Tag: Horse Tales

Racing The Black

… and now the rest of the story!

dad writing


b&w Rearing web
Thought you might like these questions and answers from some students in the Horse Tales Literacy Program.
Enjoy your Sunday Ride.
And stop at the Ranch on your way home:-}

Subject: 4th grade questions

Message Body:
Dear Mr. Farley,
My name is Mr. Dan Range and I co- teach 4th grade vocabulary with Mrs. Garcia
in the Gadsden Elementary school district. We are located in San Luis, Arizona.
During our class time for the last month Mrs. Garcia and I have been reading
your fathers book “The Black Stallion” to the students as a read aloud. We just
finished this morning and the students have some questions that they would like
to ask of you in regards to your father’s book.
1. How did your father develop the character of Alec. Was he based on people he
knew in school or was there a particular family member that resembled his
2. Is the “Black Stallion based on actual events”
3. What made you and you brother decide to continue your father’s legacy in
regards to writing and literacy?
The students enjoyed the story of the Black stallion, so much so that we are
going to show the movie on Friday. Thank you for your commitment to literacy and
for writing and preserving such great American literature. The students look
forward to hearing from you.
Mr. Range and Mrs. Garcia
Arizona Deserts 4th grade class.

Dear Mr. Range, Mrs Garcia and students,
My dad started writing” the Black Stallion” on his parent’s kitchen table when he was only a bit older than your students, sixteen. He had never owned a pony or a horse but had the opportunity to work with his Uncle Bill at a farm in upstate NY. There was plenty of work and many tall tales about horses of all kinds from his uncle. One that was repeated often was about Uncle Bill’s experience in World War 1;
Bill served as a veterinarian in the Army Equestrian Corps, there were many horses used in battles at that time. If you have seen the movie “War Horse” it shows the pain and tragedy of that war, and Uncle Bill’s job was to keep the horses sound and fit.
One evening a cry went up that the base camp was being attacked and Bill jumped out of his tent to see a lone man on a huge black horse charging toward him, bomb in hand!! Bill knew that if the solider managed to throw the bomb many of his friends would die and he had to do something NOW. He raised his pistol and fired without hesitation. The shot killed the rider instantly, before he had a moment to react, and he and his bomb fell to the ground harmlessly. Uncle Bill had saved the camp, his friends and officers, he was a hero!
The Captain of the base was so impressed by Bill’s swift action he asked him what he wanted as a reward. Uncle Bill knew exactly what he wanted – that Huge Black Stallion!
From then on the German horse and Bill were inseparable – traveling all over Europe as war raged and, like Alexander The Great’s horse Bucephalus, he saved Uncle Bill’s life more than once. Finally the war finished and it was time to go home. Like thousands of other soldiers Bill made his way to France where he was to board a ship back to America. When he arrived he soon learned there was no room for his most important possession, his horse. He had to make a painful decision – his family or his stallion.
Bill found a farmer in a nearby town who would take his beautiful black stallion and with tears in his eyes he left Black with the farmer, promising to return soon.
It was years later before Bill could get the money to go back but that big horse was a treasure he wasn’t going to lose! His big stallion became the sire of many fine race horses for Uncle Bill, who treated him with love and care for the rest of his life.
This is the way the story was told to me.

I believe this family tale and Dad’s wish to be an adventurer created Alec Ramsay. Often as my father would run on the beach, he was a track runner in school, and I would wonder who he was – Alec or the Black? He seemed to be both of them at different times but his fascination with horses of all types and that special feeling of connection between human and animal was a constant. Dad didn’t want sad stories about horses, books like “Black Beauty” and later “King of the Wind”, he wanted exciting adventure and wild horses! The Black Stallion gave him the ability to meet people in all walks of life from jockeys and trainers to presidents, kings and movie stars. He was able to ride the Black Stallion around the world doing what he like best – having adventures and writing about horses.
You never know where your dreams might take you!

I grew up with my dad’s closest friend, the Black Stallion, and he was a real part of the family. Dad was able to own a few horses later in life but that special mystery horse was the BIG brother of the family. When I was just out of college I started working on the Black Stallion films as a photographer (attached pix). That was an fantastic adventure that took me from the race tracks of California to the Sahara desert in Africa. I worked with many exciting people and saw magic come to life – like the rainbow scenes at the end of the Black Stallion film.
We started our literacy program with family friend Mark Miller and Al-Marah Arabians. Mark was best friends with my sister Pam and she is the inspiration for the books “Black Stallion and the Girl” and “Black Stallion Legend”.
Mark had a wonderful horse theater, Arabian Nights, in Orlando, Florida and I always hoped we could do something together. Horse Tales started as a small idea that used my dad’s books and his horses to tell a story that made reading fun. It was hard at the beginning but after the first year we knew we couldn’t stop – too many teachers and students enjoyed the program. We’ve now had over a million students participate in ten states and three countries.

