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Chosen by a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed…

Chosen by a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed a Broken Heart

by Susan Richards

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Susan Richards has survived an abusive childhood and a bad marriage, and now, in her forties, is living on a small farm with her three horses, working as a social worker, and determinedly protecting her independence. Having given up alcohol, casual sex, and in fact men altogether, she may be lonely, but at least she’s safe.

Then she gets a call from the local SPCA, which has taken in more than forty horses from an abuse case. Their barn was already full; they need foster homes immediately. Against her better judgment, Richards agrees to take one of the horses.

She gets a Standardbred named Lay Me Down, a 16-year-old broodmare who is terribly thin and who has pneumonia. With Susan’s care, Lay Me Down gets back to a healthy weight, recovers from her pneumonia, and gets successfully integrated into her existing herd of one Morgan mare and two quarter horse geldings.

And then she discovers that Lay Me Down has an eye tumor. In the position it’s in, it can’t even be biopsied safely, but it’s almost certainly cancerous.

Susan Richards, whose heart broke at age five when her mother died a lingering death from cancer, and who has steadfastly avoided any emotional commitments that would lead to loss, finds herself committed to a beautiful, sweet-natured horse who has had a life as hard as her own, and who is going to die. Susan struggles with Lay Me Down’s illness, her own conflicted feelings, and her first stumbling efforts to rejoin the human race. This truly is a deeply moving story about a horse, a broken heart, and the beginnings of healing.

Highly recommended.

I borrowed this book from a friend.
( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Meh. This book felt disjointed and lacked a strong narrative core. At first I was willing to overlook the questionable writing, until I read the blurb about the author on the back. She teaches English and writing at a college level. In that case, the writing was sub-par at best. I had a variety of issues with it:

1) She assumes that any reader who picks this up and doesn't know anything about horses needs to be told in parentheses that a horse's hocks are their elbows (not strictly true, either).n And yet, she doesn't feel the need to explain what an "Arabian face" is in her Morgan? Extremely inconsistent. The horse details that she felt the need to expound on were rudimentary to people familiar with horses, and unnecessary to comprehension for those who aren't.

2) The "main" horse of the book actually has a pretty boring story. And the author doesn't make it clear that this "particular" horse heavily influenced the great changes in her life - instead, it is a series of horses. The story narrative would have been stronger if this was a memoir about the *horses* who healed her broken heart. That might have been a story worth reading. ( )
  LSmith862 | Apr 13, 2018 |
Touching and poignant. ( )
  clamato | May 22, 2017 |
Can a neglected ex-racehorse and a woman with an unhappy history of abuse and alcoholism heal each other? A touching memoir.
  mcmlsbookbutler | Apr 22, 2017 |
Chosen by a Horse is a memoir by Susan Richards of the time she rescued a former racehorse, Lay Me Down. It is a sad and sweet tale. Both Lay Me Down and Susan come from similar backgrounds of abuse. Through caring for Lay Me Down, Susan re-learns that life can be full of joy and love and is worth the risk of being hurt. It begs the question of who rescues who when we take an animal into our lives. While I am a general animal lover, I don't know much about horse care or horse personalities so really enjoyed those parts. Susan also writes about her own efforts as a 40-something woman attempting to date again with rather mixed results. Keep a box of tissues handy, this one is a tear jerker. ( )
  Narilka | Sep 21, 2016 |
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This book is dedicated with love to Allie Dorion, and to my niece and nephews. Marguerite, Nate, and Evan Richards, because they fill my heart with joy.
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It was a cold March day and the horse paddock at the SPCA was full of mud.
Whatever sanity I had was thanks to writers, to books that either helped me forget my troubles or helped me understand them. I was one of those people who thought the answer to everything was in a book. To me, the phone book was a book. I could hardly believe we got it free.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031175, Paperback)

The horse Susan Richards chose for rescue wouldn’t be corralled into her waiting trailer. Instead Lay Me Down, a former racehorse with a foal close on her heels, walked right up that ramp and into Susan’s life. This gentle creature—malnourished, plagued by pneumonia and an eye infection—had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. It seemed fated that she would come into Susan’s paddock and teach her how to embrace the joys of life despite the dangers of living.

An elegant and often heartbreaking tale filled with animal characters as complicated and lively as their human counterparts, this is an inspiring story of courage and hope and the ways in which all love—even an animal’s—has the power to heal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The horse Susan Richards chose to rescue wouldn't be corralled into her waiting trailer. But Lay Me Down, a former racehouse with a foal close on her heels, walked right up that ramp and into Susan's life. Weak from malnutrition, Lay Me Down had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. Then fate brought her into Susan's paddock, where she taught this brokenhearted woman how to embrace the joys of life despirt the dangers of living" --Cover, p. 4.… (more)

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