Two girls on opposite sides of the fence intertwine in this family film about both finding yourself and rising to the top to pursue your dreams.
Born with a curvature in her spine, all Jodie Brown wants is to live her dream of riding a horse. As for Bridget van Heusen, she is a wealthy child who has become national horse-riding champion. However, she always feels the pressure of being refined by her parents, who never cared about what she wants. When Jodie is given a chance to have surgery that could correct her balance, she takes it and goes through heavy physical therapy to be able to walk normally again.
Meanwhile, Bridget is still under constant pressure from her parents as her mother expects her to be the champion and go to college to study what she wants while her father is more into business than her daughter. One day, an upset Bridget reaches her breaking point and suffers a major accident. Meanwhile, Jodie begins to prove herself as a rider when she is invited to a ranch that serves as a rehab facility. As Bridget begins her recovery, she begins to find herself as she has grown tired of her parents’ negligence. What will happen when their paths cross?
This is quite a tale about success, failure, and rising above to succeed again in the eyes of two young women. One has a physical disability, and one has a sense of feeling neglected and under pressure all the time. One shows optimism, the other pessimism. However, when their paths cross on multiple occasions, the first is not met with greatness, but the bonding begins to improve little by little between the two once they end up in the same rehab facility at a local horse ranch.
The two leads are wonderful in their roles. Alexis Arnold’s Jodie shows much optimism throughout the film as despite having a disability, hopes to live her dream of riding horses for the sheer fun of it. She smiles even when she is faced with an obstacle and perseveres when she is given surgery that will allow her to begin walking normal again. As for Eva Igo’s Bridget, she comes off as bitter and mad at the world, but one can’t blame her. She is always forced to look good for her rich parents, especially her mother who even mocks Jodie at the first meeting. However, when Bridget finds herself in a similar situation to Jodie, she soon finds she has much more in common with Jodie as she imagines.
Tom Vera’s Coach Jimmy is quite a major character as we see him go through his own personal tragedy with the loss of his wife and young daughter. However, he proves to be more of a father figure to Bridget than her own parents and it’s clear she can trust him. It is when Jimmy also meets a young girl who was saved by having his daughter’s heart that he finds the strength within him to find a reason for happiness again as he is seen as a hero in the young girl’s eyes, something he never felt having to deal with old mode Bridget. He even goes as far as finally trying to get through to Bridget’s parents to see that it is not about trophies and winning.
If I Could Ride is an amazing family film that may have a long runtime, but once you get into the film, it doesn’t feel like a two-and-a-half-hour movie. The two leads show off some great performances and could have some major careers if they continue to act and the stories are bound to leave you in tears, and I do mean happy tears.
WFG RATING: A+
Vision Films present a Welling Films production. Director: Shawn Welling. Producers: Shawn Welling and Don Miller. Writers: Don Miller, Robert Jauregui, and Nathan Carliner Goldman. Cinematography: Duncan Johnson. Editing: Shawn Welling.
Cast: Alexis Arnold, Eva Igo, Tom Vera, Ursula Boutwell, Michael Anthony Coppola, Rhyleigh Russell, Jeff Kavy, Hawk Meisenbach, Todd G. Hutchison.