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Renegade Champion: The Unlikely Rise of Fitzrada Hardcover – August 22, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing; 1ST edition (August 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158979379X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589793798
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Those of us who come from older generations cannot but admire what the late Col. Richard Rust achieved in producing, as a true labor of love, such a touching tribute to his mother. [We] will also be grateful to him for having evoked so many fond old horse-show memories. (William Steinkraus, four-time Olympic medal winner)

Renegade Champion is honest, compelling, and sometimes bittersweet. (In and Around Horse Country)

This true story reads like a Hollywood script but better. Unlike many biographies, this one is decorated with anecdotes that only a child would pick up through a lifetime spent with his mother. He does a masterful job of relating facts and blending them with these wonderful tidbits, so that the reader seems to feel what's going through Pohl's mind rather than simply reading her words. (Chronicle Of The Horse)

Renegade Champion: The Unlikely Rise of Fitzrada is a fitting tribute to Jane Pohl and the horse that propelled her to the top of the male-dominated jumper circuit of the 1940s. It’s an extraordinary treat to go back in time when prized show horses were actually working hunters, to a world where Thoroughbreds were exalted, and to big indoor shows being covered nationally in newspapers. But more than that readers will easily relate to her frustrations and triumphs of a horse crazy girl, showing on a shoestring budget, rubbing and grooming herself and training a horse that doesn’t have a blue-blooded pedigree—it’s all there in vivid detail as if Jane wrote the book herself. (Retired Racehorse blog)

Review

Whether she wanted the job or not, [Jane Pohl] broke down the doors that led to women being included on the Olympic equestrian teams in 1964. Male or female, we owe her a debt of gratitude.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Well worth reading if you love horses or strong women.
voracious reader
Richard Rust made the time and tension come alive when telling of his mother's pain and passion for jumping and her great love, Fitzrada.
Jane E. Penrod
This is a book to treasure and it will always be on my bookcase.
Marilyn J. Ranson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Fiona Lowther on December 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Renegade Champion" is a heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking story. It is beautifully written. Whether one loves horses or knows little about them, this story cannot help but remind us how perseverance pays off, and how rewarding the relationship with four-footed companions can be. It also reminds us that the teenage years can be the best of times and the worst of times.

For those who do love horses, this book is a must-read. Jane Pohl's son must have loved his mother very much to write such a moving book that shows that she gave him great memories.

For this reader, "Renegade Champion" is one of those rare books that is truly unforgettable. I will always picture Jane Pohl and Fitzrada -- a runt who was sentenced to death as a rogue horse -- flying over the show-jumping barriers -- with room to spare.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn J. Ranson on July 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book to treasure and it will always be on my bookcase. Renegade Champion is a true story of a smart but dangerous horse named Fitzrada and the young woman, Jane Pohl, who believed in him. The story follows Jane and "Fitz" from their first encounter on an Army base to their unikely rise to fame in the horse show world, culminating with her performance in the Jumper Championship at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in 1946.
Best of all, it is a good read, and keeps you on edge, wondering what will happen next.
This book is a loving tribute to Jane by her son, Richard Rust. Unfortunately, I understand he died just before publication, so never learned how his book was received.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jane E. Penrod on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a heartwrenching true story of the bond between horse and human.Richard Rust made the time and tension come alive when telling of his mother's pain and passion for jumping and her great love, Fitzrada. It's the story of one human who fell in love with a horse and used that love to change the face of show jumping as we knew it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
That's what Jane Pohl Rust would answer, in her later years, when asked if she had had much experience on horseback. Pohl Rust ACTUALLY had done quite a bit of riding from 1945 to 1950 when she rode her horse Fitz (shortened for Fitzrada), a runty horse she rescued from death when her family bought him from the army in 1940. She had ridden Fitz at her father's Army base in Hawaii before the war and had been the only rider who could tame him. Pohl Rust - an Army brat - had moved around with her family, from West Point to Hawaii to Virginia. She was an avid rider and jumper - never owning a horse, but always working out with the Army equestrian teams at what ever base she was living.

In 1940 she took Fitz with her when she entered Vassar College in New York. He was still difficult to work with and ride, but she gamely took him fox hunting at local meets. She also entered riding and jumping contests with him. After her graduation in 1943, she moved back to her family's home in the Loudoun area in Virginia. She entered meets and races and jumping competition in northern Virginia, ultimately going to New York's National Horse Show from 1945 to 1950, and sweeping the awards each year. She was aiming for a place on the 1948 US Olympic Equestrian Team, but it was still only open to Army officers. By 1952, when places on the team were opened up to all amateur riders, Pohl Rust had retired from competition and Fitz had died.

Until her death in early 2001, she lived in the Boston area and then northern Virginia, where she raised her son, Richard Rust - the product of an early, unhappy marriage - and taught high school. She also rode to hunt with various northern Virginia hunt clubs and "kept her hand in" by teaching youngsters how to ride and jump.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane S. Castor on August 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful tale of triumph. Well executed in all respects. ONe feels the spell of the arena and the smell of turf and horses. Most exciting and interesting in a ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jinete on August 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I started reading this biography of an abused and almost unridable horse and the girl who rescued it, I wasn't sure whether it would really grab me, but grab it did. Both the horse, Fitzrada--just one step below the title of "man killer"--and the girl/woman, Jane Pohl Rust, who spent 5 years getting the horse to trust her, is almost unbelievable. Each in his/her own way was totally unique in personality and ability to excel in a climate that disparaged both, until society could no longer fail to acknowlege them and their special gifts. Aside from the story itself, I was drawn to the descriptions that painted a vivid picture of the role of horses, their owners, their riders--men and (the lack of) women--in the context of the 1930's and 1940's. Renegade Champion: The Unlikely Rise of Fitzrada
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Format: Paperback
"Renegade Champion: The Unlikely Rise of Fitzrada" is the story of a talented Army horse that was drilled until he soured and became dangerous. It took a patient and determined 15 year old girl named Jane Pohl to rehabilitate him and to turn him into a top show jumper. This book will appeal to any lover of the old classic horse stories, such as “National Velvet" and Disney’s “Horse with the Flying Tail” as well as more recent accounts of the triumphs of equine underdogs like "Seabiscuit" or "Snowman: The Eighty Dollar Champion." "Renegade Champion" is full of anecdotes describing Jane’s hair raising attempts to reform Fitzrada’s wicked ways, as well as thrilling tales of their successes in the show ring.

But the book is so much more than that. Told with frankness and authenticity, "Renegade Champion" is the biography of Jane Pohl, one of the first women to compete with men on the show jumping circuit. Although the author is her son, he is forthright about her shortcomings, as well as her two failed marriages, and her struggles as a single mother. The book provides insight into the routine sexism accepted at the time that would be almost unimaginable today. Equestrians will be fascinated by the historical tidbits about the National Horse Show and the United States Equestrian Team as well as the way that the show jumping events have evolved to become much safer, but not quite as exciting as they were in the 1940s.
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