Quartz Creek Ranch

I co-wrote the QUARTZ CREEK RANCH series of middle-grade books (for ages 9-12) with the talented Amber J. Keyser. Each book of the series follows one girl on the ranch for the summer, with her own unique story and set of challenges—and the horse who helps her through them.

Every summer, the gates of Quartz Creek Ranch swing open for kids in trouble. Under the watchful eyes of lifelong ranchers Willard and Etty Bridle, these ten to twelve-year-olds put their hands—and hearts—to good use, herding cattle, tending the garden, harvesting hay, and caring for animals. Aided by two teenage horse trainers, the kids must forge a bond with their therapy horses, grow beyond the mistakes that brought them to the ranch, and face unique challenges in the rugged Colorado rangeland.

book cover featuring blond girl with glasses leading dapple gray horse

Hanna is terrified a horses—which makes Quartz Creek Ranch the worst kind of punishment. Until she meets the beautiful grey gelding, Shy Guy… who’s just as terrified of people. Can girl and horse help each other learn to trust again?

Shy Girl & Shy Guy




Black girl with big braid and tall black horsePaley is addicted to the online videogame, Dragonfyre. When her parents send her to Quartz Creek Ranch, away from the computer, everything’s bound to go wrong. Until Paley meets the beautiful, proud horse Prince—who challenges her at every turn.

One Brave Summer



biracial girl with helmet on paint horse

Ella has a temper just like her father, and a perfectionist streak a mile wide. When rocket horse Figure Eight isn’t the perfect, obedient mount she had hoped, Ella will have to reach out to the quiet, shy Jordan for help learning how to go fast like she wants.

At Top Speed



Tall white girl with long hair and pony

Rivka wants nothing to do with her Jewish heritage after that terrible day last year. But she can’t escape it even at horse camp, where the history of Jewish pioneers still lingers. Rivka will have to summon the courage to face where she comes from to help save her friend.

The Long Trail Home



As two gals who also loved horses when we were young (and still do!), Amber and I wanted to bring our shared background as horse-lovin’ cowgirls on the frontier to stories about friendship, love, and learning. We’re so thrilled to have worked with Darby Creek, an imprint of Lerner Books, to bring this series to kids everywhere!

Kiersi Burkhart on a horse at 12 years old

Here’s me at twelve, riding in a pole-bending event.