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Here you will find reviews of, selections from, and commentaries concerning books, many of which don't even appear on Amazon's radar. But what goldmines for the literate foxhunter!

Foxhunting Forever

Last month FHL published Ema Klugman’s winning entry in the United States Pony Club annual Hildegard Neill Ritchie Joys of Foxhunting Writing Contest for 2010. Her excellent poem Foxhunt has since passed from the Home Page, but can be found under the Horse and Hound drop-down menu by clicking on Literature.

This month, we bring you Maria Filsinger’s well-written entry, Foxhunting Forever, which was awarded second place in this year’s contest. As one of the contest judges, I liked how Maria tied age to youth as it relates to the continuum of foxhunting.

The Simple Game: An Irish Jockey's Memoir

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The Simple Game:

An Irish Jockey’s Memoir

by Thomas Foley

Foreword by Otto Thorwarth

Caballo Press of Ann Arbor Book, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2010, 163 pages, ISBN-13: 9780982476659

Thomas Foley was an empty-headed (by his account) seventeen-year-old when he came to America from Ireland to pursue a career in jump racing. This month he will be seen by millions of movie goers as he plays the part of Secretariat’s exercise boy in Walt Disney’s long-hyped movie about the great racehorse. Between the two events, which bracket a period of twelve or thirteen years, young Foley has experienced a bit of life.

Secretariat

Secretariat Book CoverSecretariat

by Raymond Wolfe

Updated Edition

Foreword by Ronald Turcotte

The Derrydale Press

224 pages, color

The toss of a coin determined the ownership of the foal that was to become the greatest racehorse ever bred. By losing the toss, Penny Chenery had to settle for the colt that was foaled the following year. When it finally arrived she named it Secretariat.

Some track pundits laughed when the big, fat colt with the ravenous appetite came to the track in training. He was even-tempered and relaxed but possessed a clownish streak. Trainer Lucien Laurin teamed him up with Gold Bag who "wasn’t much of a hoss" according to the grooms, but Gold Bag still worked faster than Secretariat. Then one early morning the youngster flashed by and trainer Lucien Laurin looked at his stopwatch in disbelief.

Horse Tales and Hunt Talk

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Horse Tales and Hunt Talk: The Life and Times of 31 Equestrians in Ireland, America, France and Australia, Noel Mullins, NDM Publications, Ireland, 2006, Hard Cover, 171 pages, 37 Euros, www.noelmullins.com. See special Christmas offer at end of article.

Where else but in the hunting fields of Ireland could you have found such larger-than-life and totally disparate characters as Lady Molly Cusack-Smith, Elsie Morgan, American John Huston, and Thady Ryan? Sadly, those four have passed on, but others---Michael Dempsey, Willie Leahy, and Aidan O’Connell---wear big shoes as well and are very much with us still! Also included in this delightful book of personality profiles are North America’s Nancy Penn-Smith Hannum and a smattering of French and Australian characters whom you should also meet.

Photo-journalist Noel Mullins is a regular contributor to The Irish Field, and his work has also been published in Horse and Hound, Baily’s, Hunting and Country Illustrated in England, and The Chronicle of the Horse and Foxhunting Life in the U.S.

"I started hunting with the Galway Blazers with Michael Dempsey when I was eight years old in 1952 on the milkman’s pony, Teapot, but only after I helped him on his delivery rounds!" recalls Mullins.