the works of Dick Francis
horses also have their place in literature. Special interviews
in The Jumping Game feature the internationally acclaimed
mystery writer Dick Francis, writer/novelist Rita Mae Brown and
Pulitzer prize-winning poet Maxine Kumin.
a champion British steeplechase jockey before retiring to write
more than 40 books and novels set in the racing world, remembers
well the satisfaction of coming in first: "It's lovely to
be riding a good horse into a fence and knowing about 20 or 30
yards out that he's meeting it right, and you swing him along,
keep that stride going, and he takes off a long way back and lands
a long way the other side of the fence.
Your colleges who might be up along side of you or close behind...if
you can get a length off them on every fence...that means you've
got about 12 lengths for them to make up at the end. It's a great
Mae Brown is perhaps best known for her "Mrs. Murphy"
series of mystery novels, where cats and dogs and horses do the
investigating. Brown is also a fox hunt enthusiast and Hunt Master:
"At the end of a day's fox hunting, everybody's blood is
so up, I can see absolutely why that was the start of steeplechasing.
I guess in a way it's probably as close to a cavalry charge as
you'll get, without the bullets flying at you."
prize-winning poet Maxine
Kumin says she has written, "...so many poems about horses,
it's kind of obscene," and says that, "They're such
an integral part of our lives now, I would not know how to behave
if I didn't have the discipline of taking care of horses to frame
my day, to start it and to end it and always to worry in between.
A day without horses... would be a lost day for me."
Addendum to writers
Peter Winants and with
Joe Clancy Jr. have written the definitive history of steeplechasing.
This book, Steeplechasing:
The Complete History of the Sport in North America is
featured in The Jumping Game.
And Sean Clancy has
also sequed from the saddle into print with a behind-the-scenes