Magna Terra Smoky
by Barbara Jagoda
Trafford Publishing

"Silently, to just myself, but hoping that Smoky could feel the intensity of my dream, I sealed a special pact between us. It was spontaneous and so premature, but it came from within the very depths of my heart and soul."

In the late eighties, Jagoda aspires to train and race Arabian horses. Amid a western landscape of a “never-ending expanse of rolling hills” where herds of buffalo once roamed, she meets and acquires an unwanted young and shy steel-gray colt named Smoky. The colt’s full name is Magna Terra (meaning “big earth”) Smoky. Little does Jagoda know at the time the odds she faces in attaining her goals with this “distant” and difficult” colt in her hands. Mired by health issues, it is with patience, love, sacrifice, and sheer perseverance that she cares for this young horse and finally accomplishes her dreams. All of this happens with the initial support of her first husband, Dick, and later with Bryan Braithwaite and the close-knit community invested in Smoky’s success. Jagoda’s worries and doubts dissipate over the years as Smoky emerges from young colt to award-winning racehorse. Through their arduous journey together, Jagoda and Smoky form a long-lasting and trusting bond in unexpected ways.

Jagoda’s book reads like a journal, sharing the emotional highs and lows of her experiences in horse racing and her personal life. While Jagoda has other horses she trains, it is Smoky’s tale and their demanding and rewarding journey together that she shares, juxtaposing her struggles alongside Smoky’s. She writes about this time in her life and of Smoky with fond affection, chronicling the humor, heartache, triumph, and euphoria of the adventurous relationship between trainer and horse. The reader gets a personal insight into the myriad details of raising horses and the complex world of horse racing. By its end, one understands what it means to invest fully in something to see dreams turn into reality. Black and white photographs and newspaper articles also add to Jagoda's and Smoky’s story for a heartwarming and timeless read.

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