I ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lynefor Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading. I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.
While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.
Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.
Anyone who is concerned with cruelty to animals has heard of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and the one in Briarcliff, NY is one of the oldest. Founded by Mary Dusenberry (of Ossining) in 1883 after witnessing horses being mercilessly beaten and whipped as they carried heavy loads of coal up a nearby hill, Mary and her generous friends bought the land and started a fund to help our animal friends. Besides caring for smaller animals like dogs and cats, the SPCA in Briarcliff has an Equine Rescue Fund, helping to find our less fortunate equine friends right here in Westchester County; sad to say that there are many horses and ponies in bad shape right in our own back yards. They provide food, shelter, medical, farrier and emergency care for abused equines around the area. They even help enforce animal cruelty laws (Animal Cops Westchester!).
For more information, sponsor an animal or make a much needed donation to these heroes, please go to www.SPCA914.org. To reach the Equine Rescue Fund directly, please call (914) 941-2896 ext. 12. Contributions can be made out to the SPCA Equine Rescue fund and mailed to the SPCA. The SPCA depends solely upon private donations; it is a no-kill shelter and is not affiliated with the ASPCA, and receives no federal, state or county funding.
I’m sponsoring the monthly care of a kitty and I challenge all my Westchester and Connecticut friends to help. No amount is too little.