I downloaded a copy of Summer Circuit recently for free over at Instafreebie as a part of the Equestrian Horse Book Giveaway. Of all the books on offer, it was the only one I hadn’t yet read! Summer Circuit was a great look into the show jumping world from an interesting point of view. Hannah Waer is an eighteen-year-old who is used to the comfort that money brings. It’s how she got her horse Logan and is a part of the show jumping world.
As someone who is used to having her horse handed to her, getting on and riding and handing him back to a groom, things are drastically changing. Feeling that she needs to learn to assert herself, Hannah’s father has indicated that she will be doing the 7 week Summer Circuit before university. And she’ll be doing it alone. She’ll still have a trainer to oversee her classes. But when it comes to preparing her gelding and cleaning up after him, she is suddenly his groom.
Aside from the unappealing smells and the physical work of caring for a horse that she isn’t used to, Hannah isn’t sure how she’ll manage. After all, she has no idea how to muck out a stall, much less tack up a horse.
And so starts an incredible journey for the young woman. In time she learns to fend for herself, look after her horse and develop a backbone. Hannah is rapt to have a close friend in talented rider – and competent groom – Zoe. Although she can’t work out why Zoe is so nice to her, she is glad to have a friend who knows the ropes – and the people – in the horse showing world. Zoe introduces her to people and helps her to feel a little less like a fish out of water. One of these people is a knowledgeable groom named Mike. Hannah instantly recognises the genuine person Mike is and her learning journey regarding horse care begins.
Although caring for her gelding Logan has the potential to improve over time, Hannah doesn’t see how her riding performances can. Logan is uncontrollable and her trainer is far from helpful. On her first day of the circuit, Hannah is dismayed to nearly crash into top show rider, Chris Kern. And if that isn’t enough, Zoe is insistent on introducing her to Chris at the pub when the showing world is letting loose for the evening.
What has the potential to be a very embarrassing meeting turns into an unexpected opportunity for Hannah and her horse Logan. And in time it’s this opportunity that helps Hannah to learn to ride competently. She also learns to stand up for herself and to even belief in herself – as a rider and a young woman.
Summer Circuit is a great introduction to the world of caring for horses and competing on them. Because Hannah is having to learn from the ground up, the reader is able to learn alongside her. That said there were some terms I felt could be explained further. The novel is an entertaining and educational read and moves at a good pace. Although Hannah’s character seemed to recognise Zoe’s need to value herself as a person, I felt the sexual side of the story was a bit crude at times. Aside from that, Summer Circuit is a really good read. Hannah’s character showed real maturity as she dealt with what was thrown at her. Recommended.