The Amazing Adventures of Amurath Santiago is children’s book based on the real life tragedy and triumph story of Kerri Grisham and her family. Real people and real horses with a little twist of fantasy. The book takes us on an adventure with Grisham's daughter Addison and their Arabian Santiago. Through their journey they must show strength no matter the odds, dream big and follow their great ambitions. There is a positive message to kids that you can do anything you want with your life as long as you work hard and never give up. Kerri is living proof anything is possible after her horse riding accident that left her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Yet she has gone on to become very successful.
Grisham says, "We wanted to tell our story with beautiful illustrations that both children and parents would enjoy." The artwork was done by world-renowned Australian equine artist Marian Duncan. "She captured the beauty of this story with bright vibrant colours entwined with fantasy and a dream-like quality." added Grisham. The story was written by Hollywood screenwriter Todd Farmer, Grisham’s business partner and long time friend. Farmer, predominately a horror writer in Hollywood, wanted to work on something he could share with his young daughter, Izzie (who is featured as Addison’s sidekick on the book).
Grisham has been often asked, what makes Santiago and this story so special, isn’t it just a girl and her horse? "Santiago was pretty wild when we bought him. He'd had a rough life and we really weren't sure he'd ever calm down," said Grisham. "Addison was only just a little over a year old when she rushed to Santiago and ran under his belly tickling him while in the cross-ties. It happened so fast there was nothing I could do. Had I rushed in to grab her that could have spooked Santiago. So I sat there calling for Addison to please come to me now. She of course ignored me and grabbed Santiago's legs in a big hug. I feared the worst but Santiago bent down and simply licked her. I knew from that moment there was something very special about him and those two would be a great team."
Addison has grown up with Santiago, they do everything together. She rides him at home bareback, she feeds him, brushes him and does it all. One bit of magic is that Santiago has a heart shaped mark on his forehead. Made even more magical is that fact that Addison was born with a heart shaped birthmark on her forearm. It's as if they were meant to be best friends. At the Australian Arabian National Championships in March of this year, Addison and Santiago stepped into the show ring for the first time and together they won Australian Champion. Santiago and Addison wowed the crowd by their strong bond and how this massive 15.2 hh horse took care of his small seven-year-old child. Its not often you get an international champion show horse go from the show ring to baby sitter taking care of his kid.
He is an ambassador of the Arabian breed, showing the world that they can truly do it all.
Some of Santiago's fans enjoying his book
One of Santiago's little fans watching him in the ring while enjoying his book at Equitana 2013.
Photo credit Dana Russo Lingard
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