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Esperanza is the third book in the Spirit of the West series written by Kathleen Duey. It is about the mare Esperanza and her mate Strider, before the events of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Book description

When Esperanza, a wild filly who is part of a group of mares, joins a larger herd, she makes friends with Strider, a young stallion, and when the two are separated from the herd they must face the dangers of the wilderness on their own.

Plot

The Lead Mare and Stallion of Esperanza's herd died of starvation, leaving the remaining mares without protection or guidance. Alma decides to take charge, and for a time leads the herd to a better place to escape the cold and hunger, however the loss of their leaders leaves the group loose and unstable. Some mares split from Alma's group with their daughters, among them Esperanza's best friend Alicia.

Willow, Aspen, and Midnight however stay close and loyal to Alma. Eventually, the mare comes across a larger and stronger herd, and wanting protection for her daughter and group, merges with them. Esperanza interacts with foals her own age, and takes a particular liking to Strider, a young black stallion.

As the new portion of the group settles in, Espranza and Strider become fast friends, so when a thunderous storm strikes the land and scatters the herd, they are separated together and struggle to survive the elements with each other, helping each other persevere as they search for a new land to start a herd of their own...

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