Talking with Horses

Talking with Horses

by Colin Dangaard


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475928303
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/25/2012
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)

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Talking with HORSES

By Colin Dangaard

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Colin Dangaard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-2830-3

Chapter One

Sunday, January 17, 2010. The Santa Monica Mountains, California. A full moon, silhouetting rugged cliffs against a clear night sky. Emma Armbrust could read right now—if she had a book. She is riding her seventeen-hand horse Tower, a thoroughbred, with Man o' War breeding on both sides. Emma Armbrust is eighteen years old, the horse ten years—which in human years makes Tower forty. Emma often thinks about this and marvels at how Tower doesn't feel that old. Tower rotates one ear back in her direction, and she smiles; he knows what she is thinking. She had projected an image of a very old swaybacked horse.

Emma pats his neck and says, "There now. I think you're just as young as you feel."

The ear rotates back to a forward position. Tower is okay with that thought.

"Come on," she says, "let's gallop up this hill. I know you hate to walk uphill."

She does not kick him or use the crop. She simply leans forward, ever so slightly, so her body does not whip back as Tower leaps into a flat gallop. But even before she leans forward, she knows he knows what she is thinking. He tells her this feels really good as the hill slips beneath at breathtaking speed. Tower's hooves are muffled on earth softened by heavy rain. Like a dancer, he carefully negotiates deep ruts caused by running water. Fifteen minutes later, they crest the ridge on the top of a mesa, the sky so close it seems to Emma she could reach out and touch it.

Emma feels Tower's heart beating between her legs as he sucks in vast amounts of air. His nostrils flare like trumpets. His hot breath frosts the night. Way down in the valley below, Emma sees the lights of her father's horse farm, where Tower was bred to race. But despite his impressive heritage, he was slow. Years later, when Tower was six years old and Emma thirteen, she started riding him, having given up her pony Nugget.

Tower told her that he wasn't slow at all; he just didn't like the competition, didn't like racing against his friends in the way people wanted. He was okay with racing as play but not as work. He liked to jump, which he did at every opportunity. Several times he jumped out of the paddock, until Emma told him to quit doing that or he would be "sent down the road." She overheard her father tell the stable hand, Manuel, as much. Emma didn't like Manuel, and Tower liked him even less. Because Tower couldn't run fast enough to win, Manuel considered him "dog food in search of a can."

Tower does not have the direct communication with Manuel that exists between him and Emma, because Manuel cannot read the pictures in Tower's head the way Emma can. Between Tower and Emma, the images are crystal clear, going both ways. With these pictures, words are not necessary; indeed, they hinder. At most, they are tools of exclamation or embellishment. This is how it was millions of years ago between man and horse. And this is how it is today between Emma and Tower. Few people today have this power of extraordinary communication. Most who do are to varying degrees autistic.

Emma studies the ground. The print is still there: a mountain lion. She saw it yesterday afternoon. Judging by the size of the paw print, the lion is about 250 pounds. Tower is completely disinterested. He knows the lion is long gone. He has picked up its electromagnetic energy. The image in Tower's mind, which he knows Emma is receiving now, is of a lioness way over the north ridge.

Suddenly Tower freezes and looks up at the moon, his body trembling. Emma follows his riveted concentration, and then sees what Tower sees. It is as if her body is drawn up through the tunnel of light that is her gaze. The image has clear edges, and it cuts up into the night sky. At the end, there is a very bright light that seems to draw Emma up, moving her at ever-increasing speed, until she is overwhelmed by the dense brightness. Cracking thunder and lightning split the night sky, as if disemboweling the heavens. Rain drives down on Emma, drops so large they feel like rocks flying into her face.

Solid ground is under her feet now. The air is filled with screaming, blood everywhere, as a horde of mounted horsemen bear down on a small village. All around her, death and pain and terrible agony. Emma is flat on the ground now, slammed down by a massive force, and one of the savages crashes upon her, tearing at her deerskin garment, pulling at her hair. She is overcome with the raw, rotten stench of his breath; it smells of blood. The night is swirling around her, as if she is lost in a whirlpool of black water, being sucked down, down. Women and children scream, a background to the pain and thunder and driving, hard rain. The man is on top of Emma now, his eyes blazing into her soul. Then he throws back his head and screams like a hyena, the sound piercing Emma's ears.

