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(Eventing #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  484 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid - and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she ne ...more
Paperback, 1, 368 pages
Published July 10th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (first published May 18th 2014)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Jennifer L.
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse-fiction
I am avid reader and read everything from horse books to young adult books to training manuals. There isn’t much I won’t give a try, but when adult horse fiction gets into my hands, I’m pretty ecstatic. Natalie Keller Reinert recently released her newest novel called Ambition, and once I found out it was about eventing I was even more intrigued! If you haven’t read anything by Natalie yet, it is time!

Ambition is about a young woman, Jules Thornton, who has spent her life as a working student and
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I am astonished that this book has the average rating that it does. I suppose that if you are aged 12-20, the reading experience is different. The purported heroine, Jules, is emotionally constipated and completely paralyzed by indecision (but not in a compelling way like Hamlet). She is completely self absorbed and unable to see beyond her own, extremely limited experience. But the reason I really disliked her was that her entire focus is on winning and not on her relationship with her horses. ...more
Virginia Anderson
Oct 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Review: Natalie Keller Reinert's Ambition
Juliet (Jules) wants most of all to beat the big riders in the dangerous and highly competitive world of eventing. Working herself nearly to death on a shoestring, she's furious to be shut out for a prestigious grant by rich-guy Peter Morrison. Life keeps getting worse as her working student abandons her, a promising horse turns out to be suffering from an apparent psychosis, and a disastrous show experience starts sucking her clients away—and sending the
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse-books-read
I 100% understand why Reinert titled this book "Ambition." I couldn't think of a better word to describe the main character, Jules, who is a broke, insanely-hard-working horse trainer trying to make her mark on the eventing industry. Jules drinks Diet Coke like a fiend, has a working student that doesn't respect her, rides through lightning storms so she can get all her horses worked, and vows to never date a horse trainer because she's certain he'd just tell her how to ride her horses. Yet she' ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses
This one grew into a page-turner for me, and I ignored chores and work of my own to find out what would happen. Why? Because I became so engrossed in the characters, both human and equine, that they felt very real to me, and I cared about them. Even Jules, the main character, whose behavior at the beginning of the story is less-than-stellar (and who we occasionally want to strangle)is a compelling character, because we want to see her grow, change, and learn to accept advice, criticism, love, an ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-2018
I listened to the audio version of this book while driving my daughter cross country for a working student job. This was my first book by this author and we loved it. Immediately started the second book.
Stephanie Pereboom
Fun read for horse lovers

This is a great book for the horse lover who grew up, but still loves to read about horses. It’s a great fiction story of a young female trainer trying to make it in the eventing world.
Avery NightRoad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horse-books-read
I 100% understand why Reinert titled this book "Ambition." I couldn't think of a better word to describe the main character, Jules, who is a broke, insanely-hard-working horse trainer trying to make her mark on the eventing industry. Jules drinks Diet Coke like a fiend, has a working student that doesn't respect her, rides through lightning storms so she can get all her horses worked, and vows to never date a horse trainer because she's certain he'd just tell her how to ride her horses. Yet she' ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
I kept waiting for this book to get better, but it never did.

The man character is miserable. The author took the worst characteristics you could have as a horsewoman and out them all into one character. Honestly, who looks at their horse that they "love" and thinks that the horse isn't good enough? Dynamo deserve a better owner. And who in the world wouldn't call a vet immediately when a horse rips it's forelock off? Or the fact that she tries to push the vet bill for all of the horses off on M
Mary Pagones
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I'm not a professional equestrian, I do ride and one of the things I liked best about this book was the fact that the heroine Jules was such a tough broad and not afraid to be unlikable at times. This reflected the reality I've seen in the horse world: to survive you need to have a very tough skin. All too often in horse-themed books, the woman or girl has a very emotional and sentimental attitude towards animals in a way that I never see in real life among professional horsewomen. I also ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I admit that the main character's stubborn ambition and insistence on independence to a fault irritated me, I appreciated her character development. Nothing like a hurricane to take away your false pride and leave you left standing with who you really are. Trauma has a way of revealing our innermost character. Additionally, the author Natalie knows horses, eventing, and dressage and her knowledge shows through. She also knows people and the characters in her books certainly come across as ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perils of ambition

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, appreciating the author's view and comments on ambition. She writes as if she's experienced it all. I did not enjoy the excessively long, oft repeated lessons on JuleS
stubborn insistence on getting to top alone. Enough already! And Jules blindness to Peter's intentions seemed a bit contrived. In contrast, the writer must have experienced a hurricane herself because she described it perfectly. I will definitely follow this author.
Franci Wayland
Eye rolling

Some of this novel works but I found myself rolling my eyes constantly at the narrator and her approach to life. She's so sour and pessimistic and while it works in some respects to explain the motivation - she's such a pill that I just didn't care anymore.
Karen Vandenbosch
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The main character made me crazy, her know it all attitude honestly almost made me stop reading but I hung with it due to the topic and the other characters. I hope the next book in this series makes her a more likable character.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horses
As much as Jules annoyed me, Peter, Mickey, Dynamo, Lacey, and Marcus made this a really fun read!
Christie Bane
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book showed up in my suggestions on Kindle Unlimited. It had good reviews and it was free to read, so I thought, why not? I wasn’t expecting anything great. And then... I loved it.

