Life on one of the nation’s foremost horse-breeding farms meticulously rendered in loving detail and set against the ominous backdrop of an uncertain economy.
It’s a good thing thoroughbred racehorses are such remarkably beautiful creatures, because as Nusser (English/Carroll Coll.; In Service to the Horse: Chronicles of a Labor of Love, 2004) so adeptly illustrates, they are a handful. The risks involved in caring for these fragile beasts are myriad, while the rewards are fleeting. A tanking economy has only further trimmed the odds, and even the sport of kings has been forced to tighten its money belt. The author’s main subject is Taylor Made farms in Nicholasville, Ky., one of the nation’s most successful horse-breeding operations. Bringing a novelist’s descriptive prowess to her reporting, Nusser provides a fascinating tour for the uninitiated, who will learn plenty, whether following a fledging veterinarian up to her armpit in a mare’s hindquarters or a veteran groom running down a wayward colt. In fact, the book may even be an eye-opener for veteran horse enthusiasts. The author also brings her discerning eye to the employees of Taylor Made, who are no less compelling than their equine charges. After all, it is the drive and dreams of these Kentucky horsemen and women that keep the bluegrass barns going year-round, as well as the very human hope that at least of few of their foals will grow up to be champions.
An absorbing look inside the daily lives of both the people and animals powering the exciting world of thoroughbred racing.