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Dancer on the Grass; True Stories about Horses and People
     

Dancer on the Grass; True Stories about Horses and People

5.0 3
by Teresa Tsimmu Martino, Teresa Tsimmu Martino
 

I met my first horse when I could barely walk. Stumbling into a pasture with a young stallion, I gripped his legs and pulled myself upright....My parents found me later, and it was no surprise to them that my life turned into a career with the four-legged spirits that grace the grass.

In this book Teresa Martino tells the story of that career with horses. She

Overview

I met my first horse when I could barely walk. Stumbling into a pasture with a young stallion, I gripped his legs and pulled myself upright....My parents found me later, and it was no surprise to them that my life turned into a career with the four-legged spirits that grace the grass.

In this book Teresa Martino tells the story of that career with horses. She writes of Casey, who jumped a girl over her mother's car as a rite of passage; of Pepper, who was embarrassed by his name; of The Corinthian, who defined what it is to be a champion. She also writes of horse people -- the riders, grooms, coaches, and students -- she's worked with over the years. In Martino's world, both horses and people are as "varied as the stars" and her tales about the ones she's known will speak to every animal lover.

The lives of horses and humans have been intertwined for over 5,000 years, as proven by the earliest cave paintings. Martine pays tribute to this tradition through her own mythic and humorous stories of these horses' courage, gentleness, and meaning in the lives of the people who care for them.

From classic dressage with its lessons from nature, to bone-breaking cross-country jumping that reflects the skills of survival, Martino lovingly recounts the equine lifestyle. Reminescent of The Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague, and James Herriot's books, yet written in the funny, touching, and larger-than-life style unique to this popular author, Dancer on the Grass will inspire horse lovers to enjoy the sport, culture, and art surrounding their favorite animal.

Teresa tsimmu Martino lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest where she writes, trains horses, and oversees Wolftown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wolf and horse rescue. Her other books include The Wolf, theWoman, the Wilderness: A True Story of Returning Home (NewSage Press 1997), and Learning from Eagle, Living with Coyote (Orion Books 1993).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Martino's luminous account of her lifelong love affair with horses is a moving, fiercely lyrical spiritual autobiography. Growing up on a California ranch, she learned to love horses from her Brooklyn-born Italian-American father ("The horses are blessed, chosen by God," he whispered to her when she was four), and from her Native American mother, in whose Osage traditions horses left deep tracks. Horses, "four-legged spirits that grace the grass," teachers of patience, balance, courage, trust and cooperation, are trail markers on Martino's inner journey. At age 19 she trained at the Vale, England's tough equestrian academy. At 28, the ghost of her father, who'd been dead several years, haunted a barn and was seen by two witnesses. Martino brought back from the brink and restored to health Belle, a gray mare whose cruel owner had beaten, isolated and starved her. Visiting the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, she received as a gift a wild stallion--a bridge to her ancestors who rode the hardy Plains horses as buffalo runners. In the book's most dramatic true-life tale, she defiantly quits her job as director of a horse facility rather than break in a gentle golden bay that does not want to jump cross-country obstacle courses. Exchanging security for freedom, she goes to live in a cabin with three "shy" wolves on an island off Washington State, where she now trains horses and runs Wolftown, a nonprofit organization that rescues wolves and horses. Martino believes that horses crave a good partnership even with an untrustworthy species like humans. Her tales of healing, survival and love indicate that we have much to learn from our equine friends. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780939165322
Publisher:
NewSage Press
Publication date:
09/22/1999
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.47(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Fallen Chapter 3

The colt spooked as I dismounted, a foolish colty spook. But I was half way out of the saddle and his twirling spin threw me off his back. I slammed into a fence post. The impact forced the air out of my lungs and I crumpled to the ground gasping. Slowly, I got back on my feet, but the pain on my left side felt like large sharp pieces of glass digging deep. I staggered out of the ring and sat on the grass. The colt's concerned owner, Dee, shouted across the ring, "Are you all right?"

"Oh yes... I'm O-wind knocked out of me, that's all." But something was wrong, my body felt strange. Suddenly, moments stretched out on the cool breeze and I slipped into unconsciousness. I lay in the tall grass dreaming as my body went into shock. In my unconscious reality, I saw a familiar figure-it was Harry, the short Englishman. He stood before me in his shiny black boots, and tweed coat. He knelt in the frosty, sharp, fall grass, and chided me: "God! Martino! That was a stupid fall! Didn't you hear me say, 'watch him?'" "Oh, yeah," I answered, "Sorry Sir."

Then consciousness woke me. In front of my nose, I noticed the grass and the little cold spiders clinging to it. Harry was gone. I felt no pain, only a woozy sweet lightness. Where was I? What had happened? I couldn't remember. Looking up I saw Dee standing over me. Oh! The colt! I had fallen. "Not again! Sorry Harry!" I said out loud to my dream Teacher. Laying there, I smiled. I always think of Harry when I fall. Before long there were sirens and volunteer firefighters. Even a tired sheriff. Strapped tightly to a back board, I knew I had broken ribs. That sharp ringing stab of pain I knew well. Possibly, I was bleeding internally. From the ambulance, I watched the sunset bleed down into Puget Sound and turn the snow capped Olympic mountains reddish pink like salmon flesh. The bumps in the dirt road jabbed at my broken body.

