Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"The Horse Boy" Rides Today: The Healing Power of Horses Illuminates Our Need to Know More About Autism

"This is a story everyone needs to hear."
--Animal Behaviorist Temple Grandin PhD
(who is also autistic)

Today is the USA release day for the new book The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson, a book that has nothing to do with hooves and everything to do with horses on the most elemental level: the power of horses to let us be ourselves and to bring out the best in us.

If you had a child who needed your help with a massive problem like autism, where would you turn after you had been to all the doctors, all the clinics, and all the psychologists? Would you pace around your own dusty Texas backyard, and then turn to your neighbor's Quarter horse mare, to see if she might be able to help? Horses helped you when you were a child, didn't they? And if she did help him...then what? Would you stop there?

Or would you go to the ends of the earth to try to help your child? If a little bit of horse is good, would a lot of horse be better? Would you set aside all the cultural and belief systems you hold and look for help in a place so strange and foreign that only the smell of the horses was familiar?

If you did those things, it would sound and look like the story and photos in this important new book, the true story of a family on the run toward hope, because they already know it is futile to stand still. "It's important to do something," the experts tell them. But no one expected a young family to take on an adventure like this.

A photo by Justin Hennard who accompanied the family on their Mongolian journey.

You may know someone who works with therapeutic riding programs, a special needs teacher or volunteer, a parent or family member with a child who needs some hope, or someone who believes very strongly in the spiritual power of horses to heal humans on many levels. Please tell those people about this book. However, The Horse Boy is not a how-to book, and it's not a text on autism or horse-assisted therapy: it is one family's story...that happens to be a great adventure.

Here's a short clip from the documentary film made about the family's journey to Mongolia. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah this winter and will be in theaters across the US and Britain this fall.
A year ago the readers of this blog forwarded Molly the Pony's story around the world and back again. If you can possibly forward this post to friends today, it might make the difference to some children or some therapeutic riding programs somewhere. I am sure that the publicity surrounding this book will be wonderful for all who are involved with equine-assisted therapy. Let's get the word out! The copy-and-paste address for this blog post is: http://hoofcare.blogspot.com/2009/04/horse-boy-rides-today-healing-power-of.html The book can be ordered now from Hoofcare Books (see below), or possibly from your local independently-owned bookstore. Editors, journalists: Please contact Fran Jurga about The Horse Boy's horse-related publicity. Click here to read an article about the book in today's edition of the New York Times. Ordering info: Mail checks in US funds to Hoofcare/Horse Boy, 19 Harbor Loop, Gloucester MA 01930. Tel orders 978 281 3222; Fax orders to 978 283 8775; email orders horseboy@hoofcare.com. Cost per book: $25 plus US postage: $6 first book, $4 each additional book. Canada and the rest of the world: $25 per book plus $13 post per book. Note: postage rates subject to change without notice. Please include telephone and/or email contact information with all orders. THE HORSE BOY was published in the USA by Little,Brown on April 14, 2009; it is 368 pages, hardcover with dust jacket, color photographs. Click here to download a printable/mailable/faxable order form.


Heidi Meyer said...

Those of us afflicted with the "horse" disease (for me it must have happened at birth) we do understand the powerful relationship between human and horse...on a physical and emotional level.
Without my own horses and those I was fortunate enough to come in contact with, I probably wouldn't be here today.
No matter what dicipline, or age, or breeding, or training, the basic interaction between human and equid is remarkable, powerful, and necessary. We have only begun to understand.

Cargo & Lene said...

I dont believe Autism can be cured, but I know for a fact that autistic people can learn to imitate the behaviour of NT (Neurotypical/Normal) people, and animals can be a huge aid in this, because they are unconditional. I was diagnosed with Aspergers and my parents were told I'd never move out, never have a job, never marry..

I've graduated High School, some College, and finish another education in June, already have a job in my field, on the same level as everybody else. The horse is Basse, old, neglected, arthritic, and the kindest horse I ever met, I absolutely had to buy her from the lesson barn, and I still miss her even though it's been 7 months, 9 hours and 5 minutes since she left this world. I'm glad you wrote about this, hoperfully more people will learn and give the children of this world another chance, maybe not flying to Mongolia, but allow them to brush and care for the horses, who knows, an entire existence might be created by very simple acts of kindness.