is just too young to be there for her. The only comfort to Hannah is when her school bus drives by the stables and she gets to see the horses. It is through these horses that Hannah finds comfort during this difficult time in her life that just keeps getting worse and worse.

    It is through Ginny Rorby's believable characters and realistic situations that the reader feels so connected to the animals and humans of her novels. Both The Outside of a Horse and Hurt Go Happy deal with not only a human issue, but an animal issue as well. The Outside of a Horse shows the reader the truth behind horse racing. What makes Rorby's books different, though, is that she teaches about an animal issue, but does not preach. She lets you take in the truth and decide for yourself if it is an injustice or not.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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