From Endurance to Dressage
Book Review: Perestroika in Paris
Isn't it interesting that many horse people are also readers? I don't know how we find the time, but we do. You know I am a reader; I've shared many posts about great books I've read. While I am on track to read 50 or more books in 2022, I haven't found one that was worth sharing here, until this past week. If you are looking for something sweet and entertaining, find Perestroika in Paris.
The story is about a young Thoroughbred filly named Perestroika, Paras for short, who walks away from her racing barn to see what she can see. She meets several other animals in her first day of freedom who band with her as she learns to live away from the track without someone to care for her. She eventually meets a young boy whose life she changes as he changes hers. The book is not intended for a YA audience, but it's so sweet in the telling that it will appeal to readers of all ages. I simply could not read it fast enough.
I usually roll my eyes as I read "horse" books because the authors rarely understand horses, but this one was different. Jane Smiley, the author, has bred horses and currently has three at her home in Carmel Valley, California. The things Paras thinks and does, and the way the humans behave towards her, are spot on. Smiley knows horses.
In Chapter 5, the small boy who Paras meets thinks,"If every new thing were to come as a surprise, he knew he would be surprised every hour of his life." The whole book is like that, one surprise after another. Smiley's writing is precise without a wasted word. I highlighted passage after passage. It was like reading a fortune cookie's message; there were words of wisdom on each page.
In the next chapter, Smiley writes, "Paras suspected that she was thinking sad thoughts - she had come to understand that many of Frida's thoughts were sad, that there had been that human who had mysteriously disappeared, that without a human a dog was a little ill-at-ease in a way that a horse was not. Dogs, evidently, saw humans as friends whereas horses saw them as co-workers." I about died. Paras is arrogant, but in such a matter of fact and simple way that you can't help but love her. She's a horse that we've all had.
In an article from the Wall Street Journal, Emily Bobrow summarizes the book thusly, "Ostensibly set in the 21st century, this meringue of a novel is wholesomely timeless, full of good intentions and happy endings that feel far removed from the problems of the moment."
She said it better than I could. Read this book; you won't be disappointed.
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: