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Horses have feelings too

Local thoroughbred writer hopes to help children with new series

“Claude, the Clumsy Clydesdale” is the first in a new series by local writer Marion Altieri.

“Claude, the Clumsy Clydesdale” is the first in a new series by local writer Marion Altieri.

— Much like her latest character, Claude, Marion Altieri knows what it’s like to be young and feel different.

“When I was a girl, I could be walking on a new sidewalk, smooth as glass, and trip over nothing,” said the Saratoga Springs writer. “I was lousy at gym, not athletic or graceful at all, and I got picked on.”

Her first children’s book, titled “Claude, the Clumsy Clydesdale,” shows Altieri has finally embraced the characteristics that make her unique. She hopes the lovable horse and his pals will help children feel the same.

“I wrote ‘Claude’ because I could identify with him and thought kids could as well,” she said.

At 200 lbs., the Clydesdale is a “perfect specimen” for his breed, but because his animal friends are so much smaller than he is, Clyde feels big and awkward. He starts feeling sorry for himself, but must put those feelings aside when disaster strikes to come to the rescue of his animal friends.

Altieri said the distraction of saving his friends soon makes Claude forget how clumsy he once felt.

“In so doing, he realizes no one else could have done what he did because of his speed and power,” she said. “I hope the kids will know their power comes from inside and when you put yourself aside for others, that’s when you find it.”

Horses are a passion for Altieri.

At the age of four, she rode her first horse. That same year, her mother and grandmother brought her to a thoroughbred racetrack for the first time and she’s been captivated ever since. She is currently the Editorial Director and Head Writer of “Equicurean,” an annual Saratoga-themed magazine featuring horse racing and polo, and is Head Writer for the Saratoga horse racing blog “Mairzy Doats.” She also edits and freelances for various other publications about thoroughbred and Arabian racehorses.

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