Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal
Where: McNally Jackson
52 Prince St.
212-274-1160 Price: Free
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It may surprise you to learn that there are over seven million horses in America—even more than when they were the only means of transportation—and nearly two million horse owners. Acclaimed journalist and avid equestrian Sarah Maslin Nir is one of them; she began riding horses when she was just two years old and hasn’t stopped since. Horse Crazy is a fascinating, funny, and moving love letter to these graceful animals and the people who—like her—are obsessed with them. It is also a coming-of-age story of Nir growing up an outsider within the world’s most elite inner circles, and finding her true north in horses.
Nir takes readers into the lesser-known corners of the riding world and profiles some of its most captivating figures. We meet Monty Roberts, the California trainer whose prowess earned him the nickname “the man who listens to horses,” and his pet deer; George and Ann Blair, who at their riding academy on a tiny island in Manhattan’s Harlem River seek to resurrect the erased legacy of the African American cowboy; and Francesca Kelly, whose love for an Indian nobleman shaped her life’s mission: to protect an endangered Indian breed of horse and bring them to America.
Woven into these compelling character studies, Nir shares her own moving personal narrative. She details her father’s harrowing tale of surviving the Holocaust, and describes an enchanted but deeply lonely upbringing in Manhattan, where horses became her family. She found them even in the middle of the city, in a stable disguised in an old townhouse and in Central Park, when she chased down truants as an auxiliary mounted patrol officer. And she speaks candidly of how horses have helped her overcome heartbreak and loss.
Infused with heart and wit, and with each chapter named after a horse Nir has loved, Horse Crazy is an unforgettable blend of beautifully written memoir and first-rate reporting.
Sarah Maslin Nir is a staff reporter for The New York Times. Nir was a Finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for “Unvarnished,” her more than yearlong investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry that documented the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face. Before becoming a staff reporter, Nir freelanced for eleven sections of the paper, traveling to the Alaskan wilderness in search of people who prefer to live in isolation, and to post-earthquake Haiti. She began as the New York Times’s nightlife columnist, covering 252 parties in 18 months, and continued on to a career that has taken her from covering kidnappings by terrorists in Benin, West Africa, to wildfires in California, and everything in between. A born and raised Manhattanite, Nir earned a masters at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and graduated from Columbia University, where she studied politics and philosophy. She is the author of Horse Crazy. She loves horses.
Musa Okwonga is a writer, broadcaster and musician. The co-host of the Stadio football podcast, he has published one collection of poetry and three books about football, the first of which, A Cultured Left Foot, was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His work has appeared in various outlets, including Africa Is A Country, the Byline Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Economist and The Ringer. He lives in Berlin. www.okwonga.com