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Authors: Anne Hambleton

Raja, Story of a Racehorse

BOOK: Raja, Story of a Racehorse
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“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great thoroughbred, my favorite breed.”

—Michael Matz, Show Jumping Hall of Fame, Olympic medalist,
Trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro

In a quest to fulfill his destiny, Raja bounds from race-track to fox hunt, city police work, and steeplechase, in an adventure that slowly reveals itself to be a love story. Young equestrians will be thrilled by this fine story.

—Alex Prud'homme,
author of
The Ripple Effect
and co-author of
My Life in France

“A page turning adventure.”

“The voice of an animal is not the easiest of genres to master but Hambleton's lifetime spent with horses gives her an insider's perspective to the psyche of horses of all personality types.”

“Readers will want to devour chapter after chapter to see what's next for her extraordinary horse. The book is a natural for young equestrians but as its plot is universal, good versus evil.”

—The HORSE of Delaware Valley

“Anne Hambleton's enchanting book is fiction, but it might in actuality be true. There is a dark, hidden secret behind the surface glamour of thoroughbred racing. Once a racehorse, especially a gelding, proves insufficient on the racetrack, it becomes unwanted, unappreciated, and unlikely to find a safe harbor. Such is Raja's fate. One moment, a pampered darling, the next a reject throwaway who spirals down, down, down, through a series of failed second chances, until he's face to face with the saddest reality of all, the kill pen at the last chance auction.”

“How he is miraculously saved, and how he struggles back to reach the pinnacle of another racing world is the climax of this ultimately uplifting story of destiny lost and destiny regained.”

“Raja” is an authentic story. Most authors haven't ridden what they write. Anne Hambleton has. She knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post of the Maryland Hunt Cup, and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall.”

—Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame Three Day Event rider/trainer, Olympian,
Author of
How Good Riders get Good

“Captivating read! Anne has done an amazing job of putting the reader inside Raja's mind. She takes you on a wild ride through Raja's incredible (but still believable) journey into the varied disciplines that a thoroughbred could take. Very fun read and a great peek into the inner workings of the extreme equestrian sports world. A must read for any aspiring equestrian!”

—Blythe Miller Davies, Two-time National Steeplechase Champion,
Winner of the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup

“Hambleton is a horsewoman who knows all the disciplines intimately, and Raja's adventures unfold believably and with authority. The characters in the story—both animal and human—are well-crafted, and we care about them.”

“This is a wonderful book. I read it through in two nights, much of the time with a lump in my throat because it is a well-crafted and well-told story of triumph over adversity—the necessary ingredients of any great story.”

—Norman Fine –
Foxhunting Life

“I come from a racing background and this book is very authentic! Great book for children and adults! (It's) nice to read a horse's point of view!”

—Georganne Hale, Director of Racing, Maryland Jockey Club

“Captivating…and inspiring, it will make you cheer!”

—George Grayson, Chairman, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

To Dave, the most patient man in the world
and to “the boys”: Shaddy, Holzmann,
Rather Be, Noco, Salute and Seamus, who all have stories to tell.

Copyright ©2011 by Anne Hambleton

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely coincidental

First published in the United States of America in December, 2011

By Old Bow Publishing

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions,

Old Bow Publishing

1816 Morgan Horse Farm Road

Weybridge, VT 05753

Illustrations by Margaret Kauffman

Cover Photo by Cappy Jackson

Book design by Sally Stetson

Text set in Bembo

Printed in the U.S.A., First Edition

Publisher's Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hambleton, Anne

Raja, Story of a Racehorse/by Anne Hambleton; with illustrations by Margaret Kauffman.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-615-54029-0

[1. Horses—Fiction. 2. Horse Racing—Fiction. 3. Horse Shows—Fiction.]

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011942177



Table of Contents

1. Mark of the Chieftain

2. Youngbloods

3. Road to the Roses

4. Jumpers

5. The “A” Circuit

6. Change of Fortune

7. The Man in the Cowboy Hat

8. Ten Foot Cop

9. The Ice Storm

10. The Murphys

11. Timber!

12. The Big Sticks

13. Last Saturday in April


The Mark of the Chieftain

September, Ocala, Florida


I could tell something was wrong by the way Princess Ayesha walked wearily across the field toward me, hunched over as she clutched a yellow shawl tightly around her slender frame. A row of glass bangles on her arm stood out cheerfully in a burst of color against the cloudy, grey sky, at odds with the deep sadness I could feel coming from her. She looked tired — defeated, somehow. Her long, glossy black hair, normally brushed neatly, was now loose and uncontrolled, messily framing her tear-stained face. She patted me softly and burst into tears. Her shoulders trembled as she sobbed into my neck, sniffing and hugging me. Putting my head close to hers, I nudged her gently with my nose.

What is it? Why are you so sad?

I heard the gate to the field open once more and looked up to see Bob walking stiffly toward us with an uncharacteristic look of distress on his face, his yellow baseball cap in his hands. He stopped as he reached us and raised a leathery hand to his head in an unconscious gesture, smoothing his straw colored hair. Looking down at his well-worn cowboy boots, he reached into the back pocket of his jeans, pulled out a red bandana and wiped his forehead with it before clearing his throat.

“Princess Ayesha, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say. The news about the terrorist bombing is terrible. I feel so bad for the families of the people who were killed.”

He paused to clear his throat and began again quietly in his deep, soothing voice, as if he were talking to a nervous foal. “Crazy people do crazy things, and then other people do even crazier things. Nothing like this has ever happened in this country before — all those people gone.”

Princess Ayesha sniffed, keeping her fingers twisted into my mane. “Father says that I have to go back home, that it's not safe for me here.”

“Some people just want someone to blame. And even though you're not from the same country…well…some people don't care. It's insane. People do terrible things to each other — and to horses, too, for that matter. I don't understand evil. But it's out there, no doubt about that.”

Bob reached out to pat my neck. “I know you'll miss the horses and Raja, especially. Don't worry. We'll take good care of him. You'd better get inside. We're gonna get some weather. There's a tornado watch in effect. I just heard on the radio that the storm will reach us in about an hour. Are you all set in the big house if we lose power? The generators should be working. They were tested last week. I'm sure the house staff has everything ready.”

BOOK: Raja, Story of a Racehorse
13.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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