“This is not just a book about my mother and her remarkable love story. It is the story of my life, and of some of the amazing people who have formed my attitudes – people who have helped me not only fulfil my dreams, but in some cases to achieve goals far beyond any I’d even dared to imagine.”
Four-time equestrian Olympian Mary Hanna was born both to ride and to compete at the highest level. But she only realised this when she began to examine her mother’s life and to understand how much she had inherited from a feisty and beautiful woman for whom “the horses always came first”. Mary’s original aim was to write an extraordinary life-long love story that began in 1933 when her mother, then 17, met a handsome German naval officer who would later captain the Kormoran, the cruiser responsible for Australia’s worst-ever naval disaster, the 1942 sinking of the HMAS Sydney.
A Long Rein is that story – and so much more. It is a fascinating account of Mary Hanna’s own life and of the amazing men, women – and horses – who inspired her to take on the world’s best riders in Atlanta in 1996, in Sydney in 2000, in Athens in 2004, in London in 2012 and, she hopes, once more in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
A Long Rein not only takes the reader behind the scenes of Mary’s incredible Olympic journey, it reflects on some of the trials in her personal life; from the tragedy of losing her first husband in a car accident, to her brave fight to save her horses from nature’s most deadly force during the devastating fires of Ash Wednesday. Throughout everything, Mary’s horses have remained her constant source of joy and inspiration. In Mary’s own words:
“Horses, like people, can teach you to be tough and resilient. A childhood with horses is a great preparation for whatever life may dish out to you as an adult. They have taught me, enriched my life and taken me on so many wonderful journeys throughout the world.”