If Wishes Were Horses

by Anne McCaffrey
85 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jenny

An excellent little fantasy, especially for horse-lovers.


Tirza’s mother, in accordance with family tradition, is a very clairvoyant woman and is always called upon to right problems. Never was a woman so resourceful. But when Tirza’s father is required to muster his men and leave for war, Tirza and her mother are taxed to the limit to provide for their manor and tenants. Clothes must be found, buildings constructed, fields plowed and planted. And what of her brother’s horse that was promised to him for his sixteenth birthday? Tirza is not sure even her mother’s famed resourcefulness can conjure a steed out of thin air.


While not overtly Christian, the morals in this story are excellent. Adults conduct themselves with loyalty and resourcefulness, children are obedient to their parents, parents are loving, and there is a delightful peek into a proper loving marriage.

Spiritual Content

God is mentioned once reverently as the one who has determined the lengths of days, months, and years; it is mentioned that Tirza prays and it can be assumed she prays to God.

The women in Tirza’s family are all given special crystals to wear when they come of age, and the crystals help the wearer to think clearly and, in some cases, with clairvoyance. This could be interpreted as magic, though of an extremely benign kind.


Some horses come home wounded and have to be stitched; a man bears several marks from war, but nothing mortal.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine, beer, and ales are consumed. There is no drunkenness.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content



Short but thoroughly delightful, this story is brimming with colorful insights into the life of a young lady growing up on a manor. Again, while not overtly Christian, Tirza and her mother make for fine models that young women should emulate: obedient, kind, insightful, resourceful, and very loving. None of Anne McCaffrey’s skill and charm is lost for the brevity of this tale.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

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