Editor's note: "On a Good Horse" is a finalist in the Children's Book category of the 2021 High Plains Book Awards.
After the death of his mother, Alex Nash is uprooted to Colorado to spend the summer with his estranged father. Torn with heartache and apprehensive about living with a man he hardly knows, Alex begins a journey of healing and reconciliation on the back of his new horse, Rio.
A finalist in the High Plains Book Awards’ Children’s Book category, Darby Karchut’s 2020 book, “On a Good Horse,” is a heartfelt story addressing subjects such as grief, love, and family. The power of the book is Karchut’s ability to masterfully weave these complex topics with adventure and fun.
Karchut narrates the story by alternating viewpoints between Alex and Rio, AKA Good for a Fight. Through their distinct voices, the story comes alive demonstrating the unique connection between humans and horses. During their adventures, Alex navigates his unfamiliar surroundings, faces his loss, and challenges his pre-conceived notions about his father. Through the ups and downs, Alex grows in appreciation for his new life. After all, “It’s easier to carry the bad when you’re mounted on a good horse.”
A perfect book for the young horse lover, this memorable story will make you laugh and cry as you ride along with Alex and Rio. “A boy and horse could outrun all the sadness of this flat world. If the boy believed, and the horse was swift. The sorrel knew he was fast enough to help the boy. He just needed open grassland and a light hand on the reins.”
Ashley Dennis is the Director for the Office of Medical Education at Billings Clinic.