The Horse God Built


Secretariat wins the final leg of the Triple Crown, The Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths on June 9, 1971

All sports have their heroes, the greatest athletes of their sport, the ones that are held up on a pedestal and the athletes that follow can only hope to measure up to.  This doesn’t just apply to the human athletes either.  In horse-racing, there is one whose greatness has yet to be challenged: Secretariat. His story has been one for the book since before his birth, since a coin toss that resulted in Penny Chenery having a foal in her stable that would become one of the most beloved horses in racing history.

His story is one that has intrigued me since I first learned his name as a young girl who was slightly to obsessed with horses.  Most people when asked for their favorite athlete will say a basketball, football, or baseball player’s name. I on other hand would tell you the name of this horse.  What follows is a collection of books, media, and a few famous artifacts that I feel best tell the story of this racing legend.

1. Secretariat’s Meadow

ImageWritten by Kate Tweedy, daughter of Secretariat’s owner Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s Meadow gives reader’s a personal look into the story behind the legacy, telling not only of the great champion, but of the people and farm from which he hailed.  The book includes Kate’s memories, as she was there throughout Secretariat’s life, including for his Triple Crown Journey.  Selections of the Chenery family’s private collection of photographs and papers are included in this beautiful coffee-table book, something that can’t be found in a book written by someone outside of the Secretariat circle.

2. The Horse God Built


Bestselling writer Lawrence Scanlan tells the story of Secretariat through the story of Eddie Sweat, Secretariat’s groom for his racing career.  Sweat’s story gives a more personal view of the great “Big Red”, giving readers the side of a racehorse only a man who spent so much time behind the scenes with would see.

3. Secretariat


Written by Raymond G. Woolfe Jr, Secretariat tells the history of the racing legend from the perspective of a personal friend to Secretariat’s owner and trainers.  Woolfe includes his own personal photographs from Secretariat’s career, and tells the history from the coin toss that started it all to his burial at Claiborne Farm, the Farm that lost “Big Red” in the famed coin toss over the foals sired by Bold Ruler.  The 2001 and older editions include a foreward by Ron Turcotte, the jockey that rode Secretariat to Triple Crown Glory.

4. Secretariat: The Making Of A Champion


William Nack, retired Sports Illustrated writer, gives the story of Secretariat, the only non-human to be chosen as one of ESPN’s “50 Greatest Athletes of the Century”. Originally published as Big Red of Meadow Stable in 1975, the book was updated and released once again to coincede with the Disney release of the film Secretariat.


Big Red of Meadow Stable (c) 1975

5.  Secretariat (Feature Film)

ImageWalt Disney’s Secretariat hit theaters on October 8, 2010, bringing to life for viewers of all ages the very real and true story of a racing legend. It starts from the famed coin toss and tells the story of Meadow Stable and Penny Chenery all the way up to his Triple Crown Victory.

6. The Most Glorious Crown


It is no surprise that a book devoted to the past 11 Triple Crown Winners would feature the famed Secretariat on the cover.  His record times for each the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes have yet to be broken.  Written by his Marvin Drager and published in 2009, this book gives the stories of all of these champions, including the races themselves, as well as what it takes to make a Triple Crown champion.



7. Secretariat Commemorative Magazine

ImageThis magazine was produced with the Daily Racing Form to go along with the release of Disney’s Secretariat movie. This magazine includes a variety of topics on Secretariat, including his 21 career starts along with the race chart and program page for each race.  Behind the scenes looks at the making of the movie are included as well, along with William Nack’s account of Secretariat’s run in the Belmont Stakes.

8.  Time, Sports Illustrated, and Newsweek

Secretariat has the honor of being featured on the cover of all all three of these magazines within the span of a week following his 31 length win at the Belmont Stakes and ascension into Triple Clown history.  Below are the covers for these magazines.











9. Secretariat’s Jockey, Ron Turcotte


When one things of Secretariat, it is hard not to think of the jockey who rode him to glory, Ron Turcotte.  A new film documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada just had it’s first screening the weekend of  the 139th Kentucky Derby on May 2, 2013.  The documentary gives a behind the scenes look at the jockey’s life, including never before released shots of Secretariat and an appearance by Big Red’s owner Penny Chenery.  The documentary will be shown again before the upcoming Preakness Stakes, and will eventually be sold on DVD.



10. The Triple Crown Recorded

Below are videos of each of Secretariat’s Triple Crown races.

1973 Kentucky Derby


1973 Preakness Stakes


1973 Belmont Stakes


11. The Trophies

In a real personal book collection, Secretariat’s trophies would be a dream that would never be obtained. However, as this is a virtual collection, dreams can be included.  These trophies are usually housed at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.  The photographs below are of the display that resides inside the International Museum of the Horse and of his Derby, Preakness, and Triple Crown trophies. These photos were taken during a trip I took to Kentucky Horse Park in 2012.


The display contains Secretariat’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Triple Crown Trophies, as well as other memorabilia from Secrtariat’s racing career.


