Saturday, August 27, 2016
THE PERFECT HORSE by Elizabeth Letts; Read by Paul Boehmer
Adventure, danger, heroism sells many a book but when the story is true it is totally absorbing. An equestrienne throughout her life Elizabeth Letts relates the unforgettable story of man’s love and respect for horses in The Perfect Horse.
It was during the final days of World War II that General George Patton gave these orders: “Get them. Make it fast!” Thus began a life threatening behind the Nazi lines rescue of rare Arabian thoroughbreds by American soldiers. These priceless stallions and brood mares had been kidnaped on orders of Adolph Hitler who hoped to create the perfect horse. They were already as close to perfection as any horse could be and were the world’s most valuable equine prisoners of war hidden in occupied Czechoslovakia. These beautiful Lippanzer horses, some now-white and others blue-black had been stolen from the countries occupied by the Nazis during the war.
Wasting not a minute after Patton’s directive, Hank Reed, a Virginia horseman who was the commanding officer o f the Second Cavalry in Europe sent one of his soldiers, an accomplished rider from Tennessee, to join a Nazi veterinarian, Rudolf Lessing, who it seems was a reluctant Nazi as he appealed directly to American troops to save the horses from the Russians thus risking being tried for treason. Lessing was among a small group of Nazis, all horse lovers, who knew the war was coming to and feared the Russians would take the horses and use them for battle or worse slaughtered to feed starving troops. They worked at night trekking through forests and villages until at last they reached the horses and placed them under American protection before the Russian troops arrived.
Letts does not hesitate to note the sheer evil of Hitler as he sent boxcars filled with human beings to death camps while the prized horses received care. Nonetheless, at heart The Perfect Horse is a story of dauntless courage and a poignant reminder of man’s love for horses. Don’t miss it!