The Riding Master


“The Riding Master” opens in contemporary America where the affluent own expensive horses and take riding lessons. After a painful divorce from her influential husband Rayne needs to discover her way, and she hopes to find some solace at the stable, teaching children to ride. The last thing she wants in her life is a man.

What she gets is Trent, the handsome and arrogant riding master. He’s as hard on her as he is on his young students. He threatens to fire Rayne for being incompetent, even as he ogles her. Ironically, even though she should know better than to fall for such a bad boy, Rayne does.

“The Riding Master” starts with a great premise  and the writing style is smooth. But, the plot falls into a formulaic romance that offers no surprises. The two redeeming characters of the story are Bob and Frank, the rescue horse and dog, they offer humor and a break from the predictable story line.  The romance feels contrived, given Rayne's circumstances.  Trent does not conduct himself in a way that would work with horses, privileged children or vulnerable women. It was easy to accept Rayne, although she does come across as confused, but Trent was just not a convincing hero. Too many inconsistencies existed in the story:  how could he be both a  riding master and a high-powered executive? He is rough and intolerant of both the students and Rayne, yet pages later, he’s thoughtful and considerate.  With some work on straightening the inconsistancies plus a dash of the unexpected, this story would make a very enjoyable rainy day read.

Morgan Stamm