by Glen Balch
I traded for this book on Book Mooch because I have long loved another by the same author, Buck Wild and wanted to read more of his work. They're not easy to find, even though Balch wrote about thirty horse stories for young readers. Most are no longer in print.
Horse of Two Colors is an imaginative story about how Appaloosa horses were first introduced to Native Americans. When the book opens, two young men from different tribes are making their escape from a Spanish settlement where they've been held captive. In a bold daring move, they steal two horses to take home to their respective people, one a striking two-colored stallion, its hindquarters white with black spots. The boys have never seen a horse like him before. They don't know much about horses, as their people have just recently started to use them, and only for pack animals. Together the boys face difficulties of the long journey home: how to handle the horses, doubts about whether they can be ridden, eluding the pursuing Spaniards and finding enough food as they pass through some desolate country. More problems arise when Indians from an enemy tribe show up, fiercely determined to catch the horses for themselves. The journey is not without tragedy, and in the end one of the boys returns home to people who have almost forgotten him, feeling something of a failure. But the ending has a pleasant surprise that makes his hardships and losses worthwhile.
My rating scale isn't fine enough to differentiate, but I found this book a better read than the recent Wild Horse Running, it was more creative and the writing more enjoyable. I am even more determined now to find all the books I can written by Glenn Balch. He really is a great storyteller.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 170 pages, 1969