Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race
This national bestselling “memoir of beating the odds to become a horse champion is an inspiring saga of perseverance—and a classic underdog tale” for readers of Educated, Wild, and H Is for Hawk (Entertainment Weekly, Most Anticipated Books of the Year)
At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”—an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.
Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan. Many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps.
Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.
Named a Best Book of the Season by O, The Oprah Magazine, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Esquire, Conde Nast Traveler, Elle, Southern Living, Family Circle, and Buzzfeed
”If you like your memoirs to revolve around singular experiences, Lara Prior-Palmer’s Rough Magic delivers." —John Williams, The New York Times