Here’s What People Are Saying About RAJA, Story of a Racehorse
“An outstanding debut novel for young people.”
—Kirkus starred review
“This is a very very good book. It’s definitely one of my favorite horse books – and I have read a lot of them!….. It’s heartbreaking at times but also wonderful at others. I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it!”
“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great Thoroughbred, my favorite breed.”
—Michael Matz, Hall of Fame Show Jumper, Olympic medalist and trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro
Q and A with Anne
Have you always wanted to be an author?
No, I never set out to become an author. Actually, it was my horses (all ex-racehorses working on their third and fourth careers) who told me Raja’s story. During early morning chores in the barn, I’d listen to them nickering for their feed and munching their hay and I’d think about where they started out, the lives they’d led and where they are now. Soon, I found myself mulling over character names and story lines for a book. As I spread lime over a damp patch, opened a bag of shavings or scrubbed a water bucket, I’d be thinking, “Music — that’s what he responds to!” or “A whorl! Of course, he needs a special whorl!”
What are your favorite books and movies about horses?
When I was a horse crazy kid, I read Black Beauty eleven times. I had a contest with my best friend to see who could read it the most times. I won. I also loved National Velvet, the Black Stallion series, everything by Marguerite Henry, My Friend Flicka and The Green Grass of Wyoming by Mary O’Hara and, of course, Seabiscuit. I have a collection of Dick Francis books and think I’ve read every book he has written. My favorite horse movies are “The Man from Snowy River,” “National Velvet” and “Into the West”. I just saw “War Horse” and loved it!
Did you grow up in a horsey family?
My mother grew up in England’s famous hunt country, so it’s not surprising that she loved horses. She rode in “powder puff” races (races for women before we could ride with men) in the 1950’s and 60’s, including one at the racetrack in Nassau in the Bahamas! I think I got my love of riding fast and jumping fences from her. When I was eight, we moved to a farm where we had horses, so my brothers and I rode a lot (and practised trick riding) with our friends. We also had sheep, cows, a goat, chickens and guinea hens.
What do enjoy more, eventing or steeplechasing?
Steeplechasing! It’s the most fun thing you can ever imagine.
What horses live on your farm in Vermont?
All my horses are Thoroughbred retired racehorses and they all raced over fences. You’ll recognize their names from reading RAJA, as I borrowed their personalities for the book. Holzmann is my retired timber horse. Salute the News, Rather Be, Notable Contender and Should Expect are learning to be event horses. You can see some of their pictures at Inside Raja’s World.