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The Horsewoman

The Horsewoman By James Patterson Summary

The Horsewoman: Maggie Atwood and Becky McCabe, mother and daughter, both champion riders, vowed to never, ever, go up against one another. 
Until the tense, harrowing competitions leading to the Paris Olympics. 
Mother and daughter share a dream: to be the best horsewoman in the world.
Coronado is Maggie’s horse. An absolutely top-tier Belgian warmblood. 
Sky is Becky’s horse. A small, speedy Dutch warmblood. 
Only James Patterson could bring you such breakneck speed, hair-raising thrills and spills.  
Only hall of fame sportswriter Mike Lupica could make it all so real.

About the Author

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author. The creator of Alex Cross, he has produced more enduring fictional heroes than any other novelist alive. He lives in Florida with his family.

Mike Lupica is a veteran sports columnist—spending most of his career with the New York Daily News—who is now a member of the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. For three decades, he was a panelist on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. As a novelist, he has written sixteen New York Times bestsellers. His daughter has been a competitive rider since the age of ten.

The Horsewoman By James Patterson Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

EVEN IN A HORSE FAMILY, I was the black sheep.

I was late getting to the barn the morning everything changed, for me and for all of us. Even the horses.

It was said at Atwood Farm that I was operating on Becky Standard Time. BST. Whenever I made excuses for being late, my trainer, Daniel, shortened it to BS.

New Year’s Eve was still a few days away, but today my reason was simple enough: I’d been out way too late the night before and ended up crashing at a friend’s house, where I’d blown through two alarms on my phone.

Sunday night was party night for the horse people in Wellington, a Florida town built around the horse business—the Winter Equestrian Festival, the dressage show across Southshore Boulevard, and the Masters Series for jumpers at Deeridge Farm.

There were no events at the WEF on Monday or Tuesday, so I headed out with riders and trainers and grooms and owners, even the polo players who’d spent the weekend competing at the International Polo Club. I was one of those college kids who liked to party.

I hadn’t learned anything about riding last night. But I had woken up with the Monday-morning lesson that drinking tequila with polo players makes me feel as if one of them had taken a mallet and hit me in the head.

My name is Becky McCabe. Short for Rebecca. Just Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm—one of the stories my mom used to read to me when I was little—but Rebecca of Atwood Farm, owned by my grandmother, Caroline Atwood.

She’d never been a Granny or Gran or some other nickname. That wasn’t her. She was just “Grandmother.” Or “Caroline.” Nothing more cuddly than that. “The grandmother,” like it was her official position, was another way I thought of her, maybe the way that described her best.

“Your mother’s on her way to the Olympics,” Grandmother had said the night before. “And you’re on your way to the bar.”

I’d grown up watching her stop horses in the ring with just the snap of her voice, like she was cracking a whip. I once told her during an argument that she was a lot like those horses—only they were nicer.

“I’m not Mom,” I said.

“Not exactly breaking news at this point,” Grandmother said.

“You keep forgetting I’m twenty-one, Grandmother,” I said.

And proud of it,” she said.

She was seventy-two, proud that she still owned the barn that she and her late husband, Clint, a legendary horseman, my grandfather, had built together. She was still a great beauty, even in an Atwood Farm navy windbreaker, jeans, and boots, her steel-gray hair pulled into a ponytail. I could see Mom in her. And myself.

Now I was pulling into the driveway at nine thirty—no one at Atwood Farm’s definition of an early start time—having just blown through a couple of lights on Southshore Boulevard, hoping this might be the one morning of the whole year—or of her whole life—when my mom, Maggie, had gotten a late start on her trail ride.

No chance.

Noticing again how run-down our barn looked from the outside, I ran for the tack room, where I kept spare riding clothes in a locker. One of our grooms, Emilio, was leaning against the wall where the bridles were hung, arms crossed in front of him and sadly shaking his head.

You got left behind, chiquita,” Emilio said.

“How long ago did she leave?”

He pulled out his phone and squinted at it.

Thirty-one minutes,” he said. “And counting.”

“How pissed was she?” I said.

Not any more than usual,” he said.

“You think I should try to catch up with her?”

“Was me, chiquita?” Emilio said, grinning at me now. “I would saddle up on Sky and start riding south and maybe not be stopping until I got to the Florida Keys.

Sky was my horse. My baby. Technically she was a gray, even dark gray as a colt. But more white now. A Dutch warmblood. Riding horse bred to be a jumper. Smaller than Mom’s horse, Coronado, by a lot. We’d found out about her from a trainer moving back to Ireland. When I saw her, I’d fallen in love with her after riding her just one time. All it took.

Mom and Dad were divorced by then, and we couldn’t afford to buy another horse. But when I told Dad about Sky, he bought her for me. Called it an early birthday present. Now the little horse was my best friend in the world.

Sky seemed to love me just the way I was. I loved her even more fiercely back. She didn’t want me to work harder, or win more, or party less. Or wake up earlier. It didn’t matter to her that Maggie Atwood had been a champion from the time she’d been the age I was now.

She was Atwood, by the way, and I was McCabe because she’d given up my dad’s name after the divorce. I’d kept it. People sometimes wondered if we were even related.

