Chosen by a Horse (Review)

Labels: A Lighter Touch


Chosen by a Horse
Susan Richards, 2006
248 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
March 2008

My sister Janet, a sucker for horses, handed me this book. Neither of us could resist the beautiful face on the cover. It wouldn't matter if the writing inside were drivel. But it's not. Inside is a lovely story about redemption for both horse and human. Grab a tissue.

Richards, an experienced horsewoman, rescues a half-starved race horse. At first sight of the mare, she's overwhelmed: "I'd never had a horse this sick."

But then Richards isn't so healthy herself, emotionally—and therein lies the story: horse and woman nurse each other back to health. Pretty much.

Have we read this with The Horse Whisperer? Well, yes, but this is a true story and doesn't end quite so pattly. Besides, the story is really about Lay Me Down, the horse; Richard's own story is a sideline.

Richards already owns three horses, so introducing Lay Me Down to the herd is difficult given its rigid hierarchy (school yard bullying has nothing on the paddock) and the jealousy of the arch-bitch Georgia, Richard's favorite mare. Richards chooses Hot Shot, the herd nerd, as companion-of-choice for Lay Me Down. Their meeting is priceless and Hot Shot falls in love. Think I'm indulging in a bit of anthropomorphizing? Perhaps, but read for yourself.

In the meantime, Richards begins dating. Here the story falls flat; the budding romance feels pallid compared to what's going on in the paddock. Hank (Hank?) is a pretty dull homo sapiens; when placed beside equus caballus for our attention—even if you're not a sap for a horse—the guy's a loser.

See our Reading Guide for Chosen by a Horse.

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