I realized recently that a long time ago, I posted an overview for one of The Saddle Club movies. I was full of promises for more, and then I never did another one. I know this must have devastated everyone, so it’s time to revisit that glorious time of our lives when we lived vicariously through those girls at Pine Hollow.
Let’s go all the way back to the first movie of the series.
Carol and Stevie are already friends, but they don’t know Lisa yet. The movie begins with them out for a ride, and Lisa is arriving for her first lesson, worrying about if she’ll fit in. Eventually all their paths come together, as Lisa and her mom drive on the road, and Stevie and Carol gallop alongside the road. Then, there is a pedestrian crossing. Stevie and Carol, seemingly not noticing the car that’s been alongside them, canter right into the road, crossing in front of Lisa’s mom.
Lisa’s mom, seemingly not noticing the horses that were right along the car, is staring directly at Lisa, so she doesn’t react until Lisa shrieks. Then she slams on the breaks. But the horses are rearing up and making all sorts of horse noises and everyone is upset. I’m actually surprised there was time for Lisa to react, and then Lisa’s mom to react to that, and still time for her to stop before hitting the horses. The only want it would make sense would be if Stevie and Carol just stopped right on the road. It’s a confusing sequence of events.
I think the show is trying to show that Lisa’s mom is responsible for nearly hitting the horses, which as the person in the car, yeah she should watch the road. But also, who just canters across a road without checking for traffic? Really everyone is at fault here, and it annoys me that Stevie and Carol blame Lisa and her mom when they ran out in front of traffic.
Everyone arrives at the stable, and Lisa’s mom is being a helicopter parent. She tells Max that Lisa is not a beginner because she rode one time at a camp, despite every appearance of being a beginner, so she is not to be put in the beginner group. She must be put with her age group. Max decides the customer is always right, even when safety may be compromised, so he goes with it. Or maybe he had already decided to put her in it, I’m assuming the lesson was scheduled in advance and they were told when to show up. But he does ask Lisa’s mom to leave the barn, which is awfully suspicious. What are you trying to hide Max? Why can’t she watch her daughter’s lesson? (he claims they want to build independence but your whole group are strangers to these people? What if there’s some shady stuff happening here? Back alley horse dealing or something.)
Max tries to introduce Lisa to his two “best students” Carol and Stevie, but they both just grump and act annoyed. Max gives up on that. He takes her in to tack up Patches and they run into Veronica. Veronica, who might as well be wearing a top hat, and monocle, while twisting her handlebar mustache with her fingers, cuts in to say she’ll teach her how to tack up her horse. But alas, it was just some trickery, and she walks away with her own tacked up horse. Luckily Red tacked up Lisa’s horse for her.
Considering how much assistance new riders need with tacking up, I can’t imagine Veronica saved much time or energy by having Lisa tack up her horse. She’d basically have to show her how to do everything and correct her, so it’s actually a lot more effort than just tacking up herself. Maybe Veronica really did want to teach her how to tack up!
Now everyone is off to the lesson. Carol’s white whale seems to be a large brick wall jump in the arena. She is determined to tackle this jump. It honestly looks really big. I’m not sure if it’s camera trickery or not, but I would guess maybe 3’9″ or something? It goes up pretty high on Max when he stands next to it.
Carol and Starlight run out the first time, but they gets it the second time. Everyone applauds them, something I feel like we really don’t do enough in lessons. I want a round of applause for going over jumps.
Stevie decides she’s going to do it too, even though Carol tells her it’s not a good idea because she feels like Comanche is still upset from almost being hit by a car. Comanche, by the way, is standing there idle, ears relaxed, basically asleep. Stevie must have also noticed, and trusting this over Carol’s over protectiveness, decides to do the jump anyway. Max, the instructor who is literally standing there, is not consulted at all about what is the proper thing to do. Just as Stevie approaches the jump, Lisa’s cell phone goes off and Comanche tosses Stevie neatly over the jump. Now Stevie and Carol are really mad at Lisa. Veronica, bringer of chaos, is pleased.
Back at the barn, Lisa tries to apologize but Stevie will hold a grudge until the end of days. Veronica sees what is clearly a mean girl (Stevie) and tries to provide some kindness to Lisa by inviting her to come hang out in the lounge. Lisa wants to, but she can’t call her mom because cell phones aren’t allowed. Veronica assures her it’s okay to use her cell phone in the barn, but Stevie is outraged she would dare to use her phone again, in a barn, where no one is riding, and the horses are in stalls.
Lisa once again tries to apologize to Carol and Stevie but she makes the unfortunate mistake of complaining about her mother when Carol doesn’t have a mother. This is just another horrible offense by Lisa, and Carol and Stevie are even more upset with her.
I get that it’s a tv show so they are trying to increase the drama, but it’s a bit over the top. No one is that angry with someone for basically being socially awkward. No one cares if people use a cell phone in a barn. The cell phone going off during the lesson likely wouldn’t have effected anything, as it would have been muffled under Lisa’s jacket to begin with, and oh yeah, none of the horses literally standing next to Lisa reacted in any way.