Oh, Sky and I had won our share of jumping events over the years. At our best, we were a perfect, fearless match. Even after Sky had knocked down a rail or two and taken us out of the running for a ribbon, I’d come out of the ring and see that our time was five seconds faster than anybody else’s. And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t feel sad about that.

It was why my trainer, Daniel, had taken to calling me Maverick, after the character Tom Cruise played in Top Gun.

“You have the need,” he’d said, “for speed.”

“I’m not still in pony camp,” I’d said. “I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”

When?” he’d said. “Or if?”

Where I pushed boundaries, Mom was precise. We were all sure she’d be riding Coronado in the Olympics in Paris late next summer. She was one of the best riders in the country. Trying to prove she was one of the best in the world.

Mom only went as fast as she needed to when she was in the ring. Even when one of her horses refused a jump at the last second, I had never seen her fall off. Other riders, sure. It had happened to me plenty of times. Her? Never.

In every area of life, she stayed in her lane, and excelled there. She wasn’t reckless. Didn’t take chances. Even when she and Coronado got a bad start in the ring, I’d watch her figure things out in the next half minute. Sometimes sooner. Like she’d hit a reset button.

We didn’t need a handyman at Atwood Farm as long as Mom was around. If something broke, she put it back together. A saddle. A bridle. A spur.

Wonder Woman, the horsewoman.

Don’t get me wrong: We loved each other. A lot. We were just different.

A lot.

It’s why Mom and Grandmother—and Daniel—believed that Sky and I weren’t at our best often enough, that I wasn’t the champion they needed me to be.

One of the beauties of our sport is that men and women compete against each other, from the time they’re teenagers until some of them are past sixty.

Maggie Atwood didn’t only aspire to being an Olympic equestrian, she was a serious gym rat. She was on the clock with an exercise class, followed by a session at the gym, and a massage booked for after that. She couldn’t afford to waste precious minutes waiting for me.

Another time fault for Becky McCabe.

Emilio said he’d throw a saddle on Sky. In the bathroom next to the tack room, I got into my riding pants and boots and helmet, came out and took the reins from Emilio and started walking Sky toward the schooling ring. It was then that I heard shouting, saw Daniel and Emilio running toward the main road.

Then I saw why.

Mom’s horse, Coronado, her ride to the Olympics, was coming straight for them, at full gallop, as if he were the one feeling the need for speed.

Daniel took charge, motioning for Emilio to fan out from the out-of-control horse, protect themselves from being trampled.

No shouting from them now. They had their arms out in front of them, trying to calm Coronado, slow him down.

Usually that would have been the rider’s job.

Mom’s job.

But Coronado’s saddle was empty.


“HE KNEW ENOUGH to come home,” Daniel said to me.

Home meant the barn.

One firm barn rule was that nobody went out on a trail ride alone. Mom had just done it—her idea of being a maverick. Now I had to break that same rule if I had any chance of saving her.

In my heart I knew that if the situation were reversed, Mom would jump on Sky and ride all the way to the Florida turnpike and back if that’s what it took to find me.

Now I jumped off Sky, handed her reins to George, one of the other grooms, and moved closer to Daniel and Emilio, keeping my distance, not wanting Coronado to spook more than he already had.

Then Daniel slowly reached for the horse’s bridle, talking softly to him in Spanish now. As he did, I came in behind them and put a foot in the stirrup closest to me.

“Let me go find her,” Daniel said.

No,” I said.

He put his hand on my arm. I looked down, glaring his hand away.

My mom,” I said. “Her horse.

We had a brief stare-down, until he nodded and let go of the bridle.

Emilio gave me a leg up into the saddle. Mom’s saddle. Her horse. They were connected in the same way I was connected to Sky.

When I was on Sky and trying to get the distance between jumps exactly right, I was never really sure how much of it was me and how much of it was a combination of her breeding and training and instinct and even muscle memory. In those moments of trust between horse and rider, it was as if we were sharing one brain.

There was always a mystery, even some magic, to what horses knew. And didn’t.

Now I wanted Coronado to know where Mom was, and take me to her.


I’D RIDDEN CORONADO plenty, worked him out when Mom and Caroline traveled to look at horses for the barn, even jumped him one time when Mom was down with the flu.

This time I was just along for the ride, headed back out the trail along the Palm Beach Point canal, past the Nason barn next to the huge new barn being built by Wellington newcomers, a Kentucky family with money to burn.

Usually, I loved being out here, loved the solitude of it and the quiet and the open space. Mom said she did, too, though sometimes I got more enjoyment when Mom wasn’t with me.

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The Horsewoman

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Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN0316499773, 978-0316499774
Posted onJanuary 10, 2022
Page Count448 pages
AuthorJames Patterson, Mike Lupica

The Horsewoman By James Patterson PDF Free Download - Epicpdf

The Horsewoman: Maggie Atwood and Becky McCabe, mother and daughter, both champion riders, vowed to never, ever, go up against one another.  Until the tense, harrowing competitions leading to the Paris Olympics.  Mother and daughter share a dream: to be the best horsewoman in the world. Coronado is Maggie’s horse. An absolutely top-tier Belgian warmblood. Sky is Becky’s horse. A small, speedy Dutch warmblood.  Only James Patterson could bring you such breakneck speed, hair-raising thrills and spills.   Only hall of fame sportswriter Mike Lupica could make it all so real.


Author: James Patterson, Mike Lupica

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