The Perfect Horse is a true story. During WWII the Lipizzaner stallions of Austria were rescued by George S. Patton and placed under the protection of the American Army. This is their story through the retirement of some war horses and their riders and handlers through the mid 2000s. You’ll read about the animals subjected to allied bombing, slaughter, the heroism of Alois Podhajsky, director of the famed Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a former Olympic equestrian Bronze medalist. He was cheated out of Gold by a judge scratching out and lowering his score at the Berlin games of 1936. Two Germans won Gold and Silver, no surprise there.

Go to YouTube for viewing of the Lipizzaner moves, i.e., airs above the ground, dancing in place, and some fancy words that remind you of ballet moves. There are some good videos that will give much more depth to your understanding of this beautiful horse and the book itself.

The fundamentals are on the dry side, but factual. The Perfect Horse is a history book with a few hair-raising instances during the heat of WWII. Very educational. For example, the horses are not mistreated, and never have been. Their amazing moves are accomplished with loving hands and horse whispering.  Learned that George S. Patton was an Olympian (he did not medal) – had no idea. The German obsession with creating the “perfect” Arian race was mirrored by one German individual who wanted to create the “perfect” German war horse, using the same horrible methods – eugenics. Alois Podhajsky protected his animals from this fate with the help of others who resisted.

No issues with narration. In that I do not speak German, I can’t comment on pronunciation of some German names/words. All sounded fine to me.

The Perfect Horse is narrated Paul Boehmer, about 13 hours of listening in unabridged audiobook format. Release in August of 2016 by Random House Audio.

If you have any interest in the true history of the Lipizzaner stallion, highly recommended.

 

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