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The Head and Not The Heart

(Alex and Alexander #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Horses have always been Alex’s obsession. Their presence has defined her life: all her choices, from her love-life to her career, have been made with horses as her priority. But the horse business isn’t for the sentimental, and it’s growing harder for her to tamp down her emotions and think about the horses with her head and not her heart.

When their racing stable suffers a
Nook, 1st Edition, 208 pages
Published July 13th 2011 by Natalie Keller Reinert
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  239 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Oct 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horse-books
While one can tell that the book was written by "a true horse person" (just a side note from a horse book snob- it's fairly easy to tell when somebody has spent time around horses and when they haven't, and the authentic books unfortunately are few and far between...) so I give Reinert credit for that.

Alex, the main character, was a bit two dimensional and a little bit boring, but the world in which she functions is rich and delightfully horsey. I read this one quickly, and while I was unimpress
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
A solid start to what will hopefully be a decent series. Well written by a horse person for horse people. I was hoping for a little bit more character development, and I didn't care for the abrupt jump ahead a year towards the end of the story (I guess instead of a brief synopsis of the characters' lives during that year, I'd have rather have had a few chapters dedicated to fleshing that out). Still, overall this was an enjoyable book and I'm looking forward to the second one in the series. 3 so ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not much to the story. Woman bored of her horsey life, goes to New York for a night, wakes up, smells the coffee, returns home rejuvenated.... Not particularly inspiring, not at all offensive, just a bit, well - easy!
Intellectual Magpie
Finishing my first Natalie K. Reinert novel I am excited to continue and read more. Overall 4.5/5 ✨ for this well written book about life, loss, changes and what’s in your heart.
Only flaw to not receive a full five stars, I wish for more equestrian details to have been added. Little things to trigger my mind of familiarity and draw me into the barn setting better.
Having lost my first horse recently this book definitely hit home in more ways then one. Loss of a special horse can definitely pus
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Head and not the heart

In general I just love well written horse stories and Natalie Reinhardt is a good author. I was drawn into Alex and Alexander’s training business and most of all to the horses they loved.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love horses

If you love horses, you’ll love Natalie Keller Reinert’s books. This series touches on the thrills of the sport of racing, but realistically portrays the hard work, love and sometimes heartache that comes with loving these amazing creatures.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Recommend to anyone with any level of interest re: horses or how "horse people" live and interact. True to earth.
Anna Smith
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very quick, fun read. Loved how realistic it was. It definately fulfilled my horse racing nerdiness standards.
Maggie Dana
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all horse lovers
This is one of those books that stays with you, long after you've turned the last page. The images and word pictures the author paints are subtle and provide layers of insight into this compelling story.

The author's well-formed descriptions really caught my attention. I mean, who cannot love the way this house in Florida is portrayed: "This sprawling farmhouse looked like it had been dropped carelessly from a helicopter which had been en route to a more suitable location, like Vermont."

And here
Mary Pagones
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An elegantly-written, spare, and delicate novel about the internal conflicts of a woman who has grown up around horses. This novel challenges many of the conventional clichés of how a racetrack novel is ‘supposed’ to evolve. Usually the plot revolves around a single horse and the challenges he must undergo to become a champion. In this novel, the central protagonist falls in love with several horses. Some break her heart, others nearly break her skull, some elicit her pity. The focus is on the r ...more
Jennifer Walker
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For any serious horse person who reads The Head and Not the Heart, it is clear that author Natalie Keller Reinert has walked the walk. Having worked with horses for a living and slunk back to my computer for a sitting-down-inside job, I had many of the same thoughts Alex did. You love the horses, but the work is exhausting. Horses are big, strong animals, and they hurt you without even trying. Yet, it is very rewarding to work with them, especially if you've loved them your whole life!

