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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Oh, to be free! To be able to run across the wild prairie without a care in the world, free of danger, free of injury, free of hardship and starvation. The wild Mustangs have run free for generations, but not without the fear of predators: wild animals and humans, all of whom threaten their lives, their safety, their well-being, and their source of food.
A Mustang colt, black as his sire, is born free and, for the first part of his life, he doesn’t have a care in the world. He can chase after shadows, which he does to his heart’s content. That is until predators scare him and his herd, and somehow in his youth and inexperience he ventures too far from his herd. He is lost and alone. His first encounter with humans is frightening, but in the next encounter a kind man frees him from a wire trap. The Mustang colt, almost full grown now, ventures unknowingly further away from his herd. He is captured, sold, trained, cared for. He learns that humans are not all bad, not all to be feared. Although the Mustang colt does experience other elements of fear that continuously cause him to bolt, at last he encounters the first human who saved him and the young colt’s compassion surfaces as he struggles to return the favor once offered him.
Cathy Kennedy’s novel, Meeting of the Mustangs, is a compassionate story of survival, and the power and importance of love for all life. The Mustangs have long been victimized by humans: human greed, human ignorance, human abuse, as well as encroaching civilization. Their plight is one that needs consideration. This story, a gentle narrative, is but one story to open readers’ eyes to the beauty and nobility of this marginalized breed of horse. Like Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, Meeting of the Mustangs is a powerful statement of how we all need to be taught over and over again “to be good and kind to man and beast.” (from Black Beauty)