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Raja, Story of a Racehorse Paperback – December 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"RAJA is a very, very good book. It's definitely one of my favorite horse books - and I have read a lot of them!  It's heartbreaking at times but also wonderful at others. I couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend it!"

HorseCrazyGirls.com

"This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn't put it down. Hambleton evokes the smells, the countryside, the thrills and the colorful characters with a vivid and knowing pen."
 
Peter Heller, author of Kook and The Whale Warriors


An outstanding debut novel for young people.  Reminiscent of Anna Sewell's classic, Black Beauty, in its deeply felt narrative as voiced by a thoroughbred racehorse, (this novel) is written with empathy and a vivid sense of drama....a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.

Kirkus

"In a quest to fulfill his destiny, Raja bounds from race-track to fox hunt, city police work, and steeplechase, in an adventure that slowly reveals itself to be a love story. Young equestrians will be thrilled by this fine story."

Alex Prud'homme, author of The Ripple Effect and co-author of My Life in France

"Raja" is an authentic story.  Anne Hambleton knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall."
Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame Three Day Event rider/trainer, Olympian,
Author of How Good Riders get Good

“Lifelong equestrian Hambleton makes an impressive outing as a first-time author of juvenile fiction, weaving her knowledge and love of horses, horsemanship, and the world of competitive racing into a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.”  —Kirkus

“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great Thoroughbred, my favorite breed.”  —Michael Matz, Hall of Fame show jumper, Olympic medalist, and trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro

“An authentic story. Most authors haven’t ridden what they write. Anne Hambleton has. She knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post of the Maryland Hunt Cup, and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall.”  —Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame three-day-event rider/trainer and author, How Good Riders Get Good

 “This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn’t put it down.”  —Peter Heller, author, Kook and The Whale Warriors

From the Author

So.. I am the author and of course I love Raja's story - because it could be true!  This is a good read for junior horse lovers (10-12). And not just for girls - several boys have loved it! I am a lifelong horse person and ex-steeplechase jockey and I have a lot of horse-loving young people in my orbit. And I read every horse book possible while growing up. In horse book terms, I would say RAJA is...Black Beauty meets Black Stallion meets National Velevet meets Seabiscuit.  Only part of RAJA is about racing. It's really more of a tour through several horse worlds (racing, hunter/jumper, mounted police, steeplechasing) and a book about the random lives of horses.  It's also about perserverance, overcoming fear and second and third chances.  A fun, topical and authentic story with lots of action!  I hope you enjoy it!

Anne Hambleton
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Old Bow Publishing (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615540295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615540290
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,938,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Valerie A. Ormond on June 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Raja, Story of a Racehorse, tells the story of a Thoroughbred destined for greatness challenged by fate in the whirlwind adventure that his life becomes. To those not familiar with horses, the series of events may seem improbable, but for those who have seen horses change hands and careers often, the story is completely believable. Although at times the reader is left feeling Raja's pain, that discomfort is important for readers to understand the reality of people and horses and how sometimes even well-meaning people can do harm to animals by simply not knowing what to do.
Anne Hambleton writes from the horse's perspective, and her years as a horsewoman shine through brilliantly. I even found myself thinking more about my horse and his thoughts while reading this book. She educates readers without coming across as an instructor and provides exacting details about many different riding disciplines. Hambleton creates great empathy for the horses in the story and also depicts elements such as herd dynamics which are so important to understanding horses and their social make-up.
Margaret Kauffman's lovely illustrations complement the book well, and the text design and layout were very appealing. I highly recommend this book to both horse people and non-horse people. Hambleton's beautiful descriptions, excellent writing, exciting plot, and portrayal of many aspects of the horse industry create a wonderful read for all ages. I hope to see more from this debut author.
Valerie Ormond
Author, Believing In Horses
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Format: Paperback
I was pleasantly surprised when I read this novel, Raja, by Anne Hambleton. At first, I thought it was a true story of an unknown racehorse, but as soon as I began reading it, I realized it was a novel a-la-Black Beauty in a contemporary U.S. east coast setting.

In the beginning, Raja, a Thoroughbred colt born in Ocala, Florida, describes his childhood and how his dam was struck and killed by lightning. This caused him to be panic-stricken whenever he experienced a thunderstorm no matter who was riding him. A series of events causes him to be moved from the track to several different stables - some nice and some not so much.

Like Black Beauty, this novel explains the special bonds between horses and riders, the horrors of some trainers and the unfortunate truth behind horse auctions.

It was a delight to read how Raja met up with childhood friends later in life, both human and equine.

A great read for all horse lovers by this former steeplechase jockey!

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Format: Paperback
I read Raja in two sittings on my Blackberry/Kindle app and will be buying the paperback for others I know who love inspirational, exciting stories about heros - horse and human. I own several off-the-track Thoroughbreds that are my foxhunting partners and am delighted to read a story about the many disciplines they can enjoy other than racing. They are certainly sensitive and not for all riders but all readers can appreciate Raja's courage, sensitivity, willingness to do his best, and persevere even under the worst conditions. I especially love how one character was slow on the flat and woke up when he found his calling. I have a horse that did exactly that when he experienced the chase in the hunt field.

Anne is so good at describing the many personalities of horses and all of us who live with them often take that for granted. People who know little about horses will truly learn more about their complex natures from this story.

This is a great book for any age reader. Excellent job, Anne! I
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Raja isn't just for middle schoolers, as I think anyone who has been involved with thoroughbreds on any level will enjoy this story that answers all of the "I wonder what happened to him before" questions many horse owners ask. Raja enters into so many different realms in the horse world during his travels from the farm where he was foaled to what seems to be his forever home that young readers will definitely learn a few things along the way (and probably some of the old readers too!). It is a fictional story, but many of the things that happen to Raja really do happen to so many horse - racehorses in particular. I have recommended it to all of my friends with kids in middle school AND their moms. I don't have kids but think it would be a great book to talk about as a family.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great story and feels like a movie. It was obviously written by someone who knows well the good and bad sides of the Thoroughbred world and wants people to know about the excitement as well as the tragedy these noble creatures face every day, whether at the race track or braving an uncertain future after their racing careers, whether short or long. Like Black Beauty, some aspects may seem a bit harsh for younger horse lovers. The story is told by Raja and portrays the Thoroughbred personality admirably as he puts his heart into all his endeavors yet at times reacts instinctively without thought as would a real horse. The illustrations are great fun and show an amazing knowlege of equine anatomy. It was a difficult book to put down.
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Told in a charming first-person voice, with all the chatty horses Raja encounters on his travels weighing in on everything from fox-hunting to race records, Raja: Story of a Racehorse should be required reading for horse-obsessed kids, and will absolutely please their adult counterparts.

It's a dizzying account of just how quickly a horse can be cycled through homes and careers. Raja, a top-tier Thoroughbred, starts out with a promising juvenile career at Saratoga, but soon finds that a horse's lot is to be sold, and bought, and given away, and auctioned off, again and again, trailed by a terror of lightning bolts and a tragic sense that he had been destined for great things. Raja's black rain cloud follows him wherever he goes, and lets loose with the thunder and lightning every time things start to look up.

But you know what the t-shirt says: "Every horse deserves his very own little girl." Raja, the ambitious Thoroughbred who just wants to be the best, might have been looking for luck in all the wrong places.
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