Young Reader Fiction Emphasizes New Lives for Horses off the Racetrack

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July 10, 2013 -- Linda Snow McLoon’s Brookmeade Young Riders Series (Trafalgar Square Books, www.horseandriderbooks.com) has earned critical praise for its emphasis on hard work and good horsemanship, as well as its authentic representation of the challenges an ambitious young equestrian can face in world of riding stable drama. McLoon’s first two books in the series, Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged, also take on a number of important social issues, including emphasizing an awareness of the incredible potential of horses retired from racing and giving them a fresh start and a new life. McLoon, a lifelong horsewoman, created the characters to reflect her own devotion to finding and retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds.

“Crown Prince comes to Sarah Wagner from the racetrack,” explains McLoon. “Over the years, I’ve rescued a number of horses off the track. I found that one of the most satisfying aspects of owning horses was to help those Thoroughbreds make the transition from racehorse to sport horse. Their high intelligence, sensitivity and athleticism make them good candidates to learn new ways and eventually excel in the show ring, eventing world, dressage, and even competitive trail riding. The fact they’ve been selectively bred for speed for over three centuries makes them the superior athletes we see all over the world today.

“One of my favorite OTTBs was a lovely bay gelding I bought at the Saratoga Horses of Racing Age sale,” McLoon remembers. “Watching the horses being walked before going into the sales arena, I was taken with his large intelligent eyes, overall quality, and that he walked as straight as an arrow. I found myself bidding on this horse, dueling it out with one other bidder before I could take this fellow home. I later discovered he was a well-bred horse who had been purchased for a high price tag as a yearling and traveled to England to train for turf racing. Sold once again, he came back to Belmont Park, but after only starting in one race, he developed an abscess in his neck, which took a long time to heal. With so many other racing prospects, his owner decided to cull him from his string and place him in the auction. The horse I came to call ‘Grand Luxe’ always had the small indentation in his neck, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a children’s hunter champion.

“So many ex-horses have gone on be successful in other careers after their racing days were over. Thankfully today there are many organizations that place these horses in good hands after the racetrack.”

You can find out how Sarah Wagner comes to find Crown Prince, her dream horse, at the track, and how Sarah must fight to keep him, in the first two books of the Brookmeade Young Riders Series: Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged, available now at the TSB online bookstore (www.horseandriderbooks.com).

In Maine this summer? You can meet Linda Snow McLoon at the Books in Boothbay Summer Book Fair, Saturday, July 13, 2013! Visit lindasnowmcloon.com for more information.