Emma knows she is going to die, but then, suddenly she sees him. A tall man, appearing as a rising backdrop behind her attacker, his skin, not black, not white—a golden brown. His chest is bare, rain glistening off muscles rippled across his torso and down his massive arms, the veins pumped and visible, like whipcords. She locks eyes with this man behind the monster, and his eyes stop her heart, as they always did. Oh yes, it's him all right. She has seen him before, many times. The eyes glow green. His face is finely chiseled, black hair pulled back and tied with a leather thong. Emma is aware of a bloody sword in his hand as he grabs her attacker by the hair, pulls back his head, and draws his sword across the monster's throat—stretched and vulnerable, perfectly angled for a clean, deep slash—like a bow pulled across strings of a musical instrument, a closing symphony of death.

Emma feels a red-hot gush on her face. She locks eyes with this man who has saved her, his great frame now completely visible, as the savage is flung aside like a bloody rag doll. He smiles, his teeth brilliant and white in the moonlight. He leans forward, wipes her face, his hands strong but incredibly soft and warm. The hands cup Emma's head, and the warrior asks, "You are all right?" She hears his words so clearly, although all around them is earsplitting chaos—screaming, clanging of swords, the animal-like bellowing of bloodthirsty savages, and the driving rain, the sky hemorrhaging thunder and lightning. This man locks eyes with her one more time for what seems like forever, but is in fact an instant; his green eyes deliver a burning beam of light that goes deep into Emma's soul.

Emma looks past the green eyes now, and there is a new horror, another warrior, with sword raised, a giant of a man, with leopard skin over his head, and he is screaming not at Emma, but at the man with the green eyes, "Why haven't you killed her? She is a worthless piece of meat! We have raided this village to kill, kill!"

In a flash, the man with green eyes ducks low and swings his sword upward, sending the sword from the hand of Leopard Man rattling off into the storm. Now Leopard Man is defenseless, his eyes wide with fear. And then the man with the green eyes puts his sword at the throat of Leopard Man and says, "I rank above you with Attila! Never try that again, or you will die. We are warriors, not savages. We kill other warriors. We do not kill the defenseless! This girl lives ..."

Leopard Man growls and spits, "You are soft. You are not a real killer. Attila will hear about this!"

And then, the vision fades, and now Emma is shivering. She opens her eyes, relief flooding over her. She is so thankful to be sitting now on Tower, here in the hills of Malibu, the night suddenly blanketed in deep silence. Her heartbeat slows, her whole being shaken by those piercing eyes.

Emma is calm but confused. She has seen this man many times before, but always in her dreams—her "vision time," as she privately thinks of it. This was the first time she had seen the vision in her "awake" time. She composes herself and sucks in the cool air. Tower snorts and tells her he is fine too. Oh yes, he witnessed the battle, because Emma had seen it and, as usual, shared the pictures. For Tower, the horror of it has also passed. He is ready now for Emma's command.

Emma's cell phone rings, shrill and strange in this setting. It's her father, Allan. Yes, she tells him, she's coming home now. Even while talking with her father, words are difficult. It's like she is playing over a recorded response, because she knows he, too, cannot communicate in pictures. He cannot transmit them, cannot receive them. He uses words.

Early in life, Emma learned a name for the "condition" that made her so different: autism. People with this condition, she would learn, have communication patterns reflecting the world as seen through the eyes of another, older brain—in her case, the horse. Everything is processed in pictures, transmitted by an energy she knows is there, but cannot explain. Emma does not understand how this happens. She is simply comforted with the fact that it does happen and that it always has happened, naturally, comfortably. The world of words is her challenge. The world of pictures is her home.

Before she can holster the cell phone, Tower turns and heads down the hill, toward home. There will be no more galloping tonight. As her father always said—"gallop out from the barn, but walk home." Tower never argues. He hates being put away wet. There are no more images. Tower thinks only of food. Emma thinks about school the next day, Monday. She likes school, but she doesn't sound like the other girls. They call her "Miss Geek" and "retard." They say she talks "funny," which prompts another name—"tape recorder."