But, it’s a tv show, so of course this is how things are.
I’m assuming it must be another day, as everyone is getting ready for another lesson, unless these people are just really into back to back lessons, with horses of incredible stamina. This lesson is going to be a trail ride. In preparation for this, Veronica decides to stick the long extinct technology of a pager on Stevie’s saddle pad in an attempt to scare Comanche. It might be attempted murder, but come on, it’s all in good fun.
She reveals her plan to Lisa, who is conflicted for about 20 seconds before she rushes to find Carol to tell her. For some reason, she needs to ride double with Carol to go find her, explaining it would take too long to say, “Veronica put a pager on Comanche!” There’s was literally no time to say it because she told Carol she’d tell her on the way.
Stevie is riding with the rest of the lesson, but then just kind of leaves them to ride on her own. Unclear what kind of lesson this is, maybe wilderness survival. Veronica sets off the pager, and Comanche kind of cares, but also doesn’t seem that bothered. He mostly just stands there, looking confused. Luckily, Lisa and Carol arrive to pull the pager off the saddle. Veronica’s evil plan has been thwarted. She can go back to her lair to come up with another plan and finally destroy The Saddle Club. This near-death experience for Stevie has brought the girls together, and they can all be friends again. Lisa even gets an official Pine Hollow shirt from Max, who wasn’t involved in the girl drama as far as I could tell, but still likes to show his support.
Since these movies are episodes put together, I think we are now on another episode.
Veronica wants someone to boss around, and Stevie starts doing it to earn cash for the Mountain Trail Overnight. Stevie does numerous tasks for her, but looks highly depressed about it. I’m not really clear why, as really I think she’s getting the better end of the deal. A job is a job, and Veronica actually seems to pay generously for these minor tasks. But I guess it’s just the thought of working for Veronica. It’s an early introduction to the workforce Stevie, sometimes we have bosses we really don’t like.
But it’s also weird that Veronica definitely pays for full board, why is stall cleaning not included in her board?
Mrs Rig, Max’s mother, eventually talks to Veronica, encouraging her to look after her own horse, and explaining what a great bond she’d have if she took care of Cobalt herself. Veronica replies (quite rightly, in my opinion), “My parents pay a lot of money for me to ride here and I don’t think they’d want me doing barn chores.”
I get that taking care of your horse is important, but if you’re literally paying someone to take care of your horse, that’s your choice. For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to do it, but the horse isn’t being neglected, she’s making sure the horse is still well cared for, and that should be perfectly fine. As long as the horse is well cared for, does it really matter who is doing it?
But in the end, it doesn’t matter anyway because Stevie’s parents decide they will pay for the trail ride. Stevie no longer needs her well paying barn job. That’s the end of that side story, and it’s never mentioned again.
It’s the day of the trail ride. Lisa’s mom gives her an emergency whistle, which Veronica mocks her for. I’m betting this whistle is going to save her life. There’s something about this group of girls going on an overnight trip that makes me immediately know they are about to be in dire trouble. It could be the way they are all trying to low key murder each other at any opportunity, or the complete lack of supervision.
It’s time to load up , and Cobalt is rearing up at the trailer. Horses in this series rear way more than horses in real life. Cobalt doesn’t like the trailer, as Carol helpful shouts, and Veronica doesn’t seem to know what she’s doing, so Cobalt breaks away.
Carol immediately screams, “BOLT!!!” which is definitely something people shout… when there’s a LOOSE HORSE, no no, the obvious warning is bolt. Not loose horse. Not a description of what is happening with an identifier of who is involved, which Loose Horse sums nicely. No, BOLT is the correct warning, which could mean someone is riding and the horse bolts, or the horse bolted away, or there’s lightning in the area. You just have to guess correctly what’s going on.
Max immediately tosses Stevie up on the other horse, even handing her the emergency helmet he must always be carrying, and they take off to catch Cobalt. I suppose this makes for great TV, but I don’t know anyone who would have that reaction. Horses usually run to their friends, their pasture, their stall, or anyplace familiar. It’s not that often they just take off into the abysses. No one needs to react that way, eventually the horse is going to stop. Of course, I’m speaking to this specific experience when the horse does this at it’s home barn, it would be different if someone is already mounted and a horse breaks away. Then yeah, go catch it. But in TV world, Stevie catches the horse and there’s polite golf claps.
They all head off to the Mountain Trail Overnight, minus Kristie who decides to stay with Red. Tensions are high between the Saddle Club and Veronica. Once at camp, Max informs them he’s staying at camp while they go ride, once again showing the lack of supervision. Maybe this is what that earlier wilderness training trail ride was for. But also, just a reminder, that Lisa just started riding less than a month ago, yet is sent out on the trail with no instructor.
As expected, Lisa can’t control her horse, she tail gates Veronica’s horse a bit, and then she just slides off.
