In Michael Korda's new book, he examines a world he knows intimately - the world of people obsessed with horses - girls and ponies; show horses and eventing; the wealthy and racing thoroughbreds; wild horses; and the sturdy work horse.
The human love affair with horses is an ancient one. They occupy a unique position in our world - too large to be house pets, though beloved by children, and historically instruments of war and commerce. These powerful and gentle creatures, almost an impossible mixture of delicacy, size, fragility and enormous intelligence are the obsession of millions of people around the world today, whether by vocation or avocation.
Michael Korda has spent his entire life around people who love horses, in fact, he met his wife Margaret during daily rides in Central Park, and in the pages of this book he introduces us to people like Rita Dee, who lived in her barn with her two children and the horses for one whole winter because she'd completed the stable before she'd completed the house.
Or Bill Steinkraus, the thrall of whose individual Olympic gold medal for horsemanship led Dick Snyder to hire him (briefly) as an editor: "An individual gold? I'll bet there isn't another house in town with a sports editor that has an Olympic gold medal. Not even Knopf or Farrar, Straus."
Korda visits the Archer City Rodeo with favourite Archer son Larry McMurtry and follows the hounds with members of the hunt in Virginia. But the appeal of the horse is not just an upper-crust phenomenon - you can find horses in backyards in Queens, in garden shacks in Fishkill and in somebody's garage, in a row of houses that's maybe half a mile from a shopping mall and a short walk from an old-age home and a car-wash.
Horses have a way of taking over your life, and 'Horse People' is the story of that possession - of people who love horses, or know horses, or make their living out of horses,or who just can't imagine what life would be like without horses.
Korda is an unparalleled storyteller and the writing in this new book is intensely personal and seductive. Even those who have never ridden will be willing to saddle up and follow him through the world of people obsessed with horses.