Smiling at myself, I asked Stan the paramedic, "Would you want to die doing something you love?" Stan said nothing. He was monitoring my blood pressure. "Uh oh!" mumbled Stan, watching my blood pressure drop. "Uh oh?" I weakly joked, "Stan that's pretty alarming bedside manner."

At the hospital the doctors determined that a number of my ribs had been broken. It was hard to tell exactly the number since I had broken so many before. Three friends sat with me as the surgeon explained my medical situation. My spleen was bruised and leaking blood into the sack that surrounded it. "We may have to remove your spleen if it doesn't seal," explained the doctor. "Try not to remove my spleen, OK?" I whispered, feeling out of breath. The doctor looked at me with a serious granite face. "If you move around you could die."

For four days I lay in intensive care, my body a knot of immense pain. I worried about the wolves and the horses. My world was filled with suffering and I could only view it from moment to moment. Often I considered taking a lot of the pain killers and then sleep free of this agony. But only when I felt I could bare it no longer did I take the drugs the nurses offered me. Riders get hurt. How many friends have I had that limped, walked stiff or ended up paralyzed because of injuries? Five? Ten? Two friends broke their necks, and one ended up a quadriplegic. One accident happened right in front of me while we were running steeplechase. Other friends have broken their backs. Two of my friends, both professional riders, had been killed while jumping cross country. Many times I asked myself, What is it that makes us risk this?

Horses and injuries are like the shadow of war. Equestrian eventing is a sport that comes out of the traditions of the cavalry; different than the quiet art of dressage or the sweetness of walking a mountain trail. Eventing comes from the idea that a soldier was given a message and he had to run cross country to deliver it to his commander. Accomplishing this feat under the threat of death was a challenge and a thrill that still echoes through modern cross country horse events.

For me, this dangerous risk-taking was a way back into wilderness where the antelope runs from the wolf in fear and joy. Did I want to go back to the wild? There are other sports that are dangerous, but for me galloping horses cross country gives me the electric feel of the elk running.

After the fourth day the doctors let me go home with the grave warning that just one jounce and I could start bleeding again. For the next twelve weeks I had to lie in my dusty trailer healing. My community came and went, bringing me food, company, and help with my wolf rescues. As I watched the shy wolves slink in and out through the cold of the open trailer door, day after day, I thought of many things. I thought of Harry, and of falling.

What People are Saying About This

Linda Hogan
From the Author of Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World

Dancer on the Grass is a page-turner, true stories that read as well and are as exciting as a good novel. The characters are truly characters-driven, humorous, flesh, blood, strong and determined. As Teresa says, it is as if for some people the love for horses is in the DNA. These are stories everyone will care for, told passionately at times, and at other times, told with tenderness. |

Susan McElroy
From the Author of Animals as Teachers and Healers: True Stories and Reflections

Dancer on the Grass is haunting, funny, rich in imagery, but more important-real to the bone. Teresa Martino shares a communion with animals that leaves me longing and spellbound. On paper, her beloved horses and wolves come fully to life and fully to spirit. If you have ever loved to bend over the strong back of a horse and feel the ground race beneath you at a gallop, while the wind whips your hair into a raging tangle, and your soul sings in your throat-or if you have just loved the idea of such a ride-you will find a kindred wild sister in Martino.

Brenda Peterson
Teresa Martino's lively and compelling celebration of the human-horse bond is at once keenly-observed, sharp-witted, and deeply moving. Dancer in the Grass is not just a story of a woman and horses. It is a primer on the survival skills and fine art of any true partnership.
Maureen R. Michelson
As the publisher, I find Teresa Martino's writing and perspective on life authentic and refreshing. She sees the world differently than most, and as a result, throws open the windows of our imaginations and blows through our old ways of thinking. She is a storyteller, a philosopher, a lover of animals and the wilderness. Martino talks about what is essential in living, and tells you a good story along the way. The world needs more writers like Teresa Martino! Newsage Press published Martino's second book, "The Wolf, the Woman, the Wilderness" in 1997, and we are delighted to now include "Dancer on the Grass" among our published titles.

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Dancer on the Grass; True Stories about Horses and People 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have JUST finished this book about five minutes ago and imediatly came downstairs to my computer to go on the internet and tell all you horse lovers out there... READ THIS BOOK! It is by far the most beautiful book I have ever read. It tells about her life in such an exciting way that it's like a fiction book. With sorrow that makes you cry, humor that makes you laugh and statements that are so well put and so truthful it touches your heart. Read the book, I promise you won't be dissapointed. :D Grace
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly an awakening for all of us. Somehow T manages to bring the readers emotions to a head while she reveals her own lifes trials. She allows us to know her life with her family and friends all the while never letting us forgot the objective which is the love she has for the horses, as well as, all the other animals that have been fortunate to have been part of T's life. This is one fine lady who has made a difference and continues to fight and protect these majestic animals be it horses or wolves or coyote. ete. Well, done and a must read. Be prepared for a wonderful story. Thanks T-Anuyi
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have finished reading T.'s book recently, and I would recommend it to anyone, of any age who is interested in developing and renewing their spirit. This book was so moving that I cried on several occasions. This book helped me realize why the human-animal bond is so important. I have been a member of T.'s Wolftown! horse and wolf rescue project for 2 years and found it to be a very enjoyable experience. I urge anyone who is interested to check out her web site (AOl keyword:Wolftown!) and join up!