Feb 19, 2009

Chosen by a Horse

by Susan Richards

Richards already had three Morgan horses when she adopted Lay Me Down, an abused and injured racehorse, from a rescue operation. When all the other horses in the SPCA corral ran away in terror, this one calmly walked into her trailer on its own initiative. As she relates what it was like to bring her new horse home- integrating Lay Me Down gradually into the rest of the herd, tending to her injuries and illness, getting to know her personality- Richards also tells about how the horse helped her take a new step in her life. Slowly she unfolds her story of pain- her mother's death when she was only five years old, her unhappy childhood among abusive relatives, her lifelong struggle with alcoholism, the bitter ending of her marriage, her subsequent withdrawl from social circles, alone on her farm where she found peace with her horses. The calm, gentle spirit of Lay Me Down touched Richards' heart deeply, giving her the courage to reach out again and try dating, awkward as it was for her in middle-age. When she discovered that Lay Me Down had a debilitating illness, facing the possibility of loosing the horse she loved enabled her to finally come to terms with her mother's death, and heal from a grief she had carried for many, many years.

Chosen by a Horse is a touching memoir, a tender look at the relationship between a woman and her four horses. There were moments that almost brought me to tears (not many books make me cry!), and the ending is very emotional. In addition to a deep affection for horses, the author also loves books and writing. Book-love was only mentioned briefly here and there, not being the focal point of her story, but it was enough to make me feel like she was a kindred spirit. Susan Richards has an easy, conversational writing style that makes you feel like she's sitting right at your kitchen table, telling you her story. And it's definitely one worth hearing. Reading, I mean.

Rating: 3/5                    248 pages, 2006

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Beautiful Mustang


  1. This sounds fantastic Jeane! Thanks for the review. I'm a big fan of memoirs revolving around animals. Looking forward to this one!

  2. You're welcome, Chris. I do hope you like it!

  3. Jeane, I absolutely loved this book, and was very moved by it. Thank you for mentioning the post I did on it over at Not One Sparrow, I really appreciate that. I really enjoyed "The Good Good Pig" as well. Lately, as far as animal-memoir books go, I've really been enjoying "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" (highly recommended) and an older Reader's Digest collection called "Animals Can Be Almost Human."
    best wishes to you, Ben DeVries

  4. Ben- You're welcome! I always try to find interesting posts on other blogs to link to. I also liked The Good Good Pig and Dewey is on my reading list! Thanks for the reading recommendations.

  5. I really appreciate. I've really been enjoying...

  6. Anonymous8/14/2009

    is this a non-fiction book?

  7. Yes, this is non-fiction. It's the author's memoir of a certain time in her life.


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