SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ — On the eve of the London Games, Elizabeth Mitchell’s new Byliner Original The Fire Horse tells the highly unlikely—and incredibly life-affirming—story of Neville Bardos, a horse that barely survived a terrible barn fire last year, his relationship with his devoted rider, Boyd Martin, and their journey together to the 2012 Olympics.
A decade ago, Neville appeared a likely candidate for the glue factory when Australian Boyd Martin saw his potential and bought him for $850, naming him, fittingly, after a notorious local gangster. The two of them worked their way up to the top rankings in the competitive international circuit of three-day eventing, which includes dressage, show jumping, and cross-country. The future was bright.
Then, on May 30, 2011, the barn Neville shared with ten other horses caught fire. Knocking out a fireman who was trying to stop him, Martin, wearing flip-flops, ran into the burning barn to find Neville. The horse’s lungs were scorched black, and he faced the fight of his life just to survive. Vets doubted that Neville would make it, and they were sure he’d never compete again. But Martin never gave up on his horse.
The Fire Horse book cover. (PRNewsFoto/Byliner) Click to enlarge.
The Fire Horse chronicles the true story of a friendship between horse and rider, one that is so strong, it has carried them through their respective hard times to the brink of legend. When he began riding Neville, Martin was something of a long shot himself, having once pretended to be an expert on breaking horses on the basis of a single book he read on the way to taking his first job as a trainer.
But over the next ten years, he and Neville developed a hard-won appreciation for each other, and after Martin’s father died and the barn fire killed half of his prize horses, it was his relationship with Neville that brought him through those dark days. Boyd Martin would say Neville saved his life. Now they’re in London as members of the U.S. Olympic team.
The Equestrian Competition takes place July 28–31. Boyd Martin is a favorite to medal. Neville is his alternate horse and will turn 13 on August 1.
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)