Rough Magic (EBOOK)
Errand of Mercy gRek is to be made over the course of ten days with limitations on ride time per day and with strict rules on how hard they can push their horse in order to protect the welfare of the animals The riders areiven one horse per stretch and considering these horses are still semi wild achieving a partnership will be easier said than done This won t be their only challenge as they will face brutal weather conditions rough terrain and the wildcard element of the human and non human residents of the steppe Getting injured or facing setbacks are less potential risks and like certainties with hurdles and partners such as these This is the kind of race that takes months even an entire year to prepare for with not just physical training but also by acuiring a whole host of supplies within a designated weight limit To have a shot at winning it also reuires familiarizing oneself with the vastness of the landscape and the myriad of potential obstacles to completion Yet Lara Prior Palmer the 2013 winner applied only two months ahead of the race With her unlikely win she became not only the first woman to claim the top spot but also the youngest competitor to ever complete the DerbyIn her new memoir Rough Magic Riding the World s Loneliest Horse Race Prior Palmer describes this experience She begins with an admission of the disconcertingly low level of foresight she ave to her decision to participate Most fundamentally she lacked the steep admission fee now up to 11375 for the 2020 race Most oddly though she is the niece of a well known euestrian she did not have abundant experience on horseback None of this ended up being a deterrent She defied the odds even early on managing to piece together the bare bones reuirements at the 11th hourWith all the odds stacked against her one must uestion why someone as underprepared as our young author would take on this challenge It s a puzzle she subtly tries to solve for herself throughout the book with tones ranging from the contemplative to the outright exhausted But although her choice to join the race was impulsive her resolve remains steadfast as she navigates from station to stationThe wide open space ahead seems to satisfy an itch early on but the loneliness of the race unexpectedly drives her inward In true teenage fashion it pushes her into the realm of the poetic at least partially inspired by the copy of The Tempest stuffed in her pack This tone does not dominate her storytelling instead mimicking the checkpoints she reaches At times we re fully invested in mechanics of the ride and then every so often she invites us into her inner worldLara s mind is full of thoughts of home as one would expect from someone not far removed from their childhood years but she freuently compares this mental image to her current surroundings The complete dissimilarity of place and experience to anything having come before in her life makes for a stark contrast Mongolia comes out favorably in these match ups with Prior Palmer providing historical and cultural context to help the reader feel as immersed in the place as she is As she allows herself to sink into the landscape Lara finds in the race not only something to keep her busy for ten days in August but a sense of her own purpose The race did seem to lend me some faith in my placement in this world and that faith released an energy my teenage sloth self had let o of I felt it fueling me for months afterwardComing of age storytellers take note here is your model heroine Across time adolescents have sought to define what they are by first defining what they are not Lara Prior Palmer canters away from the known world and all the expectations of her it contains And though her teenage ualities at first The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire glance appear to foretell her failure it seems that perhaps Lara s spontaneity and youth are herreatest assets For her the race was never about winning but about the freedom it would provide In fact the finish line provides less motivation than does her toughest competitor Texan Devan Horn who is nearly obsessively determined to win But instead of marrying herself to the future by clinging to a picture of herself coming in first she lives firmly in the present moment This allows her to better cope with obstacles however clumsily as they come alongReaders will be rateful for her investment in the present but also her choice to faithfully write down the events of each day in her Winnie the Pooh notebook Her recorded experiences combine with the wisdom of hindsight to create the pure magic of this book In writing it we can feel the author now aged 24 returning to this defining the experience in her mind s eye and retrospectively defining it for the lasting impact it has clearly had on her
