As a girl in Baltimore County, Md., Betsy Coester spent most of her time with horses, though she never really learned much about the science of training them. Then, as a woman married to a nuclear physicist at the University of Iowa, she found herself settled on a 100-acre farm in country where horses are thought of as useful only to pull the plow when the tractor breaks down.
Like a determined bride plucked from the security of a mother's kitchen, Mrs. Coester filled her bookshelves with the equestrian equivalent of Fanny Farmer and went to work learning to train Iowa horses from the printed page. She did so well at the job that today she has a stable of 42 trained show horses, at least two of which are good enough to compete nationally (SI, Sept. 11). But training horses, Mrs. Coester modestly insists, can't all be done from books. "You have to ride to be able to understand what it is you're reading," she warns.