Dark Horses is the story of Red, a horse, and Merritt, a teenage girl. Both are in the midst of big issues. Red messes up his first ever race, causing the death of another horse and injury to himself. Merritt has been sinking progressively lower since the death of her beloved grandmother and her horse which culminates with walking out of the SAT and going on a drug and alcohol bender that lands her in Good Fences, an equestrian based recovery program where Red has also found himself. The two bond and end up competing together. It's not all smooth sailing from there, though.
I started off liking Dark Horses quite a bit. I like von Ziegesar's writing style. I'm a fan of straightforward narration rather than the overly lyrical, which I was mostly what happened. (Red's narration had a bit of the lyrical to it at times.) I felt engaged and was looking forward to Merritt and Red finding each other. I kind of liked hearing from both Merritt and Red.
However...I ended up not caring that much for Dark Horses in the end. It would be spoilery to say exactly why, but I will say that I felt there was too much tragedy for one book. I just stopped caring. I also didn't like the development of the romantic relationship. It didn't make sense to me and just tossed aside what seemed to be an interesting issue. I also can't go into details about that without spoilers. Additionally, I thought Merritt and Carvin (a fellow rider) were idiots for not seeing what was coming at the end. Also, I liked Red's perspective less and less because it seemed increasingly not horsey which culminated, for me, in Red thinking something about texting. I mean, really?
So...promising start that didn't pan out for me. I wouldn't give up on von Ziegesar (I might try one of her other books, not having read Gossip Girl), but I just didn't like the whole package very much.