Tobi Taylor's Journal

News > Friday, December-09-2016

Publication of the new book, Orzel: Scottsdale's Legendary Arabian Stallion

After the completion of The Polish and Russian Arabians of Ed Tweed’s Brusally Ranch in 2013, I was encouraged by fellow writer Kimberly Gatto to consider pitching a book idea to The History Press in Charleston, South Carolina. Given the success of Kimberly’s book on the Olympic jumper Sandsablaze, I thought the publisher might be interested in the story of Ed Tweed’s champion stallion Orzel, the Polish Arabian racing superstar who was called the “Arabian Secretariat” and went on to become a legendary sire. I’d never forgotten my introduction to the magnificent Orzel in 1979, and I felt sure that readers would find his story compelling.

Within weeks of submitting a proposal, I signed a book contract in late 2014, and completed the manuscript in August of the following year. The book -- titled Orzel: Scottsdale's Legendary Arabian Stallion -- appeared in late January 2016, just in time to be available at the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, where Orzel had been named champion stallion in 1970. Fortuitously, the author of the book’s foreword, Stephanie Ruff Corum, had already planned to attend the show to promote Arabian horse racing, so she was able to spend an enjoyable afternoon at the Markel booth with Orzel’s rider, Shelley Groom Trevor, and me, as we visited with passersby, signed books, and of course talked horses. 

Especially surreal to me was the night I spoke at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. As I climbed the stairs to the podium, I flashed back to the many readings I’d been to, as an ‘80s-era Arizona State college student, at the original location of Changing Hands on Mill Avenue. I recalled sitting raptly as Edward Abbey read from what would be his last novel, The Fool’s Progress, being awed by the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz, and reveling in the presence of John Irving, whose charismatic masculinity was more memorable, to me at least, than whatever book he read from. It never occurred to me at the time that I could, or would, read my work anywhere, much less at Changing Hands. Back then, and for decades thereafter, I avoided speaking in public. What I learned this year, from giving presentations about Orzel, and Arabian horses more generally, is that when you’ve lived with your subject as long as I have, and you feel as passionately about it as I do, sharing what you know with a group can be enjoyable. In fact, as I neared the end of the presentation, I realized that, thirty-odd years later, it was now my turn to be the writer connecting with readers, and a new generation of writers, as I shared what has become my life’s work with them at Changing Hands.

Orzel: Scottsdale's Arabian Stallion is available online via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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