NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion, the remarkable story of the heroic rescue of priceless horses in the closing days of World War II In the chaotic last days of the war, a small troop of battle-weary American soldiers captures a German spy and makes an astonishing find—his briefcase is empty but for photos of beautiful white horses that have been stolen and kept on a secret farm behind enemy lines. Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebreds in order to breed the perfect military machine—an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food. With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision—with General George Patton’s blessing—to mount a covert rescue operation. Racing against time, Reed’s small but determined force of soldiers, aided by several turncoat Germans, steals across enemy lines in a last-ditch effort to save the horses. Pulling together this multistranded story, Elizabeth Letts introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters: Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic medalist who is forced to flee the bomb-ravaged Austrian capital with his entire stable in tow; Gustav Rau, Hitler’s imperious chief of horse breeding, a proponent of eugenics who dreams of genetically engineering the perfect warhorse for Germany; and Tom Stewart, a senator’s son who makes a daring moonlight ride on a white stallion to secure the farm’s surrender. A compelling account for animal lovers and World War II buffs alike, The Perfect Horse tells for the first time the full story of these events. Elizabeth Letts’s exhilarating tale of behind-enemy-lines adventure, courage, and sacrifice brings to life one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of human valor. Praise for The Perfect Horse “Winningly readable . . . Letts captures both the personalities and the stakes of this daring mission with such a sharp ear for drama that the whole second half of the book reads like a WWII thriller dreamed up by Alan Furst or Len Deighton. . . . The right director could make a Hollywood classic out of this fairy tale.”—The Christian Science Monitor “Letts, a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses.”—Kirkus Reviews
In the chaotic last days of World War II, a small troop of American soldiers captures a German spy and learns that on a secret farm behind enemy lines, Hitler has stockpiled the world's finest purebred horses in order to breed the perfect military machine -- an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food. With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army's last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision, with General George Patton's blessing, to mount a covert rescue operation.
"When a small troop of American soldiers capture a German spy during World War II, they uncover an unexpected secret: Hitler has kidnapped the world's finest purebred horses and hidden them in a secret Czech breeding farm. But starving Russian troops are drawn closer, and the horses face the danger of being slaughtered for food. There is little time to spare, and Colonel Hank Reed and his soldiers must cross enemy lines to heroically save some of the world's most treasured animals. In this thrilling young readers' edition of her New York Times bestselling book, Elizabeth Letts highlights bravery in the face of incredible odds. This tale will shed light on a little-known piece of our past and speak to history fans and animal lovers of every age."--Back cover.
This easy-to-use and easy-to-understand guide teaches you how to bypass technical considerations and learn to see horses in a new light, fine-tuning your observation skills to recognize photo opportunities, and discovering how to take best advantage of them. Regardless of whether you use a film, digital, or video camera to shoot conformation, action, or art photos, you''ll benefit from chapters on choosing and controlling the background, working with natural light, communicating with the horse''s handler, and looking at the entire scene from the horse''s perspective. You''ll learn to circumvent common problems such as distortion (for example, when the horse''s head looks larger than its hindquarters), distracting background objects, camera shake, sun flare, and the "spaghetti approach" (the naive notion that taking lots of random pictures will result in a good one). Groves shows how to take portraits of people and horses together, and includes tips for taking your camera on the trail. With regard to action shots, you''ll learn how to adjust the shutter speed and anticipate the action in such specific events as jumping, reining, rail classes (Western pleasure, hunter hack), roping, barrel racing, team penning, and dressage. Since videos have become not only home movies but selling tools, a section is devoted to creating persuasive "moving" pictures.
After several visits to study Icelandic sagas, Nancy Brown returns to Iceland to search for the perfect Icelandic horse, one she can bring back to her Pennsylvania farm and make her own. To do so, she must become part of the country's tightly knit horse-breeding community, which can be wary of outsiders and extremely protective of the world-famous breed. In this clear-eyed, evocative account set against Iceland's austere and majestic landscape, she describes what makes Icelandic horses and their owners so distinctive. She also discovers her limitations as a horsewoman and learns much about what she is looking for-in a horse and in her life.
' "When you touch a Lipizzaner, you're touching history," Westerman was once told. His elegant book offers fascinating proof' Financial Times Frank Westerman explores the history of Lipizzaners, an extraordinary troop of pedigree horses bred as personal mounts for the Emperor of Austria-Hungary. Following the bloodlines of the stud book, he reconstructs the story of four generations of imperial steed as they survive the fall of the Habsburg Empire, two world wars and the insane breeding experiments conducted under Hitler, Stalin and Ceausescu. But what begins as a fairytale becomes a chronicle of the quest for racial purity. Carrying the reader across Europe, from imperial stables and stud farms to the controversial gene labs of today, Westerman asks, if animal breeders are so good at genetic engineering, why do attempts to perfect the human strain always end in tragedy?
Traces the story of a champion equine jumper and the Dutch farmer who rescued him from the slaughterhouse, recounting how the farmer discovered Snowman's jumping talents and trained him to compete against the world's thoroughbreds.
It is April 1945 and the world's most prized horses are about to be slaughtered... As the Red Army closes in on the Third Reich, a German colonel sends an American intelligence officer an unusual report about a POW camp soon to be overrun by the Soviets. Locked up, the report says, are over a thousand horses, including the entire herd of white Lipizzaner's from Vienna's Spanish Riding School, as well as Europe's finest Arabian stallions--stolen to create an equine "master race." The horses are worth millions and, if the starving Red Army reaches the stables first, they will kill the horses for rations. The Americans, under the command of General George Patton, whose love of horses was legendary, decide to help the Germans save the majestic creatures. So begins "Operation Cowboy," as GIs join forces with surrendered German soldiers and liberated prisoners of war to save the world's finest horses from fanatical SS soldiers and the ruthless Red Army in an extraordinary battle during the last few days of the war in Europe. This is an epic untold story from the waning days of World War II. Drawing from newly unearthed archival material, family archives held by descendants of the participants, and interviews with many of the participants published throughout the years, Ghost Riders is the definitive account of this truly unprecedented and moving story of kindness and compassion at the close of humanity's darkest hour.