Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

One Good Horse

Rate this book
The award-winning author of The Secret Life of Cowboys chronicles his attempt to fulfill a cowboy's greatest ambition--to gain the trust of a young colt and train it to become a good horse.

227 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Tom Groneberg

4 books5 followers
Tom Groneberg is the author of The Secret Life of Cowboys and has written for a number of publications, including Men's Journal and Sports Afield. He lives in northwest Montana with his wife, three sons, and his horse, Blue.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
19 (23%)
4 stars
29 (35%)
3 stars
27 (33%)
2 stars
3 (3%)
1 star
3 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Randine.
205 reviews14 followers
March 27, 2013
I forgot i read this book a couple of years ago and when i read it again last week, i enjoyed it just as much as the first time. It's reflective, about how these precious relationships in our lives take time, they take patience and life has a way of teaching you what you need to learn and gives you the tools to do it - if you want to. I will read his other books.
Profile Image for Jill.
876 reviews14 followers
September 21, 2011
I think this is a book that will not appeal to too many folks, as it is not enough of any one thing to be easily categorized. It's a horse book and will appeal to horse enthusiasts, but there's too much parenting in it. It's a book about being a father, but there's too much history in it. It's a historical look at Montana and "The West", but there's too much "today" in it. So I can see how many people will be disappointed by picking up a book they thought would be something else.

But I really liked that aspect of it. When I thought this was fiction (actually, I think it's a memoir, but too lyrical to call it hard fact), I liked it better than when I got to the end and realized it wasn't. He's a flawed, but somehow charismatic person, full of hope, but afraid to ask for too much, presume too much, be big. I can relate to that.

I also loved the setting. I love that part of Montana, on Flathead lake and around there, and I loved his descriptions of the horses, and the historical story about the cowboy. These are beautiful places that can deceive you with their fury.

I'm not sure what the take-away message was, and for that I should probably limit my review to three stars. But I think it's a message I'm not ready to hear yet. When I am ready, I'll hear his voice, deep in my heart.
Profile Image for Amanda.
Author 14 books9 followers
September 25, 2016
As other reviewers have said this was a "jack of all trades, master of none" story. The chapters are quite long, containing multiple POVs from three different characters. First, is Tom himself, struggling to find his place in the world as a father, husband, and horse owner. Second, is the horse himself. I loved the observations from this POV. It was by far my favorite. The third POV is a 19th century cowboy named Teddy Blue. All three stories are written beautifully, though I felt the author stretched himself too thin writing all three. We lacked detail that would have made the world truly three-dimensional. Conversation with Tom's wife, who was little more than a cutout of "supportive wife character" on the page, further insight into Tom's life outside of his thoughts on Avery and the colt. Did he ever find a job? Presumably he started writing, since this book was autobiographical? The history lessons with Teddy Blue were interesting, but again not enough detail was given to make me care about his plight. And I never understood how Teddy's story linked to Tom's?? It felt entirely disconnected. Overall, I felt like I had more questions at the end of the book than I did at the beginning.
594 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2022
The pluses and minuses of this book pretty much balance each other out, so I’m giving it a neutral rating of 3. I enjoyed the writer’s style, which is relaxed and conversational, but it is also monotonous.

He tells the story from his point of view as an out-of-work cowboy, a husband, and a father, but we learn very little about his family. He tells his horse’s story from both his and what he imagines to be the horse’s. If he had stuck to these two stories, I think he could have added detail to make the story more personal.

Unfortunately, he also summarizes the life story of Teddy Blue Abbott, a cowboy who drifted to Montana from Texas in the late 1800’s. He also chose to include a thumbnail history of his part of Montana. I couldn’t see the point of either of these threads. Teddy Blue has his own book published in 1939 and the Montana history provided is just a distraction.

I finished it with more questions than answers and no place to get those answers. All in all, I’m glad I read the book, but I wish it had been better done.
Profile Image for Brian.
93 reviews2 followers
October 28, 2009
I am often in search of good horse books. And there are very few out there. I picked up Groneberg's book because on the surface it appeared to be about a man and the horse he trains, with some discussion of Montana, the West in general, and his family. Basically a number of things that could come together to make a great piece of non-fiction. Also, it was put out by a major publisher, and that is usually a good sign.

Groneberg's story was quite disappointing, though. He talks about his desire to have something of his own at the same time him and his wife bring young twins into the world. And sadly, one of those twins is mentally disabled. When I read this, I first thought the disabled child would take over the story, but it didn't. In fact, we got very little of what his family, and his wife in particular, were doing or experiencing while he was training a horse. That might have been OK if we were getting lots of stuff about him training the horse, but those sections were equally as short and lacking in details.

After a few pages, Groneberg references a book he read about Teddy Blue, a 19th century cowboy who moved from the midwest to the west. Groneberg proceeds to summarize this entire story (I think this is a bit of a non-fiction faux pas), alternating his own experiences with Blue's experiences.

Unfortunately, there is almost nothing in common with these two, other than they are both fathers. And then Groneberg names his horse blue.

Groneberg's tale was held together by a thread. The sad part is, he had great material to draw from. I just think he should have tackled it about ten years after it happened. He definitely needed more time and space to process it all.
Profile Image for maggie.
28 reviews2 followers
August 1, 2008
I enjoyed this book more from the perspective of a parent than a person involved with horses. It was a candid look at becoming aware of the lives we live. I felt grateful for the fragility and resilience that my own life holds, a moment to reflect. I would recommend this to any one who needs an "easy" read, but one that provokes some thought, loves the west and it's spaces, and may be going through some personal transformation that includes family.
Profile Image for Erin Lovell.
17 reviews
August 30, 2010
I learned of this author on a trip back to Montana last Christmas and really like his style. He is a transplant and moved West when the spirit of the cowboy lifestyle claimed his heart. He suprised himself and his family by staying and year by year roots himself deeper in the ways of the West. Anyone for a yearning to live in closer contact with the natural world and the ways of life that founded this nation would enjoy it!
Profile Image for Trishelle  Lin.
90 reviews26 followers
February 20, 2008
I did not finish this book.

I got it from the adult section, and I felt that it had some things in it that a Christian should not read.

I think the story may have been good, but I didn't think I should read through all the bad language and visits to the bar, just to see what the story would turn out to be.

41 reviews3 followers
October 9, 2008
Expecting a book mostly concerned with the horse, intelligence, training, etc. What it is, is a book about one cowboys life, and how he picks out a gelding that turns out to be one good horse. I was a little disappointed, as I presumed from the title(never presume) and the cover that it would be something more to my liking and needs.
Profile Image for Robin.
13 reviews3 followers
May 20, 2008
This was a good book. Although it went from present time to way back when, I found that a bit confusing. It almost felt like I was reading 2 seperate books at times. But overall it was a good story and I read it in only a few days.
32 reviews
February 1, 2008
At first glance, I did not particularly like this book but the characters and the general sweep of the narrative drew me into caring more than I thought.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.