The Further Adventures of Blackjack takes the reader to the exciting world of Morgan shows. Heather and Blackjack have had an awesome show season, winning top ribbons at all the New England Morgan shows. This could be the year that they get to go to Oklahoma to compete in the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show! But travel from New England to Oklahoma is quite expensive, especially with a 1,000 pound animal. In order to pay for the 1500 mile trip, Heather will have to make a very difficult decision, a decision that will involve one of her beloved horses. And there's a lot that can happen on a four-day trip across the United States with 15 frisky horses cramped into a large horse van.
Looking out into the vast, open countryside, Heather suddenly noticed that the clouds were thick and dark and a patch of sky off in the distance had an eerie, yellowish-green appearance. There was a strange, unnatural feeling in the air that Heather couldn’t figure out. She knew it didn’t feel right but didn’t know how or why. At the same time, the wind had picked up significantly and Heather realized they were in trouble. “I think we need to get to the barn, Blackjack. And fast!”
The Morgan didn’t need any convincing to return to the ranch. He eagerly spun around and tried to take off at a full gallop, but Heather, who was riding bareback, held him back. “Easy, boy. Easy.”
They reentered the cornfield at a brisk walk with Blackjack constantly throwing his head, asking to go faster. Heather was afraid that if they started running, she’d lose her balance as her nervous horse bounced, bolted and shied his way through the field. The corn rustled as they passed, and then they heard the sound of torrential rain approaching. In a panic, Heather shouted, “Home, Blackjack! Home!” as she grabbed a chunk of mane and asked her horse to canter. Blackjack responded immediately, but the moment he rose up to take his first stride, the rain hit — sideways. It was a downpour and Heather couldn’t see more than five feet in front of her. The rain stung her face, poured down from her forehead into her eyes, and blurred her vision.
Blackjack did his best to go forward, but he too could barely see. Then the hail came and it hurt! It hit him all over his body and he couldn’t understand why he was being attacked. Frightened and confused, the Morgan was struck repeatedly. Heather too, was in pain as the frozen pellets hit her. She kept her head down, using the brim of the helmet to protect her eyes, and looked at the ground rather than in front of Blackjack. There was nothing else she could do but cling onto her beloved horse and hope they made it back to the Kleins’ barn.
The panicked horse frequently stumbled into the cornstalks as he fought to find his way. He tripped repeatedly so Heather was forced to slow him down to keep from falling. It seemed to take forever to get to the break in the field where the dirt road they’d crossed was located, but as they broke free of the tall stalks and stumbled upon the road, the hail stopped and the rain slowed. Unfortunately, the wind, which had never let up, intensified and started throwing mud and debris at the unfortunate rider and horse.
Still, the wind increased and with it came the sound of a freight train bearing down on Blackjack and Heather. The sound terrified the girl and as she looked, confused and frightened, in the direction of the noise, she became completely panic stricken. A large funnel cloud was rapidly bearing down on them.
“Blackjack!” screamed Heather as she tried to get her horse to run in the opposite direction, but this time the animal didn’t listen. He, too, was petrified and was now acting purely on instinct. He reared and spun around at the same time, throwing his rider to the soft, muddy ground. Then he bolted down the road, leaving Heather to fend for herself. “Blackjack!” she screamed again, but the sound of the tornado drowned out her voice.
Heather stood in the middle of the road, tears running down her face as she watched her horse disappear from view. The wind was so strong that she could barely stand up. “Help me!” she screamed as she faced the tornado once more and was thrown to the ground. Crawling on her knees, she saw the twister coming closer, tearing up the field of corn as it approached. She tried to stand and run but couldn’t get to her feet. As she felt herself being lifted off the ground, she grabbed at the prairie grass under her hands, but her actions were useless; the grass was uprooted as soon as she got it between her fists. What should she do? That’s when she spotted the culvert just a few feet away.
Captures the Special Relationship Between Horse and Rider
"In The Further Adventures of Blackjack: The Champion Morgan Horse, Ellen Feld makes readers feel as if they are barn-mates of Heather Richardson and her stallion Blackjack. They watch from the rail as Heather and Blackjack prepare for the prestigious World Championship Morgan Horse Show, and they travel with Heather and her friends as they follow the van carrying their precious horses from New England to Oklahoma. Feld has a knack for capturing the special relationship between a young rider and her horse, and her books are always full of adventure—and the occasional tornado!" - Lesley Ward, Editor of Young Rider Magazine
Excitement, suspense, and a surprise ending
"In the latest addition to her Morgan horse series, Ellen F. Feld takes readers on a cross-country adventure when Heather and Blackjack set their sights on the Morgan World Championship. Before their journey is over Heather will make some tough decisions, while everything they have worked so hard for is jeopardized. The Further Adventures of Blackjack has excitement, suspense, and a surprise ending, all coming together with a satisfying understanding of horses. It is another blue-ribbon winner from a talented author." - Nancy Norton, Editor, Horse & Academy Magazine
Why Readers Keep Coming Back For More
"This series is so pleasant to read that you instantly, no matter what your age, become truly engrossed with the Morgan who is friend, hero and the coolest sidekick a girl could ever have. I have to say one of the biggest delights for me was when Heather explained that she loved the smell of the horses. To me, that is when the author's own spirit came forth and nailed the real reason why Blackjack and these stories are so special...This ideal and the beauty of this sentiment are shown perfectly in these books, and is exactly why readers will keep coming back for more." - Amy Lignor, Feathered Quill Book Reviews