“No one’s past saving.”

Faith-based films come with an assortment of story lines. Some about life challenges, some about animals, some about music, and some about sports.  “A Champion Heart” (originally A Horse From Heaven) concerns a horse with what his former owner, Zoey, thinks is a defect—he has a partial left ear. Because of this not so appealing appearance, he is no longer deemed fit for the champion’s stable, and is taken to a horse rescue farm. Unpredictable and obstinate, he needs someone he can trust. 

The film begins with this brown and white horse (Rocky) in the enclosure of Grace Equine Sanctuary. Almost stomping the owner, Diane (Donna Rusch), after she gets into the enclosure with him. One of the hands thinks the horse would be impossible to save. Whereas she replies, “No one’s past saving.” Fast forward to a father (David de Vos) and daughter, Mandy (Mandy Grace) driving to Sunset Valley, where they move into a trailer park. Her father tells her it is only temporary. Times are quite difficult; Mandy’s mother passed away a year ago, and her father was downsized with the company.

At the new school Mandy meets a group of rich girls; the leader of the pack is Zoey (Isabella Mancuso). Upon invitation, Mandy opts going to Zoey’s house for a study group and ends up riding quad runners. Zoey purposely bumps Mandy who loses control and speeds onto the property of the horse rescue ranch, destroying a small shed, its contents and hurting herself. Zoey and her crew leave Mandy stuck with the consequences and the bill. The next day Diane and her father come to an agreement Mandy will work at the ranch to pay off the $1000 debt for damages. Mandy is very angry and disgusted about this entire ordeal. To which she tells her father, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this. It’s humiliating.”

Diane notices that Mandy uses anger as a way of dealing with the hurt of losing her mom. Diane invites Mandy into her office and shows her pictures when she was a champion rider and tells her about her eight year old daughter, Abby Joy, who she lost to leukemia. Telling her she was mad at the leukemia and she was mad at God. Letting her know she understood how she felt. But that she also understands that in God’s plan she will see her daughter again and Mandy will see her mother if they have the faith to believe. Also working at the ranch is Brad (Devan Key,), the popular boy at school who Mandy first met in Chemistry class. They become friends and find their backgrounds are similar.

While doing her farm chores, Mandy meets Rocky and changes his name to Tux. With apple in hand they soon become fast friends. Donna offers to give Mandy riding lessons. This is where the story takes a positive turn and is more fun to watch, with antics on the farm; the healing of emotional and physical wounds as Mandy hones her riding skills with the horse Tux.

Diane prepares Mandy to ride in the local competition where Zoey is the sure winner. However, Zoey is the antagonist who is the epitome of spoiled little rich girl with a nasty disposition. Once Mandy starts working on the horse farm Zoey tries everything she can to exasperate her and snatch away the self-confidence she is starting to find. You will have to watch the movie to see how it all turns out.

A damaged and misunderstood horse meets a girl with a damaged and misunderstood heart, forming a friendship and bond that heals them both. Teaching us the heart of a champion is not in the win, but in the windows of our hearts. There is nothing, through God’s help, that cannot be fixed and there is no one past being saved.

A Champion Heart was originally released in 2018, is 90 min and rated G. A Champion Heart is now available for digital download on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD, and on DVD at Target, Walmart and Family Video and can also be seen on Netflix.

Director: David de Vos.
Writers: David de VosStephanie de Vos.
Stars: Mandy GraceDevan KeyDonna Rusch and Isabella Mancuso.

We give A Champion Heart

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

© Rhema International. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rhema International.

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