Making the Grades
The Saddle Club came out of the gate as a series of books for young girls, penned by Bonnie Bryant. Then it galloped into the television arena. Now the saga of three equine-loving 12-year-olds is making the direct-to-home video/DVD jump.
Timid Lisa (Lara Jean Marshall), tomboy Stevie (Sophie Bennett), and born-natural Carole (Keenan Macwilliam) spend most of their time at Pine Hollow, a stable and riding academy. Here the girls learn plenty of horse sense from their instructor Max (Brett Tucker) and proper grooming care from the crush-inspiring stable-hand Red (Nathan Phillips). They also brush shoulders with the wealthy and snobby Veronica (Heli Simpson) and her sidekick Kristi (Kia Luby).
This premiere movie features three story lines so distinct form each other that the film feels like watching back-to-back TV episodes. The first follows Carole and her desire to be a veterinarian like her late mother. Initially excited about participating in a work experience program shadowing Dr. Judy Baker (Maggie King), the young girl finds her enthusiasm waning as she faces job realities and unresolved feelings of loss for her parent. Next, the challenge to prove superior riding skills results in a tragedy that leaves the chums grappling with guilt and forgiveness. The final plot pits the desire to peruse friends and fun against commitment to responsibilities.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Saddle Club.
What impression are you left with regarding equestrian riding after watching this movie? Is this a sport that is exclusive to wealthy individuals?
Why do some television writers want their characters to stay static (always the same)? Can you think of a television show where characters progress and grow from week to week? How does character development make writing a weekly series more difficult?