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 http://www.susan-richards.com/.
If you've read this book, I'd love to read your comments.