Chancey of the Maury River
A “fire star” crosses the night sky when an Appaloosa named Chancey is born. Though his mother, Starry Night, explains to her frightened young colt that the appearance of that very star means he is destined for greatness, Chancey’s life seems anything but great. Chancey is born albino, which is considered undesirable by a horse owner for several reasons. The condition of albinism subjects him to certain health problems. His owner, Monique, is very disappointed with Chancey’s appearance, and they never really forge a bond. Starry Night, who had been Monique’s favorite horse, dies while Chancey is a mere colt, and he greatly misses her love and companionship.
Still, Chancey leads a fairly comfortable life for a number of years as a riding school horse, introducing many young children to the joys of riding. He lives in a stable, has plenty of grain and hay to eat, gets adequate medical care, and enjoys the company of the other horses.
When Monique suffers financial and personal problems, she easily finds homes for all her other horses. However, there seems to be no place for an albino Appaloosa. Chancey is abandoned for months in an open field, left out in the elements to fend for himself. He loses a great deal of weight as he must forage for whatever he can find to sustain him, and is badly cut by the wire fence he goes through to get over to the Maury River and drink its refreshing water.
Eventually he is taken in by kindly Mrs. Maiden, who owns the Maury River Stables. Mrs. Maiden loses no time in placing young Claire in charge of the neglected horse’s care and grooming. Claire is reeling from her parents’ recent divorce, and restoring Chancey to good condition will keep her occupied. Claire and Chancey develop an immediate bond, each needing what the other has to offer.
Because of Chancey’s aches and pains due to aging and his failing eyesight (he is now blind in one eye because of cancer), he can no longer jump in competition. Still, he is very well utilized as a therapeutic horse. Chancey is extremely gentle and patient with his newest student, Trevor, who seems very obstinate and rather prickly. It is quite a while before Trevor even agrees to mount Chancey.
By now Claire is a skilled rider, and Mrs. Maiden appoints her in charge of Trevor’s lessons. Claire has big plans for Chancey and Trevor. Chancey will have to call upon his maturity and courage to be able to do the extraordinary things that Claire asks of him. For his part, Trevor must learn to trust both Chancey and Claire, and work extremely hard to obtain his somewhat unrealistic goal.
This touching story is narrated by Chancey himself, which gives the book a most unusual tone. The reader is often surprised to learn just what Chancey thinks and feels, and how he relates to the other horses and people he comes in contact with. CHANCEY OF THE MAURY RIVER readily encourages a serious look at horses to anyone who already has some interest in them.
Reviewed by Carole Turner on March 9, 2010
Chancey of the Maury River
- Publication Date: March 9, 2010
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick
- ISBN-10: 0763645230
- ISBN-13: 9780763645236