Of course, they are right. Emma's tone is flat. But she doesn't know why. With Tower she does not need words, making talking with him so easy! Communication with her friends has an odd warp, like sounds coming up from a tunnel. Even when she understands the words, they are mixed, often rendering sentences unintelligible. She mostly guesses what has been said. The message is not always clear and is thus very frustrating. Reading lips helps. But with Tower, everything is perfectly clear. Images she receives from him have clear edges, like cut glass. She understands everything he is thinking, as clearly as if she were looking at a silent movie. She doesn't know why others cannot see these pictures. To Emma it is so obvious. But strangely, knowing why is not important. For Emma, Tower is the perfect companion, always there, always loving, never judging her. He is her gentle giant.

Chapter Two

Night, Sunday, January 17. The gate to the Armbrust farm is open, just as Emma had left it earlier in the afternoon. The moon is clouding, but she finds the electric gate switch. She closes the gate for the night. She rides into the barn, where the light has been left on. There are ten stalls on each side of the great wooden structure. Each stall is occupied, except for the one on the end, which is Tower's stall. The horses greet each other as usual, heads reaching over half-doors, hooves pawing, lips slapping, noisy muffling sounds. They want to know where Tower has been, what he has been doing, but he ignores them. Of course, they are each reaffirming their place in the pecking order. Emma always wonders why Tower is not the leader. Among ten horses he is the least important. He was in the same last position when the ranch had twenty horses. Emma does not know how they establish this order; she just knows they do. And it is very clear. No horse ever steps out of the order unless one horse is removed, thus opening up a new space higher up—or lower. Tower will share with them all images later, at his leisure. Right now, he wants food!

Emma secures Tower in the crossties, tells him to be still, and then pulls off her Australian stock saddle—the only saddle her father lets her ride on the trail, especially if she is alone.

Emma places the saddle on the rack now and spreads the sweat-soaked "numnah" on top. The numnah is cut from a single Merino sheepskin to fit the shape of the saddle, hair side down. Tomorrow it will be dry, and before Emma puts it back on the horse, she will brush out the sweat balls. Her father had left the tack-room light on, and Emma catches a glimpse of herself in a dusty mirror. She has a bad case of "helmet hair," but there is still a freshness and bounce to her long golden locks falling casually down slender shoulders. She decides, looking at herself, that she has a beauty that pleases her—well-defined cheeks, deep blue eyes, a large generous mouth, dimples, and flawless, cream-colored skin. She turns and considers her breasts. She is happy with those as well. She has become acutely aware that boys look at her breasts before they make eye contact. It used to annoy her. She felt like she had to duck to make eye contact with them. But recently she has started to consider it flattering.

She hears Tower calling and realizes she has forgotten to feed him.

"Okay," she says apologetically, "I get it!"

She hurries out, fills his bucket with four-way grain and alfalfa replacer pellets, dumps it in his feed bin, and leads him into his stall. "Sorry, I was daydreaming." Tower pays her no mind and buries his nose in his feed. For a while, Emma stays there, empty bucket in hand, sharing his joy. He turns his rump toward her, as if cutting her off from his food. He sends no pictures. "Okay," she says, "sorry!"

"Hey, Emma," the voice of her dad comes from outside, "who's in there with you?"

"Just Tower," she says, "we talking food."

Allan is now in the circle of light. He is a squarely built man, once wiry and muscled, but now taking on the easy look of middle age. He was always too heavy to be a jockey—okay for horse exercising—but fine to be the great horseman he was.

Allan laughs. "So you think he's talking to you!"

Emma is at once surprised and amused. "Yes, he talks to me. All the time. You know this!"

Allan rolls his eyes. "You're tired, girl. Time to go to bed." Emma checks the horses one last time. Allan has turned off the tack- room light. Father and daughter stroll in silence up to the big house.

