George Stanford Brown's inspirational, made-for-TV drama, based on real events, benefits both from screenwriter David Alexander’s sharp examination of damaged relationships and from the cast's no-frills emoting.
Colorado-based horse trainer Annie Garrett (Julie Benz) can't take any more when her husband, Ross (John Livingston), loses yet another job because of his bad temper. The family Ross, Annie, their daughter, Taylor (Gage Golightly), and their horse, Tolo relocates to Hidden Valley, Calif., in search of a fresh start. The move to California also puts some distance between Annie and her mother, Bonnie (Laura Johnson), who blames Annie for her older sister's death in a car accident. Unfortunately, the horse farm where Ross was supposed to work has been sold, and rather than return to the motel where Annie and Taylor are waiting, he accepts severance pay, cleans out their joint bank account and blows town. Annie's only hope is a business card given her by a horse trainer from back home. The card belongs to retired dressage champion, Mary Lou O’Brian (Marsha Mason), who now runs an equestrian academy. Mary Lou has her own unresolved family issues: She's still guilt-stricken over her daughter's death by drug overdose. Although she's vowed not to get involved in other people's problems, Mary Lou gives the stranded, unemployed Annie a job mucking out the stable. Annie proves so adept at handling horses that Mary Lou
Starts to think she could win an upcoming dressage competition, pay off her debts and enhance the reputation of O'Brian Stables. Annie should be elated, but life keeps throwing her cruel curves: First Taylor runs away to find her father who abandons her once again. Tolo goes blind and then, while Annie is teaching Tolo to navigate by smell rather than sight, Annie herself is injured. Fortunately, Mary Lou has come to see Annie as a surrogate daughter and lends her a horse for the competition. But Ross isn’t through: Feeling emasculated by Annie’s success, he comes back to lame Mary Ann’s borrowed horse. The only way she can compete is by riding Tolo, but could Annie possibly take the $20,000 purse on a blind horse?
Sensitively directed by George Stanford Brown , this tear-jerker avoids the maudlin while making clear the precariousness of human relationships.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: NR
- Review: George Stanford Brown's inspirational, made-for-TV drama, based on real events, benefits both from screenwriter David Alexander’s sharp examination of damaged relationships and from the cast's no-frills emoting. Colorado-based horse trainer Annie G… (more)