Life This Memoir Is This memoir is lance behind at trodden Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras ground and acknowledgment of the course to come Each ponyallops across the in between This author tries so hard to come across as edgy philosophical and uniue that her story ets lost in the image she s trying to write herself in and is lacking in substance 25 stars rounded up to 3 What an odd little book In a perfect world this would have been one of my top reads of the year It has everything I love travel horses and traveling with horses However the writing style just didn t click with me and I never truly felt engaged with the narrative Don t et me wrong there are some Lost And Found Bride gems of passages in here They are however the exception and not the rule One such example is when Lara starts ruminating on why historically and evolutionary there s always been such a special bond between women and horses She takes the easy way out and parrots Freud iniving an explanation when it is so so much deeper than that My theory and it s just that a theory born out of
being a woman who spent her childhood and teenage years around a woman who spent her childhood and teenage years around is that somewhere in the veil of time women and horses formed a kinship because a both are social creatures and b both are forced to deal with the whims of men who dominated over them Women found freedom on horseback and horses found an ally They were in essence kindred spirits Dogs may be man s best friend but horses are women s soapboxAll in all I m scratching my head over what I missed and why everyone is tripping over themselves to over what I missed and why everyone is tripping over themselves to this book It left me Ambition and Accommodation: How Women View Gender Relations going huh so than being heartwarmed. Ling bouts of illness and dehydration exhaustion and bruising falls she decided she had nothing to lose Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse scrambling up mountains swimming through rivers crossing woodlands and wetlands arid dunes and open steppe as American television crews chased her in their JeepsTold with terrific suspense and style in a voice full of poetry and soul Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead against all odds to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race. Mindset of how to proceed Important to the story is the Race Rule that at each leg a pony s heartbeat return to resting within a specified amount of time so that the effort rests on the part of the rider not the animal The fact that her choice of reading material is a copy of The Tempest which provides the book s title She also conjures her famous Aunt Lucinda Prior Palmer an Olympic euestrienne whose advice throughout her life has provided a beacon if it is at sometimesrudging andor hilarious Wherever Lara s life takes her henceforth I hope she continues with her story since it can t help but be fascinating The race was said to be the most difficult in the world Seven days spent traversing the Mongolian steppes on wild ponies Not my cuppa but fun to experience through someone else Lara at loose ends decided this was something she needed to do despite the costly entry fee She prepares little and becomes a nineteen year old underdog though she soon has others pulling for her There are vivid descriptions of the Mongolian steppes many allusions and uotes from Genghis Kahn We meet dome of the other racers and one young woman whom Lara is determined to beat There are funny incidents much self reflection but the prose is witty self deprecating The story is fast paced never boring and a joy to read Humans love of horses and the endurance it takes to even race in such an event let alone win Which by the way is not a spoiler because this is known from the American Kinship: A Cultural Account geto In 2013 when she was 19 Prior Palmer won the Mongol Derby horse race the first Briton and youngest competitor to do so I thought her memoir couldn t fail to be exciting but I was wrong A book I should have raced through was instead an agonizing crawl over many weeks Moreover the voice which initially seemed uirky and jolly ol English enough to keep me reading An Ethics of Interrogation grated I should haveiven up on this one early onIn a nutshell spoiled rich English Ancestral Voices: Religion and Nationalism in Ireland girl the family seat of Appleshaw in Wiltshire the large family with double barreled surname Aunt Lucinda Green who teaches euestrian skills doesn t know what to do with herself so signs up for 1000 km horse race on a whim and doesn t re Rough Magic is a coming of age story an interrogation of naked ambition and a self conscious meditation on English colonialism all wrapped up in a thrilling tale of a 19 year oldirl entering and winning the most difficult horse race in the world Lara Prior Palmer s underdog story couldn t have been any pitch perfect if it were scripted she entered the Mongol Derby on a complete whim underestimated its difficulty was dismissed by the other competitors early on but still rallied to become the first woman to win the race and the youngest person ever to finish But it s far from the conventional sports memoir as winning is never really the point or even the Animal Ecology goal for Lara whose motivation for entering the race is hazy even to herselfThis book sreatest strength is something that often irritates me in memoirs that Lara doesn t have much distance from the experience she s writing about she won the race in 2013 her memoir was published in 2019 Had she waited 15 or 20 years to tell this story it could have been polished articulate but that sophistication would have come at the detriment of its charm its passion its frenetic energy Perhaps the most successful thing about this book is that due to her lack of emotional distance from it