You can read more about my dad’s life; https://theblackstallion.com/web/author/
Don’t forget to join the forum – you never know who you might meet there; https://theblackstallion.com/web/mb/
We have contests and discussion about horses, writing, movies … all kinds of topics.
Join us on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/alec.ramsay.96
Check up on the happenings at the Florida farm on FaceBook; https://www.facebook.com/almaraharabianhorses
And in Arizona; http://www.al-marah.com/
Thanks for writing … and reading!
Tim & Pamela Farley


Walter Farley Newspaper Article

Here’s a nice article that is in the Herald Tribune newspaper today about Dad and his literary landmark at the Venice Public Library.
Hope you get to visit sometime!

NEW: Walter Farley’s legacy lives on at Venice library

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.

Dale White
The Walter Farley Literary Landmark in the children’s wing of the Venice Area Public Library is a showcase of memorabilia about the famous author of “The Black Stallion.”


The popularity of most children’s book authors may come and go with each generation.

Just a few years ago, though, when Random House released a hardback reproduction of the original 1941 edition of “The Black Stallion” by the late Walter Farley, it found no shortage of eager fans.

That hardcover edition continues to sell, with new and returning readers posting enthusiastic reviews on bookselling websites such as Amazon.com.

Today an exhibit about Farley, who lived in Venice for decades, continues to be a drawing card at the Venice Public Library — which he and his wife Rosemary helped get built more than 47 years ago.

County library system director Sarabeth Kalajian worked at the Venice library and remembers Farley well.

“He was a frequent visitor to the library and would come and hang out with the kids,” Kalajian said. “He was definitely fun-loving, always inquisitive, always doing research… Young readers today still really love his stories. They are adventures that take you to far-off places. Some have an element of mystery. The relationship of a youngster and a horse is an appealing theme.”

“The books are wonderful,” Nancy Pike, a former head of the Venice library who helped create the Farley exhibit there. “The message they give of ‘follow your dream’ is a universal message that never grows old.”

Who was Walter Farley?

Growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., and New York City, Farley — the son of an assistant hotel manager — never owned a horse but had opportunities to visit the stables of his uncle, a professional horse trainer.

While still attending high school in Brooklyn, he started work on what would become his first and most popular novel. Millions became enchanted by “The Black Stallion,” the story of a boy and a horse that survive a shipwreck.

In 1941, Random House published the book while Farley was still an undergraduate at Columbia University.

After service in World War II, Farley pursued a successful career as a children’s book author — writing sequels to “The Black Stallion” and many other books.

Shortly after the war, he and his wife started splitting time between their beach home in Venice and their farm in Pennsylvania.

He died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in October 1989 after suffering a heart attack, just a few months after the Venice Public Library unveiled an exhibit about him and shortly before the publication of his final book, “The Young Black Stallion.”

Rosemary Farley, 94, died March 6 at her Venice home.

The Hollywood versions

Farley rejected offers from Disney and others to make a movie of “The Black Stallion” because the producers wanted to alter the story.

He eventually agreed to let Francis Ford Coppola produce the popular 1979 film of the same title, which critic Pauline Kael wrote “may be the greatest children’s movie ever made.”

The TV show inspired by the book and movie, “The Adventures of the Black Stallion,” lasted 78 episodes and still sells on DVD.

In his own words

Farley, in a 1980 interview with the Herald-Tribune: “When I look back on it, writing has been the perfect career for me. As I’ve said before, I’m a professional observer and I like to put my observations on paper. I suppose if I hadn’t become a writer I would have found a career related to my interest in horses.”

A ‘Literary Landmark’

When the Venice Public Library unveiled an exhibit about Farley in its children’s wing in 1989, it called the glass-enclosed showcase the “Walter Farley Literary Landmark.”

Today, the exhibit still contains Farley’s typewriter, saddle and many personal letters and photos.

His son, Tim Farley, maintains an active website about his father’s legacy, TheBlackStallion.com, and, in his memory, oversees the Horse Tales Literacy Project, which encourages children to read.

Thanks Dale! – Enjoy the Ride!


Fun Horse Tales events!

horse tales glendaIMG_5546

There were some GREAT Horse Tales Literacy Project events this month. Hope you had a chance to be part of the fun.  And for all the hard work from our incredible volunteers a BIG THANK YOU!! Check Out all the photos;  HERE – http://horsetalesliteracy.phanfare.com/2013/

From Old town Tucson to the Wildwoods of Florida with all the cowboys and the mounted police, too! We have a fine time.

If you ever have a day, or even a minute, and want to join in — please send us an email :    Horse Tales Literacy Project

We’ll always love and miss you Mrs. T !!DSC00080