Caught in the act of stealing, troubled teenager Kacie (Alexandria DeBerry) is sentenced to 60 days on a work release program at the Spirit Riders horse ranch in lieu of juvenile detention. The ranch is a therapy camp for youth with disabilities, putting her rebellious nature to the test as she finds herself and a purpose.
Like all great films about a girl and a horse, Spirit Riders is full of heart. It follows Kacie’s growth as she bonds with a horse and begins to learn from the camp leaders, in particular, fatherly Rex (Lance Henriksen), the ranch owner who is tough but fair.
The friendships she forms with roommate Claire (Olivia Osteen) and autistic attendee Mike (Quinn Leifur) further helps her to let go of the past.
Directed by Brian T Jaynes from a screenplay by David Wilson, Spirit Riders is aimed squarely at teenage girls, from the fine female lead to the overall spirit of the film. It’s uplifting and, and times, exciting, but so much is fitted into this 90 minute chick flick that it does feel a little rushed at times.
The primarily young cast handles the emotional level of the story quite well, with some fine acting, particularly by DeBerry, who maintains credibility at all times.
An enjoyable, feel-good family drama.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7
Spirit Riders will be released on DVD on 17 February 2016.