Author Vicky Moon will autograph copies of her book Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop Had a Way With Horses in front of our Saratoga Springs, NY location.
Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop (Oct. 5, 1920-Dec. 27, 2004) was one of seventeen children born to a West Virginia family whose ancestors were enslaved. Sent to live with a nearby childless couple as a toddler, she was indulged with fancy dresses and one mesmerizing pony ride that changed her life. Her love of horses took her to the Charles Town racetrack at age fourteen to work as a groom, hot walker and then trainer, all the time fighting sexism and racial bigotry against a backdrop of the swirling Civil Rights movement. She prevailed to break barriers, shatter stereotypes and celebrate countless transforming victories in the winner’s circle with many wealthy clients. As a single mother after two failed marriages, financial reality forced her to take on extra work in the shipping department at a nearby Doubleday publishing factory. Never wavering in her passion, she returned to the track to train horses at age eighty. And finally, with little fanfare, she was honored for her pioneering accomplishments as the first black woman licensed to train racehorses in the United States. This never-before-told story will bring to life Sylvia’s love of horses and demonstrate her resolve and grit in confronting a litany of obstacles. They included the limited opportunity for an education and the precarious odds of getting her fractious Thoroughbred racehorses to the starting gate when factoring in their health and soundness. Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop made her mark in the alluring sport of kings long before the tennis-playing Williams sisters or Olympic track star Jackie Joyner ever made the evening news. She traveled Maryland’s half-mile track racing and fairground circuit in Cumberland, Timonium and Hagerstown. Well past nightfall, she checked on her charges, often mixing poultices for their aching legs and constantly demonstrating her wonderful way with horses.