1973 Kentucky Derby Trophy


1973 Preakness trophy


1973 Triple Crown Winner’s Trophy

12. The Statues

The final part of my collection would not be obtainable at all, no matter how much money one would have to spend on such a collection, but I feel they should be included either way. These statues have been built in honor of these legendary champion.  One is located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky and the other is found in the Belmont Paddock of Belmont Park Race Track in New York.


Bronze statue in honor of Secretariat with Ron Turcotte as his jockey and being led by groom Eddie Sweat. Located at Kentucky Horse Park


Secretariat Statue located at Belmont Park


Are Printed Books On The Road To Extinction?


In recent years, technology has brought about great changes to the way we live our lives.  Technology has given us the ability to make things smaller, faster, and easier. The VHS tape has virtually disappeared when DVDs were introduced. When it comes to everyday use, film cameras have been replaced by the digital camera. The question now is, with the gaining popularity of the eBook, will print books become practically extinct?

It’s hard to imagine a world where printed books are not the norm. There’s just something about the physical beauty of the printed word that makes it hard to imagine. However, it is impossible to deny that the eBook is rising in sales. From the year 2011 to 2012, the number of adults who have read an eBook rose from 16% to 23%. That seems like a big jump in just a year, until you look at some other statistics. Only about 16% of Americans have actually purchased an eBook and almost 60% say they have no desire to buy an eBook at all. Looking at these numbers, the eBook doesn’t seem quite so threatening to the printed book we all know and love. More like a complimentary format for the printed word, a way for travelers to have a book on hand when carrying a hard copy around is not practical.

After all, that is what I use eBooks for. My phone holds multiple digital books, simply so I know I will always have something to read if I have spare time. Though that doesn’t mean that my bookshelf is going away, or that I will cease to buy hard copy of books. EBooks lack character; they have no beautiful pages or bindings. You can’t open a digital book and be surprised by the provenance you may find, since an eBook can’t change owners. All the things loved about a printed book can’t be found in the digital version, and that is going to make the printed book very hard to replace.

1. Carr, Nicholas. “Never Mind E-books: Why Print Books Are Here to Stay.” The Wall Street Journal. N.p., 5 Jan. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

A Bookplate Of My Own

Bookplates are a staple for every serious book collector. They are an excellent way of marking books as part of a person’s collection. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a collector to have your own bookplate. I’ve even designed my own, so here is my bookplate and the thought behind its design.

I am a person who likes order and balance in their life. Symmetry represents both of those things to me, so the first thought I had about my bookplate was that it needed to be symmetric. What about what to put on my bookplate? My automatic answer was horses. They are one thing I am truly passionate about in life, so it only made sense that they be included. I chose to put one rearing up on either side, since the sketch I chose represented both freedom and strength to me, two things I want to be in life. In the center I chose to put an open book on a pedestal, to represent how knowledge is something anyone can access, no matter who they are or where they are from. Finally I chose to incorporate a scroll into the top and bottom of my bookplate, with the scroll on top containing the words “Ex Libris”, and the bottom holding my first and last name.

Below is the sketch of my very own bookplate. All that is left now is for me to figure out how to have in printed so that I can start putting them in my personal books!


The Book Beautiful Edible Book and Tea


The Book Beautiful 2nd Annual Edible Book and Tea

For the past few weeks the focus of this seminar has drifted away from our beautiful book and turned to the topic of Edible Books. This was done in preparation for The Book Beautiful’s 2nd Annual Edible Book and Tea, in which we had to create an Edible Book. This assignment was first seen briefly mentioned in the syllabus, and honestly, I paid little attention to it at the start of the year. Then it started coming up in class, and I had to think about what I would want to make an Edible Book about. Many thoughts crossed my head: Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar to name a few. Finally, I figured it out: The Hunger Games. I came across this and was in love.

I’m no artist though, and I knew there was no way I could recreate something like that. The idea of making a cake didn’t sound very appealing anyways as I figured there would be lots of dessert like items. I knew I wanted my Edible Book to represent The Hunger Games though. And what better way to represent this trilogy than with bread? I decided to make the twelve breads from the twelve Districts of Panem.

The idea was great in theory, but I severely misjudged the time it would take to bake so many different breads.  I spent four days baking, baking, and baking some more. The bread I chose for District 5 took an entire day to make alone! Thankfully, I had some help from my fiancé, making the task slightly more manageable, and on the day of the Edible Book and Tea, I had an Edible Book I was proud to call my own.


The Breads of Panem Edible Book at the Book Beautiful Edible Book and Tea

Below are some photographs of my Edible Books journey from flour to bread!


