The Riding School (Pony Tales) (Volume 1) - A Book Review
Although I love reviewing physical products (what pony wouldn't love spending hours in various hoof boots, bridles, etc. ("product testing") and getting photographed while doing so?), these items tend to be pretty pricey, so I don't get to do them too often. Fortunately, I also really enjoy reviewing ponygirl photos, videos, and stories, and I can tell myself it's not a ponygirl porn addiction, it's for a review.
Unlike my recent purchase of 5 Case Studies on Pony Play, The Riding School describes itself as erotic, BDSM fiction, so I went in fully informed and ready for a good story. Also, unlike the "Case Studies" book, The Riding School was actually a pretty good read.
I'm going to add a spoiler alert here: reading anything beyond the synopsis may spoil the plot!
SynopsisLet's start with an excerpt from the excerpt :)
"Jenny...finds herself being stripped naked, medically examined and intimately measured for her new uniform – as a human horse."
It's a great storyline for those of us who enjoy a little BDSM with our pony play: a rude, spoiled, young woman is signed up for ponygirl training without her knowledge. After arriving at the stables where her equestrian training will be held, she quickly finds herself bound, gagged and unable to escape while she is fitted for human pony tack and meets her new trainer. However, as the process progresses, she finds she might not completely hate being a ponygirl.
ReviewOverall, this first volume is a well written story of a girl forced to become a pony who then finds herself enjoying it. The book is written in the installement style, so it ends rather abruptly (essentially with a "to be continued") at the end of the fifth chapter.
Chapter 1: Late for an Important Date - It starts off with a slight twist from the classic storyline: Jenny is heading to Albrecht Stables to become an instructor (at her father's behest). The author does a good job of setting up the character. Jenny is clearly spoiled and looks down on the whole upcoming experience with derision:
"...the restaurant had no Michelin star...Jenny grimaced. She had just entered Hell for a week, she was sure of it."
However, her initial assessment may prove to be correct, just not on account of the restaurant's presitge (or lack thereof).
Chapter 2: The Tack Room - The first chapter establishes Jenny's character and then hands things off to chapter 2 where Jenny takes her "paperwork" over to two ladies standing by the "Pony Tack" room. I really liked this chapter. I found the anticipation building as Jenny looks though the tack room. I could feel her puzzlement building and building until she finally realizes:
"This was not a tack room for horses. All of this equipment had been designed with humans in mind."
At this point, I felt Jenny's trepidation and tension finally snap her self control as she makes a break for the door.
Chapter 3: Silenced and Measured for Size - This is definitely my favorite chapter. It's clear that the author did a fair amount of research into various items of bio-horse tack and their application to the human pony. She even throws in the suggestion that Jenny might benefit from a rubber bit port (photo of tongue port on bit gag):
"...and added a tongue port for good measure. A tongue port was a great piece of kit which fitted over the bit gag and ensured that..."
As an equestrian myself, I especially enjoyed this line:
"She’d listened to the long list of tack items that were being discussed in horror. Knowing what each piece was used for on a real horse"
I could picture myself in Jenny's position hearing the names of the more esoteric pieces of tack being thrown around, knowing exactly what they're used for and how restricting they can be...and knowing they're about to be used on me.
Chapter 4: The Exam, Part I - This chapter started off pretty strong as Jenny starts to realize that she might be enjoying her situation a little too much as she undergoes a physical exam (though not quite a visit to the vet, which, from the setup in this chapter, will occur later in the series).
However, I found the momentum to lag a little starting about halfway through this chapter. It didn't feel slow, but I didn't have that sense of the story exploding forward and pulling the reader along for the ride.
Chapter 5: The Exam, Part II - The final chapter in this volume starts off a little slowly (similar to the latter half of chapter 4), but it does rediscover the momentum of the first three chapters about three quarters of the way through when Jenny's new trainer declares her to be
"...a very naughty pony.”
Unfortunately (or perhaps this was purposeful on the author's part), just as I felt the story getting nicely back on track (with the promise of "ingenious punishments" for the newly minted, ambivalent ponygirl), the chapter, along with this installment of the series, was over.
ConclusionsYou know you're grasping at straws in a critical review when the best you can come up with is the author using Crystal where she presumably meant Cristal and repeating "saddles" twice when talking about the tack being fitted. Seriously, the first three and a half chapters were absolutely awesome, building on each other and building my own arousal.
There seemed to be a little bit of a lull, or at least a plateau, from around the midway point of chapter 4 through three quarters of the way through chapter 5, but the author found that lost momentum in time to setup a healthy amount of anticipation for the next installment.
My overall rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars for "The Riding School" by Christina Mandara. If you like a little forced/reluctant ponyplay, I think you'll enjoy this book.
If you are interested in obtaining a copy, you can buy it from Amazon. The price is $3.96 for a paper copy, and electronic copies (compatible with the Kindle) are available for $0.99.
I wrote this review based on the electronic edition, so I can't comment on the quality, size, etc. of the paperback, but Amazon's specs say it's 9" x 6" and 60 pages. I have ordered the paper copy. When I receive it, I'll add a few words about it and remove this note.