Basically, this is the horse version of the book I want to write about dogs and dog training. The author’s expertise and years of working with horses is infused in every sentence. Reading this book, you know you’re in the hands of a master of her subject. She lets you see the world of horsemanship from the inside
Selina Mist
This novel suffered from a lot of the pitfalls of beginner writers: not enough plot, telegraphing the plot, main character being unrealistically dense and not getting the most obvious clues the reader sees from a mile away, and so, SO much over-explanation (AKA showing your research). Yes, the average reader might not know all the horse terms and need a little help. But no, they don't need to know every tedious step of every single chore and every single horse interaction. It would have been a m ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book and thought "oh, no." It's exposition-heavy, especially in the first five or so pages, and it didn't have me excited for what was to come. Something kept me going, though; I pushed through my initial dislike for the protagonist, Jules, and I'm really glad I did. Keller Reinert's writing style is amazing. She has a superb ability to draw the reader in and hook them, and hooked I was.

One flaw of horse books is that, too often, the protagonist is a horrible Mary Sue who can Do N
Dale Leatherman
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually finished this book some time ago and became a fan of the prickly, exasperating, driven Jules. The book is aptly named, because Jules is consumed by ambition--to reach the upper echelons of eventing in Florida, and to prove to everyone, including herself, that she belongs there. Hers is a hardscrabble existence, living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep a roof over her head--and her horses' heads. I have seen this so often in real life, and it rings true. Natalie knows her horse sports, ...more
Victoria Spain
Apr 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book to read for the Popsugar 2021 Reading Challenge where there's a prompt of "A book where the main character works at your current or dream job." My dream job would be working with horses, so here we were. I don't read many blurbs about a book before I jump in, I like to be surprised. I was expecting a not-very-well-written vanity project.

This book was a very pleasant surprise. It's well written and the story is engaging. I know enough about horses to understand all of the refer
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first the main character Jules annoyed me because of her attitude. As a horse professional myself, I couldn’t help but be jealous of the fact that she’s 22 and has all these things that most people can only dream of: a farm, a working student, an upper-level horse, and owners. But all she does is complain about how rough she has it. She’s also so ambitious she’s blind to the times it’s too much and ends up being detrimental to success. Then I realized that that’s half the point of the book, a ...more
Cynthia W
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, horses
Finally - equestrian fiction that is not about teenagers and written by someone who knows how to walk the walk and talk the talk! Loved it even if the heroine is not the most sympathetic of characters. She actually reminded me of my riding instructor when I was a teenage working pupil! Brought back many memories of my time there - some good and some, not so much.

Minor quibble, Ms. Reinert: please learn when to use "you and I" and "you and me" - you used "you and I" incorrectly throughout the bo
Corynn M Cackler
If two stars means "it was okay", that's exactly where I am. I hated the main character in this book and never really developed any warm feelings towards her. And because she was so difficult, it was hard for me to respect her love interest relentlessly chasing after her despite her bad behavior. Nevertheless, the horse stuff is SPOT ON. Which is exceedingly rare. I picked this book up looking for the horse world, and I found it down to the tack squeaks and scrolled pine shavings and night check ...more
Intellectual Magpie
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written book based in the world of eventing. 4/5 stars. I did have some issues connecting with the main character... her horsemanship and attitude made me want to reach within the pages and give her a throttle... and take those horses away from her. The end of the story seemed to rake a turn so I’m curious if the next books in this series show her becoming a better horsewoman, one who takes better care of her horses.. but I greatly enjoyed the look into the show world and eventing sport.
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a hard book for me to rate. I loved the horse aspects of course and as a young ambitious woman myself I could relate to Jules on some levels. What I couldn't get behind was the arrogance Jules had. Putting her dream before the welfare of her horses and at times literally (in my opinion) abusing them and refusing the vet care, using a shady farrier because he saves you a dime very much not OK. ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well written

I was addicted to this book. I could definitely relate to Jules, even though I participate in showjumping and not eventing. The language is so fluid and descriptive. Really wonderful read. Will be picking up the rest of the series as well!
Karina L Pozza
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved this book and am very excited to start the 2nd book! I love reading books that have a major conflict, and this one had many. An amazing book has love and hurt and of course, horses. Would definitely recommend.
Teresa A. Mauk
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love "horsey" stories and this one doesn't disappoint! It's refreshing to read an author who truly knows the highs of eventing competition as well as the lows of daily muckout. Her knowledge and appreciation of horses shines through. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series! ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So nice and "horsey"! I am enjoying this series because of the attention to detail as it relates to the horses and riding. So many adult novels with horses have horses in them, but are not really books about horses. This one is. ...more
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Natalie Keller Reinert is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books exploring love, human nature, and the passions which make us tick. With an extensive equestrian background, many of her books are set in the world of horses and horse-people. Drawing on her professional experience working with Thoroughbred racehorses, mounted patrol horses, therapeutic riding, three-day-eventing, and man ...more

Other books in the series

Eventing (3 books)
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