by Timothy Lutts
He’s not really my horse. In fact, I’ve only ridden a horse twice in my life.
The first time was as a child. It didn’t thrill me.
The second time was on vacation in Iceland with my wife and children in 1997. Icelandic horses are small, stocky and hairy, and the experience was novel, but still not thrilling.
The story of “my horse” starts in Chicago, where I attended a publishers’ conference in September 2008. While there, I met a cheerful publisher from New Zealand named Max Bowden and his wife Frances.
Max’s main publication deals with New Zealand politics and economics. You can check it out here.
Max and Frances were stopping in several American cities on their business trip, and we hit it off at dinner one night, so I invited them to stop by our house for a home-cooked meal when they were in Boston.
And they did, on a cold and very rainy September night. My wife made a great hearty soup and more. During that dinner, we learned a lot about life in New Zealand. We learned that Frances, who had a stronger accent, came from the far southern part of the country; I can still remember her wonderful pronunciation of “sheep-shearing shed.” And we learned that Max and Frances also ran a ranch, where they boarded racehorses.
Max and Frances completed their US tour, which included, of course, a trip to New York.
And soon after they returned to New Zealand, we learned by email that they had named one of their newborn foals “The Lutts.”
In February 2011, there was a massive earthquake in Christchurch, which killed 185 people. I sent sympathies, and was saddened to learn that the offices of Max’s business had been “completely destroyed,” though the ranch was fine.
Undaunted, Max cobbled together enough resources to operate out of his home, and gradually built the company back up.
In April 2013, the Boston Marathon bombings gave Max reason to send sympathies my way. Happily, the cost of that tragedy was far lower.
And even more happily, that gave Max the opportunity to tell me that “The Lutts” had won five of his races and had given them “immense pleasure.”
You can see my horse in action below. The race is four minutes long, and it’s not particularly exciting early on. But it is an exciting finish! Enjoy.