Saving Baby: How One Womans Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption

ISBN 10: 0988878003 / ISBN 13: 9780988878006
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Synopsis: " One of the best books of 2013."- Kirkus Reviews

Few people ever call up the courage to create the life they envision, leaving their dreams forever unfulfilled. But Jo Anne Normile did just that, only to find she was living the wrong dream. It all started with her beloved horse Baby, with whom she shared as strong a bond as a mother and child. Baby could be hundreds of feet away, on the far side of the pasture behind the house, but if he saw Normile coming through the kitchen door, he'd leave off grazing on the rich summer grass and come toward her. If she clapped, he broke into a gallop to reach her faster. He loved rubbing his head against her hands. She, in turn, would kiss that velvety part of his muzzle between his nostrils. It was difficult to let him go to race at the track, away from her pasture, from the back door where she'd often find him waiting for a tasty snack or to say hello. But she had made a promise to the man who sold him to her. And on television at least, horseracing had always come across as a glamorous mélange of mint juleps and celebrity set against a backdrop of equine grace and speed. It was a vision Normile liked. What could be a better nexus of beauty and brawn than a blanket of red roses thrown over a shimmering Thoroughbred while his owner held the trophy? But as she gradually learned, the magic that enchants is a veneer. For every Seabiscuit, there are tens of thousands of racehorses whose experiences on the back lots of the country's tracks tell a different, often harrowing, story. It's not that Normile didn't experience a thrill every time Baby sprinted around the track. She fell hard for the adrenalin rush of gleaming, well-muscled horses running faster than any other animal in the world as they cover distances of a mile or more, her heart rising to her throat each time Baby drove into the homestretch turn. The Sport of Kings, as it is known, is like a drug, an intoxicating ecstasy, that transfixes. But once Normile learned the truth, she did a complete about-face, even pulling from the racecourse a promising granddaughter of Secretariat poised to win no small amount of money. And she transformed her misgivings into the pursuit of an entirely different vision, founding the most successful horse rescue in the country and saving more horses than anyone else ever has. SAVING BABY, a memoir, tells her life-changing story of love, regret, and redemption.

Note: A portion of the proceeds from each purchase of Saving Baby goes to Saving Baby Equine Charity, a horse rescue. Learn about the horses you've helped save at: savingbaby.org

About the Author: Jo Anne Normile, principal of Normile Racehorse Protection Consulting, advises senators, congressmen, filmmakers, legal firms, rescues, and humane organizations on all aspects of racing pertaining to the welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorse and the integrity of the industry. Normile also founded two successful horse rescue organizations: CANTER, the first organization to take Thoroughbreds right from the track to safe havens and which now has chapters across the country; and Saving Baby Equine Charity (www.savingbaby.org), for which she serves as president. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of Animal Advocates of Michigan and is a member of the Equine Welfare Alliance as well as an advisory board member for the documentary film, Saving America’s Horses: A Nation Betrayed. Normile has received the Catalyst of the Year Award from the Michigan Horse Council for her “significant contribution to the Michigan horse industry” and the national Dogwood Stable Dominion Award as an “unsung hero of the racing industry.” She was described in The Thoroughbred Times as having “rescued more horses than any other organization in the equine industry.” Normile has coauthored studies on equine self-mutilation syndrome and compulsive behavior in horses that appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Journal of Applied Research in Veterinary Medicine. She was also cited for her contributions to a paper published in Food and Chemical Toxicology about the public health risk of horsemeat laced with phenylbutazone, or “bute,” routinely given to Thoroughbred racers. Normile has provided exhibits for a watershed Congressional hearing on the use of drugs in racehorses and has been an invited speaker at equine safety meetings around the country.

Lawrence Lindner is a New York Times best-selling coauthor and collaborating writer on a wide variety of books ranging from memoirs to animal care to health topics. He also penned a nationally syndicated biweekly column in The Washington Post for several years and wrote a monthly column for The Boston Globe. His freelance work has appeared in publications ranging from The Los Angeles Times to Condé Nast Traveler, the International Herald Tribune, Reader’s Digest, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Currently, he serves as executive editor of Your Dog, a monthly publication of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, and as secretary of Saving Baby Equine Charity.

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