thoroughbred

The Head and Not The Heart: An Interview with Natalie Reinert

“Our lives as horsepeople are exciting and sorrowful and wonderful and tragic on a daily basis, and I want to write about that.” — Natalie Keller Reinert

Natalie Keller Reinert is the author of the novella The Head and Not The Heart, a story about a young woman who experiences loss and romantic confusion in the horse world. The heroine, Alex, lives and works on a Thoroughbred breeding and training farm in Florida with her boyfriend, Alexander, who’s a respected race trainer. After losing two young horses that were dear to both of them, Alex begins to question her involvement in the business and her relationship with Alexander. Alex takes a trip to New York City to check out a new horse and finds much more than she expected.

Natalie took a moment away from writing about OTTBs at the Retired Racehorse and working with horses in Central Park for the NYC Parks Department (what a job!) to answer a few questions about her first book.
                                                      — Kristin Berkery

Lava Man at Del Mar Racetrack in 2006. Photo by Matt Brockmeyer

What personality traits do you have in common with Alex? How are you different?Alex and I are both dreamers. Dreamers that pursue their dreams relentlessly… but keep dreaming new dreams all the time. And never forget their old ones. Getting pulled in multiple directions: that’s our biggest problem. I’m a city girl with a country passion; that’s hard to reconcile.
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What is an OTTB?

An OTTB is a brave soul, an animal with movement in his bones, an athlete of tremendous power; but most of all, an OTTB is a horse to love.

I’m honored to welcome author Natalie Reinert of the Retired Racehorse Blog as ilovehorses.net‘s first guest blogger. One of Natalie’s passions is Off-the-Track-Thoroughbreds, or retired racehorses that go on to other careers. Check out Natalie’s novel The Head and Not the Heart, which has 5 stars on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. — Kristin Berkery

by Natalie Reinert

Neville Bardos, an OTTB who avoided slaughter and survived a barn fire, pictured with Boyd Martin. He is a possible candidate for the 2012 U.S. Olympic equestrian team. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld/USEA

You’ve heard of OTTBs, of course. You have a friend with a friend who bought a horse off the track. She told you they’re those hot, crazy, fire-breathing dragons you see leaping onto their owner’s heads at horse shows. They’re those mad, spooky animals that take off when a branch snaps beneath a hoof, turning a trail ride into a tantrum. They’re those fragile, sensitive beasts that break out in hives when they’re touched by a butterfly.

But wait, that can’t be the whole story. OTTBs are making the news these days, from the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge to the high-profile stories on miracle horses like Neville Bardos, the Australian OTTB whose will to not just live but get back to work as a 4* event horse has made headlines in equine and mass media.

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The Akhal Teke: Desert Horse To Olympic Champion and Back Again

by Kristin Berkery

>> Download the complete 1,400-word article for Kindle

Horse and rider in native Turkoman costume, date and photographer unknown

Horse and rider in native Turkoman costume, date and photographer unknown

Absent, foaled in 1952 and winner of three Olympic medals. Photographer unknown

Excerpt: This summer marks 52 years since one of the most unusual horses first competed at the Summer Olympics in Rome. Absent, a striking black Akhal Teke stallion with four white socks and a star, introduced the world to a little-known ancient breed when he won a gold medal in dressage for the Soviet Union. He returned to the Olympics two more times for an individual bronze medal in 1964 and a team gold medal in 1968, both in dressage.
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Favorite Horse News from January

by Kristin Berkery

I wasn’t able to post on ilovehorses.net as often in January because I have some exciting publishing opportunities I’m working on. I’m still active on Twitter and Facebook almost every business day, sharing horse-related news and photos from around the world. Here are a few of my favorite stories from the last few weeks.

Cavalia
Similar to Cirque du Soleil, Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Human and Horse is an artistic celebration of horses. It features 45 horses from 10 different breeds as they do amazing feats and interact with the human performers. Currently in Seattle until February 19, the show is moving to St. Louis beginning March 14.

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A Real-Life War Horse: *Witez II’s Journey Into History

by Kristin Berkery

And Miles To Go
by Linell Nash Smith

The two world wars have been fodder for many filmmakers, but there’s a compelling story from that era that’s fallen between the cracks. And Miles To Go by Linell Nash Smith documents the life of the Arabian stallion *Witez II from his foaling in Poland the year before the Nazi invasion to his life as a celebrity sire in the U.S.

First published in 1967 by Little, Brown and Company, And Miles To Go was reprinted in 1986 by the Arabian Horse Trust during a time when the Arabian business was still flush with cash. After the crash of the Arabian market, the book was never reprinted. The Arabian Horse Trust closed its doors in 2000.

The Polish family portrayed in Witez’s early life is fictional, but the author stayed true to the events that were happening in Poland. Other key characters who interacted with Witez (pronounced vee-TEZH) during his journeys were real people.

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