Bonding With Horses
Following the death of her brother in a fire, along with her parents splitting up, Kacie Lewis (Alexandria DeBerry) is not only filled with guilt but has become a bit of a teenage tearaway. It is how she ends up at Spirit Riders as after ending up in court the judge orders her to do 60 days at the equine therapy camp run by Rex (Lance Henriksen - My Dog the Champion), who helps disabled and physically challenged children. Still full of attitude Kacie bonds with Blaze, a temperamental former race horse which needs retraining and as Kacie works with the horse under the guidance of Rex she starts to change.
Once you spend time watching and reviewing any sort of movie you begin to recognize certain routines, certain ideas which seem to crop up surprisingly frequently. One of those ideas is the horse movie where we have a troubled teen ending up working on a ranch with horses and coming out the other side, a changed person after navigating a few inevitable road bumps along the way. That brings me to "Spirit Riders" a 2015 entry into this all ready crowded genre and whilst not overly offensive, and certainly benefiting from some familiar faces, it is only ever another troubled teen finds redemption through horses.
What that means is that unless you have never seen another teen-horse movie before "Spirit Riders" will be familiar. From a troubled teen changing her moody ways right through to the various issues it is predictable and it constantly telegraphs the troubles which are to come from Kacie being told not to smoke to Kacie having been unable to save her brother when he was trapped in a fire... well you know what dramas are likely to present themselves. As I said if you have never seen one of these horse movies before then "Spirit Riders" has a chance to impress.
Now "Spirit Riders" is by its nature aimed at a teen market, a young teen market at that and I am sure they will find the attractiveness of the young cast appealing whilst the attitude they give their characters also entertaining. As a grown up the acting didn't do it for me although Lance Henriksen has certainly found himself a niche playing the wise old man role.
What this all boils down to is that "Spirit Riders" is just another entry in that already crowded horse & teenager genre and an okay one at that. But it is the sort of movie which the younger you are the more entertaining it will become.