They stop by a pond to refresh themselves, and Veronica follows them, probably because she has no friends, is actually really socially awkward, and is wishing she had a deep connection to others, the way the saddle club does. But Stevie puts a rubber spider in her stuff for a quick tee hee.
Then a new character is introduced. Phil, a boy who is the son of the property owners. Veronica decides the ultimate way to impress him is to push Stevie in the pond. Stevie either can’t swim or just has some kind of coordination issue as she can’t figure out on how to climb out, so she just flounders around a bit. All that splashing would definitely attract some crocodiles if they were in the area… and since it was filmed in Australia… maybe there are? My knowledge of Australia is quite low, but I do know there’s crocodiles somewhere there. Meanwhile, apparently Veronica was right, because she and Phil laugh like they’ve never seen anything so funny.
Veronica is trying to get with Phil, but Phil is already into Stevie. Maybe he thought it was super attractive the way she fell into a pond, or she was beautiful as she splashed about like a muskrat. He tries to befriend her and apologize but Stevie isn’t having it.
Veronica is angered by this and contacts Kristie back at the stable for emergency assistance. Kristie has the brilliant plan for Veronica to pretend to fall off her horse and Phil will rush to help her. Veronica seems to have her doubts about this plan, but since Kristie actually doesn’t care to brainstorm any further, she decides to do it anyway. This plan backfires, as while she’s day dreaming about being saved, she falls off her horse for real and is knocked unconscious.
Meanwhile at camp, Phil and Stevie are finally bonding. Then Stevie wonders where Veronica is. A boy walking by, who was not involved in the conversation at all, helpfully tells them, “That’s weird, Cobalt’s not tied up.” And then, pleased with his one line, he wanders off, never to be seen or heard from again.
Everyone debates if Veronica is faking it or not, and right as Stevie accuses her of this most grievous sin, Cobalt comes galloping into camp, hopefully making Stevie ashamed of herself for accusing poor innocent Veronica of a misdeed. Max mounts up to go look for her, telling everyone to stay here, so of course immediately the Saddle Club prepares to go look themselves. Lisa had been hiding in her tent, but as soon as she hears that Veronica is missing and they are supposed to stay at camp, she volunteers to go look for her. She pulls The Whistle out of her bag, and I’m already getting excited at the sight our soon to be hero.
Veronica finally wakes up, obviously in pain. Her pain turns to complete annoyance as she realizes her breeches ripped during the fall. Then she moves on to anger that no one has found her yet.
The Saddle Club is searching the trails for her, Stevie and Phil doing some kind of hate-flirting. Phil suggests they stay on the main trail, and everyone else agrees, except for Stevie. She thinks they should go off somewhere else, because the best way to find someone who’s lost is to be lost yourself. Is this what Max is teaching this kids?! It all makes sense now…With that in mind, Stevie takes off on her own, but Phil is quick to follow her.
Meanwhile, Max finds some clues: a broken helmet visor and Veronica’s cell phone. We all know there’s no way Veronica would leave her cell phone so there must be trouble afoot.
Back to Carol and Lisa, searching the main trails. Lisa, may I remind you, just started riding less than a month ago. She has only had a few lessons. So Patch starts eating grass, and Lisa can’t get his head up. She then gives him a kick, he takes off, and she falls off. So that’s two falls already, just today. Lisa is upset, but Carol comforts her, and then apologizes for giving her advice that I don’t remember her giving. But whatever, everyone feels better.
Meanwhile, Veronica is strolling along, not noticing she’s on the side of a huge drop off. A moment later, she drops off.
Phil and Stevie continue their lover’s spat until Phil delivers this ominous line, “I can’t go home. And neither can you.” If you added a crazy laugh, he could be a serial killer. But it’s nothing like that, apparently they are just lost. Which is probably a better problem than being stuck in the woods with a serial killer, if you had to choose one.
I really don’t understand how they could be lost, I feel like they could just backtrack. Obviously if they keep riding forward they won’t find their way out, but that is apparently their strategy as they do not turn around.
Veronica is being attacked by a dog, and she hurt her ankle. Her screams draw the attention of the feuding couple who rush to save her. They scare off the one dog only to discover there’s actually way more dogs there. They are completely outnumbered. Their screams attract more people, Carol and Lisa… and our hero, The Whistle.
The Whistle springs into action, delivering a shrill, piercing cry. The noise is unbearable to the dogs, who rush away (The horses are not effected). The Whistle has saved the day.
Unfortunately though, the movie considers the girls to actually be the heroes so everyone is proud of them. Phil decides he’s going to start taking lessons at Pine Hollow so everyone will be seeing more of him.
The movie ends with Carol, Lisa and Stevie deciding they are going to be great friends today. They decide to form The Saddle Club (sorry for earlier references, I didn’t realize it didn’t exist yet.) With their newly formed alliance, they are ready to take on their enemies and also ride horses. Probably mostly the riding horses part, but you know The Saddle Club, part of their bond is that intense dislike of Veronica!
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