Grand Theft Horse is the fascinating true story of Gail Ruffu, a racehorse trainer who rebelled against the inhumane treatment of the horse she co-owned, and the legal, emotional, and financial hardships she braved to ensure the horse’s safety.
Ruffu’s childhood love of horses is demonstrated via flashbacks throughout the book. That love soon grows into actual jobs working with horses. Though Ruffu is briefly sidetracked with marriage, she returns to horse training and eventually gets involved as co-owner of Urgent Envoy, a horse she identifies as having great potential.
Ruffu’s training methods, designed for racing success and the horse’s long-term health, eschew the heavy drug loads and early starts that burden many horses. Her philosophy soon leads to conflict with the horse’s co-owners, who use their expert knowledge of the law, and Ruffu’s own naïveté, to take the horse from her. Ruffu resorts to sneaking the horse from his stable and hiding him to protect him from his profit-driven owners, resulting in the legal charge that gives the book its title.
Neri spins a captivating tale about the horse-racing world. Just as importantly, Wilkin’s art captures the dynamic qualities of the animals themselves, as well as the emotions and attitudes of the people involved in racing. Animal lovers will adore the book, even if its depictions of the mistreatment of horses prove troubling at times. Grand Theft Horse is an inspirational tale, demonstrating the universal moral of standing up for one’s beliefs, even if there’s a steep price.
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