Rives, Amélie

About the author

Amélie Rives’ Trix and Over-the-Moon is a very early American horse book, written in 1908. It’s not a story told by a horse, like Black Beauty; what it is in fact is a horse story with what came to be a traditional plot. In it, girl (or woman in this case) buys tricky horse; tries to school horse; aims at showing horse successfully.

Amélie Rives, the author, was a god-daughter of Robert E Lee, and was born in 1863. She spent most of her life in America’s South, on her family’s estate near Charlottesville. She was married to, and divorced, the wealthy John Armstrong Chanler, and then married Prince Pierre Troubetskoy, a Russian. Her first book, The Quick or the Dead, scandalised America with its portrayal of a young widow pondering re-marriage shortly after the death of her husband. Whether Trix and Over-the-Moon caused any scandal, I do not know. It would certainly pull any modern reader up short.

Trix is Mrs Beatrix Bruce, married to Sidney Bruce. They live in Virginia, where Trix achieves epics of organisation running the farm – and I mean epics. I really don’t know how she does it. This is a description of her morning routine; and it’s not even the whole morning:

It was early in the morning, and yet Trix had set out three other shrubs, superintended the planting of half a dozen trees, seen to the strawberry bed, overhauled the stable and dairy and written about 50 checks. The day was yet before her, she felt, and the day would be full….. Later there would be Tim and his spelling-lesson, her new habit-skirt, the colts, the farm, that man from Barboursville to see about the contract for timber in Hickroy Mountain, her runabout to varnish – above all, the sick mare to see after.

The amazing Trix is of course an accomplished horsewoman, and horses are her main love. She buys a colt descended from the stallion Orion, whom she eventually calls Over-the-Moon. The Orion colts are known for their suspect temper, and everyone save Trix sees something bad in the colt, though his outrages against discipline are relatively minor. The training does not go to plan however, and those about Trix soon come to believe she is in mortal danger. This leads to the death of her beloved horse.

Finding the book
Certainly findable reasonably cheaply, and can also be got as a print-on-demand.

Links and sources
Amélie Rives on the Dictionary of Virgina Biography
My review of Trix and Over the Moon

Bibliography (horse books only)

Trix and Over the Moon

Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York & London, 1908, 164 pp,
illus F Walter Taylor
Reprinted numerous times.

Trix runs the farm. She is convinced she can do pretty well anything she turns her mind to, and she is determined to prove that Over the Moon can be a fine horse. Colts from that breeding are notorious for their bolshiness however, and in the end, tragedy results.