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My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding is a funny, brave, tender story of self-discovery

'I had spent most of my childhood thinking I was a dog, and suspect I had aged in dog years. By the time I was ten I had discovered the pain of unbearable loss. I had felt joy and jealousy. Most important of all, I knew how to love and how to let myself be loved. All these things I learnt through animals. Horses and dogs were my family and my friends. This is their story as much as it is mine'

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen.

She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life's toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables and the idyllic Hampshire Downs. From the protective Candy to the pot-bellied Valkyrie and the frisky Hattie, each horse and each dog had their own character and their own special part to play.

The running family joke was that "women ain't people". Clare has to prove them wrong, to make her voice heard - but first she had to make sure she had something to say.

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My Animals and Other Family
Average rating
4.6 / 5
February 1st, 2015
I don't read autobiographies very often but I was riveted by this one. From start to finish I loved it. Light hearted, fun, poignant in parts but altogether interesting.
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
The Story Of A Racing Pundit
January 2nd, 2015
A wonderfully insightful look at the earlier life of this well known television presenter. Her seemingly natural television personality has been used to great effect in this story of her formative years. Pathos and humour being delivered in easy fluid style, I look foward to reading more from the pen of Claire Balding.
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1 review
True to herself
December 4th, 2014
The books reads just the way she is in reality, a truly unique and funny woman. Her stories capture her personality perfectly.
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1 review
February 21st, 2013
Yes and disappointed, firstly I'm not what you'd call a "Horse Person" and yet I loved it! A real life honestly told, warts an all. Disappointed, well yes because I've just finished it. Don't stop there Clare, more please.
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1 review

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