Book five in the Morgan Horse series introduces a new horse, Annie. Uncertain of her origin, Chauncy decides to bring Annie home to Gallant Morgans, but he makes it clear she can only stay if he can locate her registration papers. When Heather discovers Annie's true identity, she is afraid to tell Chauncy, knowing the horse may be returned to a cruel trainer. Will Chauncy send Annie back to her original owner? What will happen to Annie if she is returned? Heather hides the truth from her friend and soon events spiral out of control. In addition to the mystery, this book also includes the exciting Justin Morgan class, the famous class that re-enacts the amazing athletic feats of Justin Morgan, and the Morgan Trotting Races, held on the same dirt road that Justin Morgan raced over 200 years ago. Both events are treasured by Morgan Horse enthusiasts around the country. Annie has won two national awards! The book was selected as a Moonbeam Children's Book Award Winner as well as a Reader Views Literary Award winner!
That evening, Polly patiently waited for her dinner. However, as the barn grew dark, nobody came. Mr. Spencer had taken Blackjack to an auction while the rest of the staff took the day off. Whoever was supposed to feed must have forgotten.
As time passed, Polly grew increasingly hungry. A smell slowly began to drift to her nostrils, but the mare immediately knew it wasn’t food. Something was wrong; that smell meant danger. Polly whinnied but there was no answer. She started to pace around her stall. Stopping occasionally, she would paw through the dirty sawdust, look around in the dark, and then begin to pace again.
The electrical wires in the old barn had been in use for years. They hung down low in many places, especially up in the hayloft, and the many rats in the barn enjoyed chewing them. A particularly fat rat had concentrated his efforts that day on one spot where a wire was surrounded by old, dusty hay bales. The rat enjoyed the sense of security from all the hay.
The switch in the barn was frequently left on by the lazy grooms. It didn’t take long for the rat to chew through the outer plastic coating and begin chewing on the copper wire. Suddenly the wire sparked. The rat jumped in fear and scurried away, but the spark ignited the hay, and within minutes a small fire had started.
The dry hay went up in flames in a flash. Soon the fire had spread to the ancient frame of the hayloft and then through the floorboards to the stalls below. Within minutes the whole barn was ablaze.
Polly was frantic. The fire hadn’t reached her stall yet, but she could feel the heat and knew there was danger approaching. She squealed and hit her door with a hoof. She wanted to get out of the barn.
“Fire!” screamed Kevin as he dashed from his truck. He had been out with friends and forgotten to feed the horses. Arriving late, he was horrified to see the lower barn in flames. Without a moment’s hesitation, he ran to the barn and into the crumbling building. It was hard to see with all the smoke, but Kevin had been in the barn so many times he was able to make his way without too much difficulty. He only stumbled once but quickly regained his footing as he dodged the hot flames.
Arriving at Polly’s stall, he felt around the door for her halter, but Kelly had tossed it on the floor, so it was hard to find. Kevin grew anxious as he searched while the flames drew closer. “Come on,” he yelled to himself, “where is it?” Kevin felt along the wall, and as he moved, his foot hit the halter. Bending down, he madly grabbed the halter and slipped through the door. But the horse didn’t understand he was trying to save her; she could only sense his hysterical mood. The mare, therefore, fought his attempts to get the halter on her head. It took several minutes for Kevin to win the battle. By that time, the fire had spread down the aisle. They were trapped!
Kevin started to exit the stall but he immediately saw that the fire had engulfed the barn. How could they escape? The trainer’s heart raced as he stumbled through the stall, pounding on the walls, desperately searching for a way out. Hitting the back wall, Kevin realized it was just a thin piece of plywood. It was the plywood that had been hammered on to cover up the exit to the outside pen. Grabbing madly at the plywood, Kevin pulled with all his strength. When the makeshift wall refused to budge, Kevin moved his fingers lower, trying to find a spot where the nails had been removed.
Fortunately, Polly had chewed much of the door panel during her confinement in the stall, and there were several areas where the plywood was no longer attached to the wall. Finding such a spot, Kevin pulled with all his might. As he grunted, he continued to pull, knowing this was now the only way out of the burning barn. “Come on,” he pleaded. “Move, you stupid door. Move!”
The plywood began to splinter directly above Kevin’s fingers. It was breaking! As it splintered, Kevin moved his fingers upward to force more of the door away from the wall. The fire crackled and flames were reaching for the front of the stall. Polly, completely terrified, pushed up against Kevin. “Get away from me!” he yelled. But Polly, too afraid to move closer to the flames, continued to push.
Kevin was now able to squeeze his whole body between the plywood and the wall. Forcing all of his bodyweight onto the plywood, he grunted as he gave one final push. The ancient nails gave way and the door splintered apart. As the door crumbled, Kevin lost his balance and fell to the floor.
Seeing a way out, Polly charged through the opening, stumbling over Kevin as she ran. The trainer screamed as the mare disappeared into the darkness.
I'm Captivated By This Book
"Ellen F. Feld, award-winning author, equine journalist and phenomenally passionate horse lover, once again reaches out to the hearts and dreams of the teenaged horse loving set with her anxiously awaited new book Annie: The Mysterious Morgan Horse. No doubt about it, I'm simply captivated by Ellen Feld's Morgan Horse series. I like the way Feld easily reintroduces characters from the earlier books, horses and people alike. This book can stand alone, but is even better if you're familiar with the others in the series. She really knows about horses and, without trying to be trite, is the horse whisperer of the teen horse set. Anyone who doesn't like horses will want to fall in love with them after reading any book by Ellen Feld, and Annie: The Mysterious Morgan Horse is no exception." - Deb Fowler, Roundtable Reviews
“Annie is more than just a story about winning show competitions for horses. It’s about how to bond with and treat horses, any animal for that matter, and how that brings out the best in all involved. Even if you’ve never ridden a horse, you’ll wind up wanting to try after reading this sensitive and tender novel, and you will definitely be even more interested in finding out more about this particular breed of proud, talented Morgan Horses! Exquisite! Wonderful!” Viviane Crystal, Crystal Reviews
A Master of her Craft
"Ellen Feld has crafted another story that equestrians will adore and those new to horses will love. She offers wonderful insight into the horse world, including some not-so-pretty sights, without being graphic or over-the-top. In fact, her writing has the opposite effect: you instantly become empathetic for the horses and the care-givers in their lives. Annie will tug on your heart from the opening pages and will give you a wonderful ride to the end. Reading Ellen Feld's Morgan Horse series immerses you in the horse world. In Annie, you feel as though you are part horse, part spectator. Feld gets you off to a fast start, then forces you to manage your pace. It's hard not to race ahead, but she is a master of her craft and will keep you reading and, when it's over, wanting more." Terry Doherty, The Reading Tub, Inc.