Synopses & Reviews
- This is an inside look at a multibillion-dollar industry dominated by the world's wealthiest and most powerful families.- It will be published in time for the Triple Crown season.- This book is a natural for the leaders of Vicki Hearne, Stephen Budiansky, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and Laura Hillenbrand.
"A groom to a horse is 'what the combined services of physical therapist, manager, counselor, assistant, and chaperone would be to an NBA star,' says Nusser, formerly a groom, who follows three grooms in the rarefied, high-stakes world of horse breeding and competition. Kenneth Burns has for years been handling Belmont Stakes winner A.P. Indy, one of the highest paid stud stallions at the exclusive Lane's End farm in Kentucky. Nusser explores the realities of the profession, at times in too much detail: e.g., A.P. Indy's fee is $300,000, and he is 'booked to almost a hundred mares for a breeding season that starts in February and ends in July.' In 1996, one study valued the horse industry at $25.3 billion, close to the film industry. Grooms, however, don't often make much money and work six- or even seven-day weeks. While Kenneth Burns views his work as a job, Samantha Burton, the center of the book and groom for an Olympic gold medalist in a competition called Three-Day Eventing, understands the gestalt of horses: 'Sam is no more able to articulate why she loves her horses than most people are able to articulate why they love their children.' Brooke Lowe is a groom who burns out, realizing that she'd rather teach and ride. Nusser interweaves the history of horse domestication, speculating on the myth of centaurs and the horse's prey-driven sensitivities. For those in the horse world, this book will add to the lore and knowledge; for the general reader, however, the book only briefly raises disturbing questions about privilege and the human-horse relationship without answering them. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Nusser explores a year in the lives of three grooms, all working with champion thoroughbreds, interweaving stable lore, horse mythology, animal behavior, and meditations on the precise nature of the intense bond between humans and horses.