At the age of thirty-four, Polly Evans finally fulfilled a childhood dream - to learn how to ride a horse. But rather than do so conveniently close to home, she decided to travel to Argentina and saddle up among the gauchos.
Overcoming battered limbs, a steed hell-bent on bolting, and an encounter with the teeth of one very savage dog, Polly cantered through Andean vineyards and galloped beneath snow-capped Patagonian peaks. She survived a hair-raising game of polo and a back-breaking day herding cattle.
Taking a break from riding, she delved into Argentina's tumultuous history: the Europeans' first terrifying acquaintances with the native 'giants'; the sanguinary demise of the early missionaries; and the gruesome drama of Evita's wandering corpse.
ON A HOOF AND A PRAYER is the stampeding story of Polly's journey from timorous equestrian novice to wildly whooping cowgirl. It's a tale of ponies, painkillers and peregrinations - not just around present-day Argentina, but also into the country's glorious and turbulent past.
Polly Evens is very cowardly and not at all fond of danger. She does, however, have an unfortunate tendency to seek out discomfort and sometimes even downright pain. It was this ugly trait that lead her five years ago to throw in her comfortable office job - complete with its twizzly chair and free use of the coffee machine - and to take off on a leg-battering bicycle tour of Spain.
The result of her endeavours was one very sore set of limbs and her first book. 'It's Not About the Tapas', which was short-listed for the WHSmith People's Choice Travel Writing award. She indulged in further escapades the following year, this time swapping pedal-power for a motorbike to go in search of the 'real Kiwi bloke' in New Zealand for her second book, 'Kiwis Might Fly'.
Polly's third book, 'Fried Eggs with Chopsticks' tells the story of her sometimes-desperate battle to tour China by public transport.
Polly Evans' journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the Sunday Times, the Times, the Independent on Sunday and the Guardian. In 2006, she won the Independent on Sunday / Bradt Travel Guides travel writing competition for a piece she wrote about dog-sledding in Canada's Yukon Territory. She was also the winner in 2005 of the British Guild of Travel Writers' Kenneth Westcott Jones Memorial Award for Best Transport Feature, for a piece she wrote about motorcycling in New Zealand. And in 2002 Polly won a Human Rights Press Award for a series of articles she wrote about racism in Hong Kong.
On a Hoof and a Prayer
Random House Australia
Author: Polly Evens
ISBN: 9780553816792 / 0553816799