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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
From the very title of the book, readers get the sense that Stud is about more than just horses. New Yorker essayist and editor Kevin Conley shows there is money to be made from horses having sex -- or just getting inseminated artificially, for that matter. The sophisticated world of happy horsemanship is a fascinating one indeed -- that is, if cooled horse semen shipped via FedEx in Styrofoam boxes does not make you queasy.
Predicting which horses will have fast offspring is not as easy as it may seem. Though champion thoroughbreds are of undoubtedly good stock, it is sometimes the also-rans that breed Kentucky Derby winners. Stud fees escalate wildly from year to year, with the seed of the top studs sold at exorbitant prices to an exotic international cabal of millionaire gamblers and farm owners. Once the horses' services are bought, the act itself is painstakingly manipulated by human helpers, and even videotaped for protection against potential problems or lawsuits.
Though less inhibited than humans, horses are no less confounding in their mating behavior. The topic is unique, and Stud takes a multifaceted look both at how the horses are primed for the pump and how their humans handle them. Stud does suffer slightly from simple repetition: The underlying humor of the writing is based on the anthropomorphic gaze at horse behavior, and the "tee hee hee" of equine sex is a running joke that tires by the end. Then again, with lines like "Hershey sums up the neighborly disagreement with a fecal briquette" and "This poop-off is followed by a volley of snorts," perhaps we can all afford to chuckle. (Brenn Jones)