Riding the world’s wildest horse race
by Lara Prior-Palmer
Pub Date 06 Jun 2019
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'It’s the resistance to the obvious narratives that makes Rough Magic so appealing: the book undermines lazy women-in-the-wilderness tropes at every turn.' Sarah Moss, Guardian
'[Prior-Palmer's] gorgeous, sensual depiction of this race is a literary marvel' NYLON
'Rough Magic is transporting, beguiling and terrifically entertaining' Daily Mail
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.
In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven 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 found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.
A tale of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.
"Feisty and exhilarating . . . Horse lovers will adore this inspiring and spirited memoir." — Kirkus Reviews
"In this sensual, spiritual memoir, Prior-Palmer recounts her grueling journey through immense physical hardship, and her surprising transformation from underdog to champion." — Adrienne Westenfeld, One of Esquire's Best Books to Read This Spring
"Think the next Educated or Wild. Palmer’s memoir of beating the odds to become a horse champion is an inspiring saga of perseverance — and a classic underdog tale." — Entertainment Weekly