Book: The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon by Linda Balloucategories: Book, Horses, Show Jumping, Equestrian, Action Adventure, Cowgirl, Western Romance
Linda Ballouabout this book: I was deeply immersed in the riding world when a herniated disc in my lower back forced me to give it up. I had invested not just dollars, but huge blocks of time, my best energies and I loved the sport. The pinnacle of my riding career was doing a cross-country course in Ireland which is detailed in my story Irish Mist. Back home in California I was doing three-day events on an amateur level with my mare. I adored her and loved every moment we shared together on the trail and in the riding arena. Writing this story helped me get through the tremendous loss that I felt when I had to give her to Hearts and Horses a non-profit that helps handicapped children.
Besides the obvious "To Finish is to Win" message that Cowgirl brings home, I hoped that by taking readers to the mountains and seeing that world through Brady's eyes it would engender a greater love and respect for the natural world. I did a horse pack trip in the John Muir Wilderness that allowed me to know the ethereal beauty in the "Range of Light" that Muir described in My First Summer in the Sierra's. It was a momentous journey for me. I always wanted to return and ride the Pacific Crest Trail solo as others more capable than I have done. This was my way of getting there on my own and to share the message that not enough is said for solitude. Time alone allows us to absorb, and digest all the external stimulation moderns are bombarded with daily. It enables us to become centered and grounded in nature rather than looking outside of ourselves for endorsement. In addition, to this message there is a very powerful environmental statement about our place in the natural world. I don't want to share too much of the story, but it is my hope that people will come away with a little different perspective and understanding for all things wild.
I think there is too much made of being connected electronically. One response I had from a reader is that my story scared her. She said she can't leave home for an hour without her cell phone. I find this a sad commentary on our society. I intentionally, take Gemcie somewhere that cell phones don't work. I make certain she has to listen to her own inner river to get answers to her problems. I want her to get her head out of social media and to look, feel, see and smell our beautiful world. I want her to be strong and self-reliant and brave and to fulfill her potential. I think that the comment may have come from a very young reader, but it speaks volumes about where I fear all this need for constant connectivity is leading us.
5-Stars: An adventuresome ride
Linda Ballou's The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon takes readers on an adventurous ride through the high-level show world and a vastly different encounter of discovery with Mother Nature. Ballou's experience as a travel writer comes through vividly as she describes protagonist Gemcie's trip through the Pacific Crest trail as she sets out to find herself after she feels she has lost most of what she has cared about in the past. Her descriptions are beautiful, and one feels as if they are in the scene.
Ballou also creates memorable characters ranging from Gemcie's mother to her rival to her mysterious cowboy met on the trail. She keeps readers guessing, which keeps it interesting. She weaves folktales and Indian legend into the story providing mythical and interesting themes about animals, water, and elements.
I highly recommend this book. I loved the twists and turns, friendships, introspection, and education. In her Author's Noe, Ballou said, "If this book is received well, in my next story I may take readers on the ride of their life…." I hope she does, as I was sorry to put this book down.
— Valerie Ormond author of Believing in Horses
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Video: The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon by Linda Ballou
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