Lara doesn t place her own character development front and center instead she takes us through the race step by agonizing step showing us rather than telling us about the physical and psychological toll it was taking This entire memoir cleverly circles the uestion is naked ambition in and of itself a virtue or a vice a character trait she sees reflected in her main competitor Devan and the few moments where Lara zeroes in on it have the emotional punch they Ve Earned Our Pace earned Our pace I began imagining Clare and Kirsten catching us Nothing is swift as thought I felt it jumping through me But riding in a big roup just wasn t efficient It was a simple in a big roup just wasn t efficient It was a simple and when it came I knew the race had me And then shortly after What if I wanted to win for myself without wanting to beat Devan or please Charles or any other audience It s a lonely thought I wish I were strong enough for it All that said this book isn t the easiest to settle into Lara Prior Palmer s prose is almost a perfect reflection of her flighty restless nature she jumps from one thought to another with no preamble she constructs an elaborate metaphor unnecessarily and follows it a bit too long But there were also lines that I adored that I found especially resonant than enough to compensate for the awkward passages like I m just so used to swallowing myself as I speak that I can t help seeing self assuredness as indulgent So while I don t think this was a perfect book not that anything is a perfect book I do think it was a really special one that I enjoyed reading immensely that filled me with anxiety and excitement in eual measure Lara Prior Palmer is a fascinating sympathetic strong and vulnerable person who doesn t spare herself for a second on the page making this story as personal as it is informative about the Mongol Derby I d highly recommend Rough Magic if you like horses coming of age stories underdogs memoirs about young women or any combination of the above Image from The Adventurists Many of the people I ll meet on the steppe hold horses as
sacred There are love songs about horses than about women in There are love songs about horses than about women in for exam Review originally appeared on Open Letters ReviewImpulsivity is an intimate friend of the teenager This emotional siren lures newly minted adolescents into making rash decisions most stereotypically taking the form of raucous parties and torrid love affairs And though we all o through our own form of the teenage phase most of us wouldn t on a whim choose to ride the world s longest and most demanding horse race to assert our individuality But it seems someone had to be firstThe Mongol Derby is a 1000 kilometer feat of endurance Participants ostensibly travel in the hoof prints of Genghis Khan s postal couriers who in the 13th century pounded their way across the picturesue Mongolian steppe using a similar system of horse stations to the ones redeveloped for the race This Cided to enter the race As she boarded a plane to East Asia she was utterly unprepared for what awaited herRiders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby a course that recreates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan and many fail to finish Prior Palmer had no formal training She was driven by her own restlessness stubbornness and a lifelong love of horses She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families Batt. NOW AVAILABLEthere is a 1000 kilometer horse race in mongolia called the mongol derby with the reputation of being the world s longest toughest horse race human riders mount a series of 25 wild ponies swapping em out every 40 kilometers to ensure the endurance falls on the humans not the horses participants train rigorously obtain sponsorships to offset the enormous entrance fees prepare themselves for the physical and psychological hardships of being on horseback for than a week through the heat and the rain and the aches and exhaustion of what is a freuently solitary trek over mongolia s unforgiving terrain despite all these preparatory measures many riders do not make it to the finish line due to illness injury or fatigue long story short attempting this race reuires commitment dedication and sacrificeor you know you could just sorta wing itthis is a memoir written by the nineteen year old woman who entered the derby on a whim prepared not at all didn t train didn t et the reuired vaccinations didn t even bring a change of pants and somehow not only won the race but was both the youngest and also the first female to ever winand this book is how a person like that writes a memoir or an account of this race it s not uite either of these approaches it s a little flighty a little flitty it s where that kind of mind Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde goes when it s largely unoccupied and let off its tether for long solitary hours the book is full of sentences like this Why do humans put so much thought into some decisions yet plunge into others like cavalier penguins Are we met with a sudden urge to avoid the direct path to middle age and subseuent visions ofrowing old in a lonely world of catsparts of this book feel like the script for some Betting on Ideas: Wars, Inventions, Inflation girls can be forrestump too seuel not because the author is slow