The third book in the popular Morgan Horse series, Rusty continues the adventures of Heather Richardson and her Morgan Horses. In this story, Frosty has her foal, a lovely gray filly. This adorable baby seems absolutely perfect, but is she? Meanwhile, Heather decides to try her luck in a new discipline and enters Rusty in several jumping competitions. Everything is going well until Heather begins to doubt herself. Will a new friend, Nicholas, be able to help Heather overcome her fears and win the Jump-Off? Rusty has won the Adding Wisdom Award from Parent to Parent for excellence in children's products and was voted one of the top 100 products of 2006 by the same organization.
Heather mounted Rusty, who gleamed from the meticulous grooming that Laura had given him. His mane and tail were once again braided into perfect, tiny little braids and he exuded confidence. He was ready to get to work!
As Heather rode her horse towards the competition area, she took several deep breaths, trying to calm her nerves. But it wasnít working. She felt like she had hundreds of butterflies crowded into her stomach, all pushing against the sides, trying to get out.
As the jumps came into view, Heather saw quite a few riders and spectators milling about. Some riders were talking to other competitors as they casually walked their animals around, while others adjusted tack or outfits. Heather decided to warm Rusty up, hoping that focusing on her horse would draw her attention away from her nerves. She trotted around for several minutes and then went over the practice jump a couple of times. Rusty was going perfectly. He was feisty, yet attentive and eager.
As the class was called to order, Heather found her parents and Laura and rode over to them. With twelve riders competing, the class would take a while to run. Heather, scheduled to ride tenth, had plenty of time to sit around and worry. She was disappointed to learn she would ride near the end, thinking it would make her anxiety worse. Laura, however, felt otherwise. Going near the end, she explained, would give Heather a chance to see how others were doing, what strategies were working and which ones werenít and how best to ride the course so as to complete it within the time allowed. Laura made comments to Heather as each rider maneuvered through the course, but Heather didnít hear her. Instead, she watched as horses slipped, stumbled and refused jumps. As each horse made its way around the wet course, the grass in front of the jumps was churned up and replaced by bigger and bigger mud puddles. Given the poor footing conditions, not too many teams had good rounds but a few did. Those that did, Heather surmised, were experienced riders who had been competing on the jumper circuit for years. She had, in effect, convinced herself that she couldnít ride the course.
Finally it was Heatherís turn. The buzzer rang, indicating that she had 45 seconds to start her ride. Walking forward, she asked her horse to canter. She then circled Rusty, trying to concentrate. As they came out of their circle and approached the starting line, Rusty threw his head up in anxious anticipation. This action took Heather by surprise and she momentarily lost her balance. As her hands fell forward, the reins loosened up and Rusty increased his speed. She regained her balance quickly, but it was still too late. Rusty had already crossed the starting line and was charging towards the first jump. Heather pulled back, trying to get Rusty under control.
In her panic, Heather had shortened the reins too much, drawing Rustyís head in tightly. As the horse bounded over the first obstacle, his head was still constrained. Unable to extend into the correct jumping position, the horse jumped lower than he wanted to. As he struggled over the jump, one of the gate jumps, his front hooves struck the top pole. The pole rolled back and forth against the cup that held it in place. Fortunately, it didnít fall. Heather, unable to see what was now behind her, heard the thunking noise this made and thought Rusty had knocked the pole down. If her confidence was lacking before she started, now it was completely shattered.
Turning towards the next jump, Heather adjusted her seat and gained control of the horse. Rusty, still overly eager, had his ears forward and was pulling against the reins. He wanted to go!
The second jump was the brush box with the miniature bushes. It seemed the simplest of the jumps and Heather was able to guide Rusty over it cleanly. Directly in front of this jump, just several strides away, was the roll top. Rusty, straining at the bit, pulled his head forward once again. His rider tried to slow him down but Rusty refused to be held back. He excitedly headed towards the roll top and flew over it. The next jump, the oxer, required taking a sharp right turn in order to approach it correctly. Heather asked for the turn and Rusty, too energetic for his own good, fought the command. Unfortunately, the mud beneath him made it difficult to fight while at the same time maintain his footing, so he slipped. Tossing his rider forward, Rusty dug his hind legs into the loose ground and managed to regain his balance. But it was too late, the oxer was right in front of them.
Heather, trying her best to stay in control, gave the cue to jump. Rusty obeyed but was struggling to get the needed height. Clearing the first pole, he was too low to safely clear the second. As he came down over the second set of rails, one of his hind legs caught the top pole and it fell to the ground. Undaunted, he set his sights on the next jump.
Heather knew that they had at least one pole down and maybe two. She was upset but there was no time to stop and worry. The triple bar was next, the jump that had scared her when she first looked at the course. Her fear overtook her for just a moment, but that was all it took. She hesitated and without the strong urging from his rider, Rusty suddenly veered off to the side. Heather was in shock; in all their practice sessions, Rusty had never refused a jump.
The young rider, frustrated at their poor ride, suddenly came to life and took command of the situation. She circled her horse and squeezed with all her might as they once again approached the jump. Could they clear it?
Author has Incredible Talent and Love for Horses
"The third book in the popular 'Morgan Horse' series, Rusty: The High-Flying Morgan Horse, continues the adventures of Heather Richardson. Our Family Testers found the book to have such amazing descriptive details that no one wanted to put it down. That's a huge achievement in today's world of wonderful books. We feel the author has incredible talent and love for horses...we can't wait for her next one!" - Jodie Lynn, CEO, Parent To Parent and founder of www.AddingWisdomAward.com
Books Children Love
"What a blessing it is to find good clean books that children love!" - The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
Keep Horse Lovers Reading Well Beyond Lights Out
"Middle readers looking for books to nestle with will enjoy the horse theme of these new releases. Willow Bend Publishing's "Morgan Horse" series by Ellen F. Feld stands out. Frosty: The Adventures of a Morgan Horse and Rusty: The High-Flying Morgan Horse are quick, entertaining reads. Feld's knowledge of the equine is apparent on each page; detailed descriptions of the movements and responses of the horses bring the reader right into the world of these splendid animals. The realistic voice of Heather creates a relatable main character for girls this age. Heather's adventures with Frosty and Rusty will keep horse lovers reading well beyond lights out." - ForeWord Magazine