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Chosen by a Horse
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How a broken horse fixed a broken heart

About the Author

Susan Richards has a BA in English from the University of Colorado and a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University. She lives in Olivebridge, New York, with three dogs, two cats, and four horses.

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Psychotherapist and animal lover Richards (writing, Marist Coll., Poughkeepsie, NY) eloquently and movingly recounts her relationship with a horse. Hers is the story of how a removed, emotionally damaged person and an abused animal form a bond that is a godsend for both parties. The author, who normally avoids sick and dying animals and humans alike, agrees to rescue an ailing mare named Lay Me Down and nurses her back to health while marveling at how trusting, kind, and gentle she is despite having been neglected and abused by a former owner. Sadly, the mare develops cancer and eventually has to be euthanized. Though this death is heart-wrenching for Richards, her relationship with the mare has helped her regain the will to reconnect with people and to make important changes in her life. Patrons who like Lauren Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend), Jane Smiley (Horse Heaven), and Susan Nusser (In Service to the Horse: Chronicles of a Labor of Love) will love this book as well. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Patsy Gray, Huntsville P.L., AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"This is an inspirational story of what family means, and what the loss of one can do to us, and for us'' - Boston Globe; "Chosen by a Horse contains several extraordinary action sequences.... It also has moments of great silence and stillness.... I'll never forget Lay Me Down or Hotshot'' - Newsday; "A tender lesson in courage and dependence." - Kirkus Reviews; "Two kindred spirits find each other in this beautifully written memoir about the human-animal bond.'' - Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

The horse was Lay Me Down, a tall, scrawny, sick (with pneumonia), abused standardbred mare, with a hostile foal at her heels and a wheezing sigh. The human was middle-aged, also abused (both as a child and in a bad marriage), an AA veteran and the owner of three Morgan horses in upstate New York. The Morgan mare, Georgia, was furious about the new intruder, although, Richards writes, "I blamed myself for creating a monster, a monster named Georgia. All these years of spoiling her, of never allowing anyone else to ride her, of letting her boss me around...." Richards's first book is an engaging, honest and low-key memoir of her love affair with the sweet-natured Lay Me Down and her almost love affair with a fellow named Hank, with many digressions into horse lore as well as life lore. Charming and sensitive descriptions of fiery Georgia; the gallant, lovable old gelding, Hotshot; loyal friend and "horsewoman extraordinaire" Allie; and daily life with animals intersperse with the trials of dating and buying underwear. The end of neither affair is happy, but this is a bracing and likable book, highly recommended for backyard horsewomen and their admirers. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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