An unforgettable story of men and horses, the American West, and the dream of a ticket out
* A May 2012 Indie Next Pick *
Will Testerman is a young Wyoming horse trainer determined to make something of himself. Money is tight at the family ranch, where he's living again after a disastrous end to his job on the Texas show-horse circuit. He sees his chance with a beautiful quarter horse, a filly that might earn him a reputation, and spends his savings to buy her.
Armed with stories and the confidence of youth, he devotes himself to her training -- first, in the familiar barns and corrals of home, then on a guest ranch in the rugged Absaroka mountains, and, in the final trial, on the glittering, treacherous polo fields of southern California.
With Boleto, Alyson Hagy delivers a masterfully told, exquisitely observed novel about our intimate relationships with animals and money, against the backdrop of a new West that is changing forever.
A restless young cowboy bets it all on a horse he raises from filly to mare in Hagy's (Ghosts of Wyoming) beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. Will Testerman, raised with two brothers on a small ranch in Lost Cabin, Wyo., by a critical father and a mother battling cancer, returns home after a stint grooming show horses in Texas ends in melodramatic disaster. Determined to redeem himself, he spends his hard-earned savings on a "strong-legged filly with papers" and devotes himself to rearing and training her, despite his doubting father and older, more successful brothers. Once through the Wyoming winter, Will works as a "corral boss" on a nearby ranch for the summer before going to the esteemed California "Estanza Flora" ranch to train horses on the polo circuit, a challenging but rewarding job, and where he continues to train and develop his horse. In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse "Boleto" ("ticket"), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West.