Gail Ruffu, a woman of Creole descent, grew up with a love of horses and later took a stand against their abuse.
This biography focuses on Gail, an Air Force brat raised in various parts of the U.S. and, later, Europe, where she received a formal education in horse riding and training. She eventually returned to America and became a respected trainer in the world of thoroughbred racing. Known for her unconventional methods, Gail became part owner and trainer of the racehorse Urgent Envoy. After it became clear that Urgent Envoy was injured and would become another casualty of a profit-driven industry that often turned a blind eye to cruel practices, Gail took matters into her own hands. Spiriting Urgent Envoy away to a secret location one Christmas Eve, she began living as an outlaw and eventually suffered legal consequences for her humanitarian choice. The pen-and-ink illustrations vividly capture the drama of this riveting tale that will provoke readers to ponder the ethics of our treatment of animals who suffer for human entertainment as well as the actions of a woman who broke the law to stand up for her principles and the horse she loved.
Amid the strife and sadness there are moments of joy and passion, and the message of standing up for your convictions makes this a necessary tale. (Nonfiction graphic novel. 12-18)