May 12, 2010

Chosen By A Horse

On Friday evening, following the Friday Before Mother’s Day Ride, I turned Windy out into the pasture with the rest of the herd. I vegged most of the day on Saturday, only slightly disappointed to find it warmer than I had thought it would be when I finally went outside later that afternoon. It’s been cloudy, dreary and raining since. So I have no horse time to report so thought I would do a book report.

I believe I’ve mentioned a few times that for my birthday this past March, a friend gave me the audio book Chosen by a Horse. A memoir by Susan Richards, the premise of the book is that in healing the horse, the author healed herself. The book opens to find the forty-something-year-old Susan Richards about to foster a mare that is near starved, with a serious respiratory infection, and a foal at her side. Susan, having a small herd of near geriatric horses herself, has never taken on anything like this before and not sure really what drove her to take part in it now.

The book focuses on perhaps eighteen months in which this horse was in her care, but takes you back to the author’s childhood. She lost her mother when she was very small; her father abandoned her and her brother and they were raised by numerous relatives, none of which rolled out the welcome mat. Probably the only plus in her young life was her introduction to horses by a grandmother and it was horses that seemed to be the one constant in her life.

As she nursed the mare named Lay Me Down back to health, she started to think about her own life and why she wasn’t as trusting as the bay mare that trusted her unconditionally. And slowly she opened her own heart once again. Yes, perhaps a bit cliché, but I think all of us who love horses understand. I especially enjoyed Lay Me Down’s interaction with Susan’s other horses, the pecking orders she described and the joy her own mare, Georgia, brought into her life.

The book was very well written in my opinion. I wonder though, if a non-horse person would see the role in which Lay Me Down played in the transformation of the author. I am not sure they would understand that the horse very subtly brings out something in us unlike what we feel in our friendships, love life or as a parent, but just as strong. The horse’s size alone requires more of a commitment than we give to our household pets. And in return, we trust these beautiful beasts to let us climb upon their backs, with only 2 strips of leather and faith in our hands. Incredible, huh?

If you have an opportunity to read Chosen by a Horse, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Be sure and keep a Kleenex (or 10!) handy. You can find information on this book and other books by Susan Richards at

If you've read this book, I'd love to read your comments.


  1. I have read this book and I thought it was pretty good. And yes, a few tissues are in order at the end.

  2. I have read this too, it was excellent! I recieved the sequal for my birthday, I have yet to read it, I hope it is as good as the first!

  3. I read this book. Made me cry! go figure! great topic! I don't have the sequel. I'll have to get it!

  4. This is one of my all time favorite books. I have bought and gifted and loaned this book out to friends quite a few times over the past couple years.

    Ironically I didn't own a horse when I bought this book for myself and even though I've always loved horses, I didn't grow up with them, nor did I own any until I was in my 40's.

    But like Black Beauty and so many other horse books that speak about how horses touch the soul and heal broken hearts and show us their beauty and willingness, I could easily relate to and understand this book and the author's writing. I also could relate to the character as well.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, too.

    I didn't realize there was a sequel. I'll have to look it up.


  5. Oh my goodness, I need to read this book! It sounds perfect for me right now considering what's been going on--losing my mom and my horse Lowdown coming back into my life!

    I don't think non-horsey people can understand the special bond we have with horses and how they touch the soul and heal broken hearts, like Lisa said. It is very mysterious and powerful. I'm getting this book!

  6. Tammy, this sounds like a good book!
    Thanks for the review~

    I think I will "time the applications" of the "EASY WALKER" horseshoes to fit my summer and then, winter riding schedule. DID you go to the web site?
    My new farrier guy will charge me more for the shoes than if I bought them myself...thinking about ordering one or two sets. Saving his markup price.
    Will let you know how they go! I have NEVER shod Wa before...and these seem to make a difference because they concuss the same as barefoot.

  7. I haven't read this book nor heard of it that I can recall. Sounds like I should track it down though. Horses have definitely been healing in my life.

  8. Sounds like a must read. I'm adding it to my list. Thanks for the review.

  9. How did the "EB Gloves" work today?
    I lost a boot- on the way home from my lesson...Arrrgggg!!!!


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