The making of the Bread from District 11


District 7: Just a little to willing to rise


Creating District 6


District 1: The Bread of Luxury


District 12: The”Ugly Drop Biscuits”


Kneading District 3 into submission

Oh If I Had Millions

            A book is a powerful thing. They are full of knowledge and experiences that you as the reader can only imagine. Now imagine if you had hundreds of books, all magnificent, and all with a common theme. Think of how incredible that would be! It’s breathtaking really. That is the art of book collecting. You can collect books about anything, from the Civil War to Stargazer Lilies. The beauty of book collecting is that you can have collections on topics you are truly passionate about, if you have enough money. Unfortunately, that is not often the case for broke college students. However, I have found two wonderful collections that I would love to call my own, with the same topic that my book has: equine medicine.

            One of these collections is at Colorado State University, and contains equine medicine books that were published before 1908, a collection my book would find in quite well. The books in this collection were published in countries all over Europe and North America, giving Colorado a very diverse library with many different topics. One book in this collection, titled A Compendium of Farriery, In Four Parts, was even published in Exeter, where Youatt, the author of my book was born. It’s remarkable how you can find connections everywhere, even between what appeared to be an inconsequential book and a rare book collection in Colorado.

            The second collection I found fascinating and worthy of mention is funded by Texas A&M University, and is a collection of Rare Veterinary Medicine books. This collection is so unique that it has several books that are not owned by any other library in the world. Part of their collection was acquired through the purchase of the personal collection of a rural veterinarian who practiced in England. His collection represented centuries of equine medicine and farrier texts. Between the acquisition of his collection and existing books, their collection now spans five centuries of equine medicine publications.

            I wonder, is a special collection a legitimate reason to travel halfway across the country. I feel it is. Texas anyone?

Exploring Roots

Every book has a story, and of course, every story has a beginning. A book’s beginning resides with the author in most cases. However, my baby has a unique beginning that results in the author of the text being a grandfather of sorts to my baby.

The “grandfather” that I speak of is William Youatt, a brilliant man, born the son of a surgeon in Exeter in the year 1776. While in his 30s, he moved to London and joined a veterinary practice as an apprentice with a veterinarian who, unfortunately, was not a registered veterinarian. This resulted in Youatt not being given a diploma, and therefore he was not a considered a veterinarian either. Luckily, this did not stop him in his veterinary pursuits, and he began practicing veterinary medicine, teaching, and later writing his lectures out and publishing them in a professional journal titled The Veterinarian.

Below: A Portrait of William Youatt


Around 1830, he began writing books on farm animals for the Library of Useful Knowledge, including one called The Horse, originally published in 1831 without an author being credited for the work until later editions.

This book is the real “father” of my baby. The Horse was complied into a more concise work called Youatt on the Structures of the Horse by H.S. Randall, and published in 1851, five years after Youatt’s death. This book is the book we’ve looked at throughout this blog.  It is a marvelous book that wouldn’t have been possible without such a remarkable veterinarian, despite the fact that he wasn’t registered as a veterinarian until three years before he died.

His name was one of recognition at the time, even by some of the most well known men of that century. Charles Darwin himself said “I have generally found Youatt an accurate man, & a very sagacious man, for I knew him personally.” High praise from one of the most prominent names in science, and I feel it speaks well for William Youatt and my beloved book.

Below: Letter in which Charles Darwin praises Youatt




Works Cited:

“300. Darwin.” Bloomsbury Auctions. 2008. Web. 26 Mar 2013. < >

“William Youatt.” The Border Collie Museum. 2011. Web. 26 Mar 2013.   < >

One Of My Baby’s “Siblings”

In previous blogs, I have been focusing on the intimate details that my baby possesses, such as its characteristics and history.  I feel that my baby deserves such in depth treatment, as it really is a marvelous book. For this blog though, I’m going to pull away from my specific book, and give you a little look into a special “relative” of my baby.  What follows is a book description of another equine book my baby’s father William Youatt wrote. This book is similar to my baby in nature, and is its own beautiful work of art.  


History of the Horse, in All Its Varieties and Uses, Together with Complete Directions for the Breeding, Rearing, and Management, and for the Cure of All Diseases to Which He is Liable; Also A Concise Treatise on Draught, with a Copious Index to the Whole

William Youatt

Bookseller: JC Brown, Bookseller (New Orleans, LA, U.S.A.)

Bookseller Rating: 4-star rating

Quantity Available: 1


Price: US$ 595.00 
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Bibliographic Details

Publisher: Duff Green, Washington

Publication Date: 1834

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition: Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket



First American edition of this historic and comprehensive work on the history of the horse and many related subjects, e.g. draught (use of horses for power). Ex-library, with catalog number on spine, WITHDRAWN stamps on rear endpaper and bottom edge of pages. Rebound by library, with presentation bookplate on front paste-down. All pages damp stained but all are easily readable; no pages stuck together. Numerous b & w illustrations in the text. Fascinating reading for anyone interested in horses and their breeding , rearing, management, and history. Very scarce. Bookseller Inventory # 000004

Below: Title page of book from the same edition



Below: Two pages of the book’s text and illustrations



Below: The edition’s original binding, and the binding this book would have had before being rebound by a library




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