Aug 18, 2019

Finding My Distance

A Year in the Life of a Three-Day Event Rider
by Julia Wendell

Daily journal of a horsewoman, she and her husband owned a farm in Maryland. There are racehorses, and retired racehorses turned to show jumping or breeding, but her main focus is three-day eventing which entails dressage, steeplechase and show jumping. Seems a very demanding sport for one horse to learn but I gather that's the point- it requires skill, finesse, endurance and guts. Some of the jumps are set up specifically to test how brave a horse (and rider) can be. The author tells about her daily challenges and struggles, not only with the horses, their training and constant upkeep- especially dealing with injuries, wow the legs seem to need a lot of attention- but also with her family, her grown children (one newly off to college and the other travelling India), her poetry-readings (she includes some of the poems in this book), and just life in general. Coming to the sport late, in middle age, she relates the learning curve, working with different instructors, trying to build up her confidence, and all the hard choices that come with keeping and showing horses. It's always one thing after another and there's lots of discouragement but her passion for it blazes through. It's rather strange to read a book written so intimately about a world so different from my own- and yet with striking familiarity- I live the next state over and know the locality. I've even driven on the road past Morven Park- but without any reason to ever go in. I like reading about it for the glimpse of it all- but I bet this book would really be loved by anyone in the horse world. It feels so honest and real.

I found there's a sequel, Come to the X, which I'd also like to read- particularly I want to know what happened with several of the author's horses and how her progression went in the sport. You can read a sample of her writing style here.

Rating: 3/5              399 pages, 2009

1 comment:

  1. I think the way we breed horses causes a lot of their leg problems. I like intimate books like this.


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