Emma eats supper, showers, goes into her room, and flops onto the bed, content in her space. The room is filled with pictures of horses. One shelf is lined with trophies won at Malibu Trancas Riders and Ropers, shrimp division through teens. She loves her room. Directly above her bed, pasted on the ceiling, is a large picture of her, age eleven, jumping Tower over three-foot rails down at the Trancas Arena. It was the first time she had jumped in a show. She had practiced only one day. She had set up a two-foot jump at home, took Tower up to it, and asked him to jump. As usual, she sent Tower a picture of him jumping smoothly, with her sitting perfectly in the saddle. He looked to the right, then left, then right again, and Emma knew what he was thinking. He wanted to go around the jump. He was confused. Why go over it, when there was so much room to go around? The picture he sent to Emma was of him strolling nonchalantly, circling the jump, kind of proud that he had thought of a much easier way to get to the other side of the jump.

"Jumping, this is what I want," she told him flashing another picture of him jumping and her riding him. "I know it is easier to go around, but this is what I want." Tower pointed his ears at the jump. He got the picture. He would jump because she had asked him to jump and she had transmitted a picture of him jumping. After that moment, for all time forward, he would take every jump without argument. At least with Emma aboard!

At the other end of the hallway now, in the sprawling old farmhouse, Allan and his wife, Millie, are curled up in bed. Millie is watching old movies on Turner Broadcasting.

Allan waits until the movie is over, and then he says, "You know Emma is still talking to horses."

Millie looks at him, mocking surprise. "So? People talk to horses all the time. I talk to my dogs."

"Yeah," says Allan, "I know. No problem with that. What I have a problem with is she says the horses are talking to her. Now that is plain crazy."

"Well, maybe they are. I know what my dogs are thinking when they look at me."

"If she is hearing voices," says Allan, "we have a problem."

"You're overreacting. It's a stage young girls go through. It's normal. You remember that article I read, and I told you about it ... about how young girls get anthropomorphic about their horses?"

"Now, what the hell does that mean?"


