Horse Camp
by Phil Boatwright

New on DVD, 2/24/15 from Arc Entertainment, this girl’s summer adventure should appeal to little girls. Writer/director Joel Paul Reisig aims his tale at preteen girls (a much overlooked audience) about a 14-year-old who dreams of spending the summer at Black River Horse Camp for girls.

After a rodeo accident left her dad with a serious leg injury, Kathy’s parents have forbidden her from saddling up. Eventually their concern for their daughter’s social well-being outweighs these fears, they give in and allow her to spend the summer at Black River. Once there she meets the camp’s resident mean girl, as well as a kindhearted girl who becomes her friend. But soon Kathy becomes popular and begins to forget the value of real friendship. Life lessons are about to be learned.

Jordan Trovillion plays Kathy and Dean Cain from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV fame stars as her dad. The DVD is 107 minutes long and rated PG (I found nothing offensive).

This one may be an ordeal for older folk (it was for me), but it’s a gentle tale with positive values for little girls who will no doubt also want to go to horse camp some day.

DVD Alternatives for horse lovers: National Velvet. More than anything, a 12-year-old girl (Elizabeth Taylor) wants to enter the Grand National Steeplechase on her beloved horse, Pie. Engrossing story from a child’s point of view, with a terrific supporting cast and breath-taking photography.

The Black Stallion. Stirring fanciful drama about a boy lost at sea and befriended on an island by a beautiful – and fast horse. Solid performances by Kelly Reno and Mickey Rooney, great cinematography and magical score – G (sadly, it does contain one profanity).

Black Beauty. Narrated from the perspective of the horse, this episodic, sometimes slow-paced adventure is beautifully photographed, with life lessons for children. A close adaptation to the Anna Sewell animal-rights classic, it concerns the life of an extraordinary horse as it passes from one owner to another. Starring Sean Bean and David Thewlis, this G-rated movie is a great film for the family. There are several films with the same title, but this 1994 production is the best.

War Horse. It begins as a boy-and-his-horse movie, then progresses into a WWI epic tale, as the animal affects the lives of several people. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Read the full review.