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After participating in the Endurance Riding scene for many years, best-selling author Claire Eckard never thought that she would one day write a book about one of the greatest stories the sport has ever known. Race Against Time is the story of Kyla Law and her feral Hackney pony Flash as they participate in the toughest 100-mile race in the world. Their story is not just one of perseverance and determination, but one of love and bonding between humans and animals.
“I had been writing a series called Gallant, The Call of The Trail, - a fictional story about a girl and her horse overcoming all odds on their journey to making Tevis Cup history” the author pointed out. “And then, all of a sudden, here they were in real life!”
After asking permission from Kyla’s parents to tell her story, Eckard realized that she had stumbled into something much deeper and more poignant than she had first realized, as she discovered the depth of Kyla and Flash’s bond, and the tragic circumstances that had brought the pair together.
Flash was a pony that had fallen between the cracks–too small for most to ride, even for a Hackney pony, and too feral to be shown. There was no way he could ever participate in the Tevis Cup, a 100-mile, one-day trail ride from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California, - he couldn’t even be touched, let alone ridden - until one day someone came into his life who believed in him, and who saw the potential within.
When Kyla Law, a nine-year old girl, met Flash, she recognized in Flash what she felt in her own heart.
“We will never fully know the extent of what Flash went through before I met him, but he had major anxiety and would shake when anyone came near him.” Kyla shared. “I know what that feels like.”
According to Natalie Law, Kyla’s mother, “Kyla had similar symptoms of trauma having been relentlessly bullied in school. So when she saw Flash for the first time she understood his fear. They were two kindred souls connecting.”
With their bond deepening, Kyla was finally able to ride Flash, but it was a long four-year journey riddled with doubts, fear, injury, and heartache before she ever considered entering Flash in the Tevis Cup.
Their true story became an inspiration to the international community that followed them on their Facebook page The Adventures of Flash the Hackney Pony – something Natalie had started when she saw what an impact Kyla and Flash’s journey was having in the endurance community, and beyond.
“Kyla and Flash's relationship mirrors the journey we must all take in life: one of highs and lows, successes, and failures—theirs just happens to be along a hundred-mile trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Their story exhibits tenacity and pure spirit: the human spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the fire-in-the-soul kind of spirit that helps us climb mountains and cross rivers, literally and figuratively” Eckard writes in the book.
Kyla had also struggled with her Faith and was continually searching for a way to deepen her connection to God and to the Holy Spirit – something that became inexplicably entwined in her journey with Flash.
By the time they crossed the elusive finish line of the 100-mile race, Flash had proved that he could overcome a lifetime of fear and succeed where many other horses had failed, and Kyla had found the deepening of her faith that she had been searching for.
In her own words: “I am a child of God, and always will be.”
Recognizing the life lessons exhibited in their story, Kirk Magleby with Book of Mormon Central jumped on the chance to make a documentary based on Kyla’s experience, and on the family that had supported and helped her every step of the way. Eckard wrote an original song named A Child of God to be featured in the documentary - aptly named Two Enduring Spirits.
“This is a story that will inspire everyone who reads it” Eckard says. “I still cry when I read it, and I’m the one who wrote it!”
The book and documentary will make their debut January 14th at a Red-Carpet Event in St George, Utah. Tickets are available at Cedarfort.com.
Watch the trailer here: