Gina and the Mustang
Reading Comprehension Activity

Gina was told she and her family would be going to her uncle’s ranch in Montana for summer vacation. She was mad she had to go until she saw the beautiful mustang. After reading the passage, students will respond to questions on the facts of the story and the plot.

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“I don’t want to go.” Gina shuffled her feet and hung her shoulders.

Mom continued packing a bag. “We’re going to Uncle Rich’s in Montana for summer vacation. He’s Dad’s brother, and we go every year.”

Gina stormed out of her mother’s room. “Nobody ever thinks of me!”

“That’s enough. We’re going,” replied Mom sternly.

Their August vacation came sooner than Gina wanted. Before she knew it, she and the family were at Uncle Rich’s ranch. Uncle Rich grabbed her dad and hugged him. “Good to see you,” said Uncle Rich.

Gina’s brother and sister were twins and two years younger, so they didn’t realize what an inconvenience and bore being on a ranch was. They raced to the barn to see the animals.

Gina grabbed her bag. “I’m going to my room,” she told her parents.

“Wait a minute, Gina,” said Uncle Rich. “I’ve got something to show you.”

Gina watched as Uncle Rich winked at her father. “You come too,” he said to Gina’s parents.

At the corral Gina saw the horse. It was chestnut with large white patches on it. It had a wide white patch that ran down the center of its face. Its tail and mane were white. Gina fell in love. “Wow! What a horse.”

“He’s a mustang,” said Uncle Rich. “Mustangs are free-roaming horses who live in the wild. This one’s colored like a Pinto. We found him stuck in the mud down by the creek. Don’t know how he got there. My foreman and I roped him and managed to get him out.”

“What’s a Pinto?” asked Gina.

“They’re a spotted breed. Some of them look like Dalmatians. This mustang is a beauty.”

Gina kicked the dirt. “Can I help care for him?”

Uncle Rich laughed. “You bet. The more hands we have the better. Just don’t get too attached. Once we’re sure he’s okay, we’ll let him loose. Mustangs went from over a million at the beginning of the 20th century to less than 17,000 in 1970. They were hunted for meat.”

Gina felt her stomach turn. “That’s terrible.”

“It’s better now,” said Uncle Rich. “The government came to the rescue. There are around 50,000 now.”

Still holding her bag, Gina raced to her room. She kicked off her sneakers and pulled on the boots that Uncle Rich kept in the closet for her. She was back in a flash. She went to the fence and stepped on the first rung. The mustang strolled over to her. Gina put her hand on his forehead. The mustang wiggled his head back then jetted off.

At that moment, Gina knew she wanted to become a large animal veterinarian . . . and she was now glad she came to the ranch.

Comprehension Questions

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