Excerpted from Talking with HORSES by Colin Dangaard Copyright © 2012 by Colin Dangaard. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Talking with Horses 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just as Emma travels to a different world, this book opened my eyes to the struggles and prejudices faced by autistics. It kept me hooked until the very end — clutching the paperback and praying that Emma would be able to trot off into the sunset. Talking with Horses is certainly an emotional ride told at a full gallop.
PatFish More than 1 year ago
A Poignant and Powerful Story with much Inner Insight into Horses and Human Nature NO better compliment than that I sat down to read this book tonight at 9PM and read straight through ’til 2AM. With tears in my eyes sometimes, with never flagging interest. The material covered, and the pacing of the story, never let me quit! I have an especial interest in autism, having been tested as “on the spectrum” and admiring Temple Grandin so much. Daangard's portrayal of the “otherwise abled” aspects of the autistic persona seems very accurate to me. Well done ! I will go back to my mule with a light heart and proceed to further our connection and conversation, following this good example. The product of ten years perseverance has produced a wonderful read, and I am so pleased to be able to share so many of his insights as a horseman and appreciate his infusing the characters with so much humanity and depth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, this book kept me up all through the night, I couldn't put it down. Wow. Just fabulous, loved the whole story, the love story, the horses, the past life angle, communication with horses through pictures, the characters, Emma and of course Tower, wow!! One of the best books I have ever read and a personal favorite, it moved me like nothing else. Short and simple and yet such a powerful story with such a message that not everyone will get. An incredible intertwining of history and true life experiences. Speilberg should make this into a movie, he is the only one that would do it justice. It is "Horse Whisperer", "6th Sense" and "ET" all rolled into one!! Robert Redford should play the main character as the follow up to "Horse Whisperer", Hollywood please grab this and run with it!! Understanding the message of this story will help bring about peace on earth. It's that powerful and it must be made into a movie by someone like Speilberg who will truly understand it and do it justice. This book is suitable for age 13 on up as it is written very cleanly and just a beautiful romance. We are all connected on this earth, every living thing and this book carries that message in such a beautiful way, it is truly beyond it's time and the time is now to get this message out to all of mankind. Collin, you are truly a unique and special person for putting this to pen, let's take it to the next level now and let the whole world know. Thank you Collin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talking With Horses is a colorful and adventurous experience offering many meaningful and insightful treats , especially for Horse Lovers. We are gracefully reminded of our potential that allows the enchantment dreams are made of. Thanks Colin for bringing Emma , Tower and a great cast of characters together for this delightful story.                                                                                                                                                       HORSEDANCER
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would have given more than five stars if I could have. Amazing story telling on every level. It has everything a horse lover could want in one great book. And the bonus is how much you learn as the story evolves. I could not put this book down until I was finished. Can't wait for the next book by Colin Dangaard.
DiggerSteve More than 1 year ago
Some good old fashioned fantesy, boy meets girl, and some good horse sense for those who love our animals. As aresult of this book I now listen to the horses I meet but I don't have the gift, yet, or I am not on the Emma wavelength. Although my dog seems to now understand me better which is really a bonus that I had not expected. Colin has a wonderful descriptive eye and is a natural story teller. The action sequence towards the end of the book is most memorable. A sequel to this book could take it anywhere in time and space, from the romatic fantasy to a world where the horses talk like people! Read and enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED the story, it left me wanting ever so much more. It's a fast read, but I have to admit I put the world on hold because I just couldn't put it down! Incredible historical connection, a unique story line, wonderful tidbits of information all woven together into a colorful tale. We have an autistic granddaughter AND horses; Colin's book touched my heart.
Jack_ODonnell More than 1 year ago
Colin masterfully uses the classic platform of the relationship between a girl and a horse to reveal the stunning and little-known truths of autism. You can read about autism all you want from science and medical journals; however, Colin's book shows you what autism really means to those who have it. It is the best material out there to learn about autism and be entertained at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
***** Gripping, full of emotion and passion….. Colin has captured the essence of a relationship with a horse and their place in our lives. We should all be so fortunate… A great read especially out in the woop woop. PICK UP A COPY and ENJOY…
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book covers it all from Romance, the love for the horse, history dating back 2000 years, medical research on AUTISM, a great story line, easy read, enjoyable, for all ages. This surprised me as I was asked “do you like to read?” My immediate answer was NO not really. Once I started to read “Talking with Horses” I could not put the book down. This book as touch my heart greatly has the main character is a teenage girl who is a “SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD” with a diagnosis of Autism. Having a special needs child myself, this book gave me an insight into how the child may feel about their own world and the world around them. What I took away from this book is that we as parents do not take the time to listen, research and find a more natural way to medically treat our children which fall under the “special needs” category including ADD, ADHD. Society now days is so quick to lay them on the door steps of Medical Doctors who really do not take the time to evaluate your child through testing that is available. For example having your hair analyzed will bring on results of what chemicals our children are lacking and what chemicals the brain produces to much of. Doctors are so quick to have you answer some questions, prescribe medications that might work, that cause side affects which they in turn prescribe another medication to alleviate the symptoms of the first medication and if that does not work they prescribe a different medication and so on and so on. Next thing you know your child has 5 different medications in their system as the first medication as not even left there little bodies yet before the next medication is prescribed. Our children are being overly medicated and some are even dying as a result. I love how this book includes the Medical Research behind this issue but more importantly brings attention to the child’s and their thoughts as I feel our children need to be heard. Give them a VOICE. I would highly recommend “Talking with Horse” for a book study discussion as I feel it would bring on some great debates and encourage people to re-think the stacking of medication and integrate some alterative more natural healing as “ having joy and something to look forward to in your life IS one of the great healers”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book offers so much! As a female with a deep regard for horses, I love Tower's ideas and his relationship with Emma. The history is fascinating and the romance is everything romance should be. A beautiful book and a great read. Chris from Australia
