How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse
By Nancy Shulins, 258 pages, 2012 Da Capo Press
The author, an accomplished correspondent for the Associated Press, fills an unfulfilled need for children she is not biologically able to have, with of all things, a horse. The story follows her angst from making peace with what cannot be, through her angst in the adventure of first time horse ownership from 1996 through 2008.
I found the book so relatable on many levels. Her horse, a thoroughbred she names Eli, comes down with every, and I do mean, every health issue known to veterinarians which makes my experiences with horse vets seem minor in comparison. Eli fills up her life in such a way that she ultimately ends up fulfilled and content while learning more about herself along the way.
The book is also very informative about horses and dressage to those who may be unknowledgeable about those subjects, so is good reading for even the non-horse person. There were a few mistakes (who ever heard of a 17.5h horse, I think they meant a 17 and a half hand, or 17.2 hand perhaps) but they can be overlooked by even the pickiest of critical readers because there is so much else that was well described and accurate.
I laughed a little, her writing experience is quite evident. Her turn of phrase and descriptive style should not be taken for granted, you are there with her, sharing her worries and joys. I cried a bit and really overall enjoyed this quick read. Falling for Eli reminded me again, why I fell for each one of my horses and why I would do it all over again.