Monday, March 21, 2016

Laghat: The Normally Different Horse by Enrico Querci

"A story of courage and trust."

Laghat is a beautiful colt, born to run. The excellent pedigree and the perfect morphology make him an ideal candidate to become a great champion, but a bad disease disrupts his life, menomandolo. His might, at this point, a sad fate already sealed, but the insight, passion and love of the people he meets in his life will enable him to become an outstanding horse. 

This is the true story of Laghat, but also of the characters with him as they run through a more or less long stretch of road. A story told with the lively rhythms of the canter, offering different points of view and unexpected perspectives that surprise by involving the reader from the first page to the last, just like in a race: he will still win, Laghat, teaching us what can become and "normal" being different.

Laghat at the track.
From the Author 
Laghat is now 13 and he is one of the most popular horse in Italy. He really is a nice boy! Currently Laghat is only available in Italian, but I am trying to find an editor for the translation in English.

It's not easy to become a writer at 53 years of age. And it is especially difficult if you want to write a novel and have always been a journalist. And it is even more difficult if you want to write a novel about a race horse and are a horse racing journalist.

Nonetheless I, a horse racing journalist, have decided to write a novel about a thoroughbred.  I don't love risks but I have bet on myself taking off the clothes of a journalist and putting on those of a novelist.

The horse I have decided to talk about is a special horse. He is not a champion, he runs in low level handicap and in selling stakes. He is often ridden by his owner and trainer in amateur races. He is a mature horse because at 12 years of age he is still running and he has won 26 races and this is a rare fact for a thoroughbred. But the peculiarity that makes this horse an extraordinary horse is that he is blind. Yes, he is 100% blind from the right eye and almost totally blind from the left eye. He can "see" shadows, and can perceive sunlight and darkness.

His name is Laghat and he was born in 2003 in Italy. He was a normal horse as a yearling when he caught a virus which made him sick and weak and a mycosis attacked both his eyes. The breeder and his staff tried everything, nurturing and taking care of him. He was closed in a box with the window blackened for three months but unfortunately the horse in the end was definitively blind. The dark brown Laghat has another peculiarity now: light blue eyes that reflect the world around him.

At this point the breeder had to decide what to do with him and what his destiny would be. What can you do with a horse born to run who becomes blind?

The breeder never thought about a definitive, cruel, solution and watching his beautiful blind horse in the paddock he felt that Laghat could be broken and trained. But he needed a special man for his special horse, so he rang up one of his friends, a trainer. This man had trained several group  winners, included an Italian Derby winner in Rome and a Prix d'Isphan winner in Longchamp. And, you know, racing people are a little bit crazy, so the trainer decided to break and train the blind horse. At least he would try to do it.

This is the story of a blind horse but not only, because Laghat couldn't run and win without the people he had and has around him. This is also the story of a young boy who arrived in San Rossore - Pisa from Sardinia to attend the apprentice jockey school and later met the blind horse in the stable where he worked.

It’s also the story of an amateur rider who bought Laghat when he was 4 years old and together they won a lot of races. These two characters tell the story from their point of view.

But there is another narrator who also tells the story from his point of view: Laghat. How does the horse face the disease? How does he perceive the change from a normal life to a life in darkness. What are his fears?

I don't know if my interpretation of Laghat's feelings is correct or not, but I have tried to write what the horse thinks about his illness, about the change from normality to diversity.

This story also tells about the love of men for this horse and about Laghat’s trust in men and how this confidence has allowed him to run and win 26 times.

He really is a special, unusual, horse but in the Italian racing world he was considered "normal". When he was close to winning his 20th race in Spring 2012, after six and a half years from the day of his debut, a famous Italian soccer journalist (and race horse owner as well) went on national television with a special broadcast about him. It caused the "blind horse national case" after which media from all over Italy and from abroad as well came to San Rossore to film, to photograph and to tell and write about the horse.

Laghat became a symbol for all people because he is "a normally different horse" invited by other race tracks as an example on special days dedicated to para athletes or handicapped people.

This is the true story of Laghat and his men and could become the starting point for a screenplay even though Laghat is not as strong and famous as Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, Ruffian or Aldaniti but only the blind horse that wins. A screenplay may be difficult to obtain but an English version of the book may not be so farfetched.

Connect with Enrico…
Enrico Querci
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Facebook page: Laghat il cavallo normalmente diverso
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