Anneli Drummond-Hay's autobiography is a fascinating insight into the making of an equestrian champion through her struggle for survival. It is a heart-warming story of a war baby with aristocratic connections, who grew up with very little money and even less love. She never went to school, she had no friends growing up, but she did have a gift with the horses in which she sought solace.
The big love story of her life was one particularly special horse, Merely-A-Monarch. He was invincible in eventing, but as female eventers were not permitted to compete in the Olympics in that era, Anneli switched to show jumping. She came so close to going to three Olympics but was foiled at the last moment each time, despite winning just about everything else in the sport.
Besides her wonderful horses, Anneli gives amazing account of the people she met – from Harvey Smith to the Queen, in front of whom she was asked to lend her horse for the British Olympic effort, and refused; to her asking a favour, in person, of Colonel Gaddafi.
The jet-set life of an elite show jumper may be glamorous but there are more lows than highs, whether it’s her top ride being stolen, a potential plane disaster above the Alps, or the sudden death of a star horse.
As The Princess Royal so rightly says in the foreword to this book: 'Thank goodness Anneli decided to write her story.'