________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 1 . . . . August 29, 2008

cover Fosta: Marathon Master. (True Horse Stories).

Judy Andrekson. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2008.
92 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-838-5.

Subject Headings:
Kintamani Fosta (Horse)-Juvenile literature.
Endurance horses-Australia-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Arabian horse-Australia-Biography.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


“I always thought I’d like to try endurance,” she announced during one visit. “I wonder why the Lindsays didn’t use Fosta for it.”

“They thought he was too small,” informed Susan. “But, he has grown a bit since we bought him. He’s around fourteen and a half hands now-still small, but not too bad.”

Nina didn’t own a horse of her own at the time, and offered to ride him for the Walkers. She quickly grew attached to the affectionate little gelding. He was willing to do whatever she put him to, and did it with a friendly, happy spirit that made him a joy to ride.

More and more, her mind went to the sport she knew Fosta had been bred for. She began to read about it, learning what she could through the pages of articles and books. The more she learned, the more she longed to try her hand at the challenge. She had the horse. She needed the opportunity-and a little help.


Many teams enter each year but less than half finish the Shahzada, a challenging five day 400 kilometer endurance test for horse and rider in Australia. The teams that do cross the finish line are considered winners. It was during the 1998 Shahzada in St. Albans, Australia, that a horse named Fosta earned his tenth completion buckle and, by doing so, set a new world record- one that remains standing to this day.

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      From the day he was born, Fosta proved he had the strength and determination to beat the odds. Though he was stolen from and then abandoned by his dam shortly after he was born, Fosta thrived after bonding with a foster mare named Bonnie. But despite his smaller than average size when he was young, Fosta went on to earn 10 out of 11 finishes in the Shahzada. Increasing age, new riders, unfamiliar trails, and harsh weather couldn’t stop Fosta from crossing the finish line- often coming in the top ten. At the end of many of these rides, Fosta frequently received a sash for the top ten Best Conditioned as well. Strong as the horse was, his owners, the Lindsays, almost lost Fosta after the fourth Shahzada ride. While in the pasture, Fosta was bit by a poisonous brown snake. Unable to eat or move, Fosta wasn’t expected to survive. But once again, Fosta proved everyone wrong and won his battle. He regained his strength and continued to be entered in and win endurance rides. His successes at the Shahzada would accumulate into a new world record for most completions in the fewest attempts.

      Judy Andrekson’s book is about a remarkable horse, but it’s also about the people who never gave up on him. These dedicated people saw the potential in a small horse and wanted to help him do well in life. They gave Fosta a loving home, excellent training, and most importantly, a chance to excel.

      Working closely with the people in Fosta’s life, author Judy Andrekson has written a powerful book that honors Fosta and all those who grew to love him. Judy’s passion for horses comes out in this, her fourth book in the “True Horse Stories” series. Born in Nova Scotia, Judy now lives with her family in Alberta where she works as an educational assistant and manages a thoroughbred racing and breeding farm.

      One or two black and white illustrations appear in each chapter of this book. Realistic in style, and varying in size and placement on the page, they show Fosta at different stages of his life. The scenes David Parkins chose to illustrate show Fosta’s high-spirited, gentle personality as well as significant moments in Fosta’s life, including the day he came to fear traffic.

      Fosta will give young readers a deeper understanding of horses and endurance rides and an appreciation of an animal’s spirit and potential.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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