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a guy who’s raised and shown horses, I’m a sucker for books about them, and I’ve just read a GREAT one called “Talking with Horses,” by COLIN DANGAARD, about a beautiful blonde autistic girl who communicates through her horse, Tower, as they travel between her life in Malibu – and the world of Attila the Hun, 2,000 years ago! Full disclosure: Colin’s an old pal (haven't seen him in years), but I’d never recommend anything I didn’t think was touching and terrific! He’s an ex-journalist, born in the Land Down Under, and today runs The Australian Stock Saddle Company from his huge ranch in Malibu, where the locals call him “Crocodile Dundee.” It's a
TD-VA More than 1 year ago
Several years ago there was a Newsweek cover story about autism entitled, 'Mind Blindness.' Though somewhat informative, the piece was bogged down with clinical and esoteric terms; more to the point, it was inaccessible for me,. Now along comes 'Talking With Horses', a creative, imaginative and magical novel about an 18 year old autistic young lady named Emma and her horse Tower, their challenges, setbacks and victories. Colin Dangaard has somehow managed to weave together storylines from the past, present and future in such a way that all the reader finds himself/herself doing is turning pages and rooting Emma and Tower on. Dangaard has, through Emma's voice, made autism a real experience for me. Always sympathetic to the autistic, after finishing the novel, I found myself in some way happy for them, understanding perhaps that the adage 'appearances are deceiving' is truer for the autistic. Beyond Emma's stoic and sometimes intractable visage is a mind more active, full of more empathy, more truth and beauty than the vast majority of this ship of fools that we are. Good for you, Emma. Beautiful work, Colin Dangaard, just beautiful. Thank you. TD in Virginia
bob-reyers More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic! Finished it in one day! Unlike most equestrian theme fiction books the horse facts normally fall short, However in Talking With Horses I found the horse facts enjoyable and educational. The history of the saddle I was intrigued by. The story line showed the good and the bad in the equestrian world which was spot on. I cant wait for the next book by Colin!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise of this book is fantastic. In this historicial novel COLIN DANGAARD overlaps the 55-million-year-old life of the horse with the five-million-year evolution of man. He suggests that for a very long time man and horse were on the same cerebral wavelength , opening the possibility for complete communication. He fast-forwards to modern times, where some people, namely those with autism, can do exactly what early man did, because the brain of the horse has remained largely unchanged and people with autism mostly use man's oldest brain for primary cerebral function. Thus his main character Emma, 18, blond and gorgeous, who is autistic, can communicate with her horse Tower. Emma is caught in a love triangle with a childhood boyfriend -- who is also lieuteneant of Attila the Hun, inhabiting Emma's fantasy world. DANGAARD presents autism not as negative, but rather as a condition that gives those with it, special talents and genius "normal" people do not have. He also explores the proven benefits of horse as healer. At heart, TALKING WITH HORSES is a tender love story wrapped in a world of conflict, from the savagery of the Huns, to the cruel dispositions of modern man toward people who are not "normal". This is a novel that will stay with you and stir up discussion for years to come. One can wonder when a movie will be made of it?
emma100 More than 1 year ago
COLIN DANGAARD has a genius for incorporating disparate elements regarding the evolution of the equine into a personal and contemporary connection with the problem of autism. He has achieved this with extraordinary imagination and grace. The amalgamation of combining the centuries with Emma's experiences is truly fascinating and remarkably inventive. Colin has done an enormous degree of research in history; i.e. Aristotle was a tutor for Alexander the Great. Colin has composed a unique masterpiece. Henry F Curry, M.D. Bonanza, Or.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It's a great look into the incredible world of horses and the almost cosmic bond some girls seem to have with these glorious creatures. It's a must-read for anyone who has ever ridden, owned, or dreamed about a life with horses, bravo!
LadyJane01 More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most amazing stories I've ever read! A great summer read for young girls into horses. If you like "Horse Whisperer" this is your book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jehle More than 1 year ago
A great read at so many levels. As a horsewoman, I found the relationship between Emma and her horse, Tower, an inspiration. I was left to wonder how much I had been missing in my own interaction with the horses in my life. I enjoyed all the history of man and horse through the ages, showing the depth and insight the author put into the research of his subject. For anyone interested in the workings of the human mind, Emma's autism is handled with sensitivity and a touch of humor. The narrative flawlessly flows from the present to the past and back again, interweaving Emma's fantasy world (or is it?) with the reality of the 21st century. Hearily , I recommend this novel to anyone interested in horses, history or the human mind.
HorseladyJane More than 1 year ago
Be prepared, once you pick up this book, you won't want to put it down! Colin masterfully weaves history into the fiber of this touching story of a teenage girl with autism, how horses are her connection to the present, and a young mans influence opens the door to a world long ago where she feels alive and "normal". He meets her in both worlds....and understands and appreciates her uniqueness in both worlds. You just have to read it to believe it. No review will do it justice as experiencing it for yourself will! High praises Mr. Dangaard! ~ Jane Lee