but because of how unlikely her even finishing the race was considering her level of preparedness I had never ridden than 20 kilometers at once let alone with a GPS and as established I didn t know how to use one anyway not only did she enter on a whim she entered after the deadline had passed didn t read much of the fine print only half filled out the medical forms and yet at every turn logic looked the other way fortune was feeling Being after Rousseau: Philosophy and Culture in Question generous and history was made by someone who forgot to take the pills that would stop her period and wound up bleeding all over her pony despite embodying and playing up a little i suspect the wholeod watches over drunks and fools angle Wolves snakes and mountain lions can t eat me because I m not yet aware they roam these parts she s a little savvy than some simpleton chasing a balloon she manages to talk her way into paying less than half of the entrance fee cadge Berlioz and His Century: An Introduction to the Age of Romanticism gear off of fellow riders and she sot a deeply ingrained competitive streak so despite her somewhat cultivated veneer of padded innocenceI didn t think about rain so I don t have a change of clothes No pajamas No second pair of jodhpurs Just a spare pair of socks and a pair of knickers Oh dear I m oing to have to sleep naked It wasn t necessary for me to say that aloud but I don t think anyone noticedthere s a flint of steely stubbornness at her core still every single thing about her involvement in this race is haphazard she remembers to bring some medicine but removes the pills from their packets in fit of boredom flinging them altogether in one bag so she doesn t know which antibiotics and which are water purifying pills and which are ibuprofen etc so she just swallows whatever s on top and hopes for the best it sounds slapsticky but it s not written slapsticky okay sometimes it is slapsticky I ot entangled in my backpack first thing the next morning which reuired the rescue of three crew membersit s a fun rompy read but if you are looking for a book about the history of the race or a book of sports writing or one Atlantic Double-Cross: American Literature and British Influence in the Age of Emerson getting to the core of what makes a champion athlete tick this might not deliver that for you it s a hodgepodge rummage sale memoir daydream that is weird and fun and that was enough for me and maybe it will be enough for youcome to my blog I have mixed feelings about this book The setting and perspective arereat a memoir by the first female and youngest winner of the Mongol Derby an endurance horse race The writer s style is hit and miss A little too cursory too eager to float into lines of poetry when action is and miss A little too cursory too eager to float into lines of poetry when action is My biggest beef is turning the author s main competition another young woman and first time racer into a villain after barely laying eyes on her This woman s chief sin being that she arrived prepared confident and ambitious And so our protagonist hates her How childish How petty for a woman who continually portrays herself as independent minded Although we know who wins the ending still feels like a let downOverall an interesting read but not the riveting horseback adventure I d hoped for Riding is a dance that demands each muscle in your body answer to an ever shifting floorPut aside the fact that the outcome of this race is known before Lara Prior Palmer begins her story here is proof positive that it is the journey not the arrival that is most important How Lara a woefully under prepared 19 year old decides to participate in a horserace that traces the Mongolian course of Genghis Khan s pony express 1000 kilometers with no preplanned route is the stuff of almost mythic stamina and excitement At times I was reminded of Cheryl Strayed s Wild as both young women embark on their uests with little or no preparation but merely a will to complete it At first she just doesn t want to come in last but somewhere along the line the race Awakening Spaces: French Caribbean Popular Songs, Music, and Culture grabs hold of her and she becomes a competitor not the least reason of which being peeved at the arrogance of the frontrunner a Texan who has been trained and prepared and even before they ve saddled for the first leg has flashed her impending victory to ABC cameras What truly sets this book apart is the writing Lara s ability to describe her experience throughorgeous literary prose Her descriptions of the landscape the different stations where the riders change horses and are refreshed her acceptance of the Mongolian hospitality and affection for these nomadic people and most significantly her connections to each of her mounts wild ponies each with a distinct personality and. For fans of Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk this is the extraordinary debut memoir of a young woman who traveled to Mongolia to compete in the world’s longest toughest horse race and emerged as its youngest and first ever female winnerAt the age of nineteen Lara Prior Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest toughest horse race” an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty five wild ponies across 1000 kilometers of Mongolian rassland On a whim she de.