Starting the Colt by Jan Young
Starting the Colt continues the story of Ben Lucas’s quest to prove he’s tough enough to please his hot-tempered dad. The Nevada ranch where his dad cowboys is a man’s world. Ben’s father, who believes in teaching a horse who is boss, orders Ben to “buck out” some young horses, but Fred, the crusty old cowboss, shows Ben how to partner with the horse rather than mastering it—and to Ben it looks like magic. In this sequel to The Orange Slipknot, twelve-year-old Ben fights fire, wrecks his ATV, and punches out his buddy, getting them both kicked out of school. When Ben’s dad’s truck and horse trailer break down many miles from home with a winter storm approaching. Ben rides for help on Soapsuds, a colt he and Fred have just started. Ben faces a tough choice: will he obey his dad and stay safely on the road, or choose a faster way to get home before dark? Can he trust the colt to take a more dangerous route?
2014 Paperback 173 pages ISBN: 978-1-937849-10-8
Jan Young has written an authentic work, both in general and in the details. Her understanding of ranch life in northern Nevada is clear and true. Also her portrayal of the Lucas family is genuine and quite poignant at times. The adolescent struggles of young Ben are played out against a rich backdrop of a world where self-sufficiency and being a good neighbor are considered the norm. His youthful trials and tribulations as he strives to please his father and yet hold true to his own ideals are engaging to read. The author has not only researched her subject well but also has a clear understanding of the changing times with regard to working with horses on a cattle ranch. This is a very enjoyable read! John Saint Ryan
Jan rounds up a good bit of knowledge and feel for life s lessons and the tribulations of a troubled young horseman in the Basin country. Listening to Fred and the new traditions of old horsemanship puts Ben squarely at odds with his father Pete s ideas of the old tried and true cowboy up and ride out the buck that he wants his son to learn. All the while, Ben s faced with the realities of dealing with life s lessons in loyalty, responsibility, family, and how we get along with people and horses alike. Although Jan s work is fiction, I can say that, coming from the background I have and looking back at parts of my youth, back in the day, There s a whole lot of truth in the story of Starting the Colt. A great read!
Jan Young s second novel, Starting the Colt, presents colt starting and horse training at its best. Twelve-year-old Ben Lucas faces a choice many colt starters must make use the traditional method of breaking a colt or step outside of the box and work with the horse and learn its language. Readers also follow Ben through other adventures and anticipate the choices he will make to avoid getting into trouble. It s refreshing to read about rural life through the eyes of youth. Ben s work ethic and his ability to reason through his trials and adventures make him a good role model for readers of his age. Young s experience in Nevada s ranching community adds credibility and accuracy to her novels, which makes reading Ben s story that much more meaningful.