I did find
This story started out great. The world is richly developed and believable. I completely identified with the MC and felt her struggles. And then I blinked, the story was over and it was suddenly a HEA. What??? It read as though half the book was missing. Alex struggles with her life choices and ends up in New York where she experiences a night out as the person she could have been. There is a deep melancholy to the writing and you can feel her lack of passion for the job she is doing. Then all o ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: horse-books
Natalie gets it 100% right on both the emotions and the details when it comes to horses and horse racing. The story is absolutely perfect. I felt the emotions right along with Alex as she struggled to decide if her life in Ocala, Fla. with horses is what she really should be doing. I've grown up around horses and do believe even those who have not will understand and fall in love with this story. It shows you the real deal the struggles of the world of horse racing. The details are spot on. The ...more
Christine Meunier
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, horse
The first in the Alex and Alexander series, The Head and Not the Heart is told from the point of view of 25 year old Alex. Alex lives and breathes horses. As the second in charge on a racing and breeding thoroughbred establishment, she is devastated by the loss of a beloved horse at work.

This is not the first time Alex has grown attached to a promising young racehorse. It’s not the first time that she’s had to deal with its death, either. Although she knows she shouldn’t let her heart get involv
Joyce Reynolds-Ward
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely a book for horsepeople and non-horsepeople alike. Horsepeople will like the overall accuracy of this book--we've all known critters like the ones Reinert describes. For non-horsepeople, Reinert clearly and accurately explains horse-specific terminology and techniques without breaking the narrative flow, which is a tough thing to do.

But the heart of this book and its sequel, Other Peoples' Horses lies in the classic professional horseperson's dilemma--do what is right for the horse and
Tudor Robins
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Natalie Reinert has that rare (and, to me, very valuable) talent of writing day-to-day stories (even if the day-to-day does take place in very interesting settings) that make you want to keep turning the pages.

This, after all, is real life - ups and downs in relationships and work - these are the dramas we gossip about with our friends and families, so there's no reason why they shouldn't be as interesting as any over-the-top action / thriller / cliff-hanger, when written well.

This author writes
S.J. Matthews
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novella is a glimpse into the life on the racetrack and the emotions that only someone who loves horses could understand. I tend to shy away from first person POV, but it worked in this regard. I think it is probably the best way to tell the story. The protagonist clearly loves her life in Florida, but anyone that has wondered if they are living the life they are supposed to can relate to her struggles. I really enjoyed the read and will definitely check out Other People's Horses.
Becky Prunty
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this book. As a show barn groom back in the 80's heyday on the Arabian circuit, it was fun to find a book that was as much about the grind of that life as the love for the horses themselves. Took me back to a time when I gave up that life but never the horses. Still have nine head to keep me humble every day. Enjoy this one if you want realism and love and adventure by someone else who has been there.
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horses
Great debut short novel about a young woman trying to find her place in life. Her passion has always been horses, but it that all there is? With lots of realistic details about training young racehorses from an author who knows her stuff, this story will especially appeal to horse lovers. Ms. Reinert has a great feel for language and words, and I look forward to reading more of her work!
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the voice, and certainly can relate to the whole overworked horse person thing (though I would take winters in Florida over winters in Ontario! I dream of the winters I spent in Florida when I'm night watching mares in February snowstorms!). Started out with great promise but came up a little short for me. Nice to read a reasonably authentic view of the TB world, though.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've had this for awhile and kept not reading it because I am not a fan of horseracing. But I finally gave in, and it was quite wonderful, actually! Great characters!
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book did just what the first book in a series needs to do. It interested me enough to inspire me to purchase #2!
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Not much of a story. Not very believable. Not much real insight into horsemanship. Disappointing. More like a blog or essay about a cathartic experience.
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Solid horse racing book with intimate backstretch details that ring true to a horseman.
rated it it was ok
Jun 15, 2018
Cathy Wilde
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May 03, 2016
Michelle Jarels
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Jul 29, 2017
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Jul 14, 2018
Gerard A Widmer
rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2019
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Apr 14, 2018
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Author of contemporary equestrian fiction and historical romance.

After twenty years of working with countless horses in half-a-dozen disciplines, Natalie Keller Reinert settled down to write about Thoroughbreds. From the short stirrup classes at dusty hunter/jumper shows in Florida to the inner dirt at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City, it's always been about the Thoroughbreds. Natalie lives in

Other books in the series

Alex and Alexander (4 books)
  • Other People's Horses (Alex and Alexander #2)
  • Claiming Christmas (Alex and Alexander #3)
  • Turning For Home (Alex and Alexander #4)

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