Saturday, Sep. 23, 2023


F. Turner Reuter Jr. The National Sporting Library, P.O. Box 1335, Middleburg, VA 20118. 880 pp. Photographs. 2008. $195.



F. Turner Reuter Jr. The National Sporting Library, P.O. Box 1335, Middleburg, VA 20118. 880 pp. Photographs. 2008. $195.

If sporting art is your passion, this is a book that should stake a major claim in your library. Author F. Turner Reuter Jr. has spent most of his life immersed in the sporting life, and his love of sporting art and almost 40 years as a collector and dealer have provided him the deep well of knowledge to produce what will surely become “The Bible” for sporting art aficionados.

While the cost of the book—$195 or $495 for a signed and numbered slip covered limited edition version—is substantial, once you open the book you’ll see that the old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true.

This is the first book devoted solely to chronicling sporting artists in the United States, over a period of almost 400 years, and Reuter includes 2,384 artist biographies for artists born before the end of 1936. The biographies include a wide range of information, from the artist’s birthplace to his hobbies, education, major works, to his club and association memberships, and institutions holding his works.

Reuter includes well-known artists such as John James Audubon (one of the artists who initially inspired his love of sporting artwork), Frederic Remington, Andrew Wyeth, Franklin Voss and Edward Troye to less famous but often equally important artists who helped pave the way for sporting art in early America.

The artists are presented alphabetically, with black-and-white photographs of artwork interspersed throughout the text. Nearly 100 colored plates are grouped in one section in the center of the book. While I understand the costs associated with publishing a book of this magnitude, including more of the artwork in color—especially pieces produced by those more obscure artists whom we might not know—would take this book to yet another level.

It’s obvious that Reuter, the curator of fine arts at The National Sporting Library, has methodically researched these artists. Specific sections on Standards and Statistics (quite fascinating), and a list of Sources (with abbreviations used through the text) will assist those who desire to delve deeper.


Although this may not be the book you’d curl up with beside the fire on a cold winter night, it will be the one you’ll continually seek out whenever you desire more information about a sporting artist whose work you see in a museum, gallery or even on the Chronicle’s cover.

Tricia Booker

Vicky Moon. Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1745 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10019. 256 pp. 2008. Hardcover, color photographs. $65.

If you’re in the hunt for a nice coffee table book, Vicky Moon’s latest book, called Equestrian Style: Home Design, Couture And Collections From The Eclectic To The Elegant, is sure to please almost any horse lover.

Boasting 450 beautiful photographs, Moon’s book offers a glimpse into equestrian-inspired art, home décor and fashion in homes and barns across the country. Foxhunting, flat racing, steeplechasing, polo, driving, hunter/jumper and the Olympic disciplines are all represented in this colorful, glossy glorification of style. While the occasional photo lacks quality and the captions are often disappointing generalizations, most pages are a feast for equestrians’ eyes.

Whether she’s delving into the use of bits as a classic icon in mainstream fashion or going behind the scenes to tell the story of “The Horse In Snowden’s Room” at Snowden Clarke’s Los Angeles, Calif., home stable, Moon is clearly adept at communicating and illustrating the nuances of this rich niche.

The chapter topics vary widely—from holiday celebrations and hunt balls to Georgina Bloomberg’s riding attire charity to international shipping for horses. Divided into six parts with poetic titles like “In The Field,” “On The Move” or “At The Track,” Equestrian Style is broken down into chapters that seem to actually be complete non-sequiturs from one to the next. The book hops, for instance, from a section about the history of side-saddle competition to a chapter about the equestrian theme in comedian George Lopez’s daughter’s bedroom. But as it’s a coffee table book, the gorgeous presentation of the subjects makes up for any confusion about the thematic flow.
Moon gives every equine enthusiast something to drool over in her latest production. 

Kat Netzler


Julia Wendell. The Galileo Press, Ltd. 3637 Blackrock Road, Upperco, MD 21155. 402 pp. Photographs. 2009. $25.

Finding My Distance
grabbed my attention and my emotions from the first pages and never let go. As I read the last page of the memoir about a year in the life of eventer Julia Wendell, I found myself wondering, “What happened next?”

I’ve read eventing autobiographies before. Generally, I speed through these books, galloping across the pages from one four-star to the next, flipping back and forth to keep track of the horses, and grinning about the occasional juicy gossip tidbit. Finding My Distance wasn’t anything like that.

Yes, it’s the story of an upper-level event rider aiming for a big event, but Wendell’s tale is no Pony Club to four-star whirlwind. Although technically a professional, Wendell didn’t start eventing until she was an adult, and her struggles to make sense of her relationship with horses and horse competition will strike a chord with riders at any level.

I enjoyed reading about her competitions and her day-to-day life, but it was her commitment to recording even the most intimate details of her emotional ups and downs that made her account so memorable. Wendell captured the heartbreak and hope of horses that keeps us all coming back time after time no matter the catastrophe.

The writing is lyric, almost stream of consciousness at times, and Wendell, who is also a poet, intersperses her poetry with her prose throughout the book. I read it a few pages at a time, savoring her triumphs and crossing my fingers when her luck started to turn bad once again. Tales of her family and farm animals add some levity to the story but also illustrate the larger lessons that horses teach.

And one of the best things about this book is that all the profits from sales will be donated to Kim Meier, one of Wendell’s coaches who was paralyzed from the neck down in a riding accident. 

Sara Lieser




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