Book Review by Maria Chin

The Horse Whisperer

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Last month, I had the opportunity to read an amazing book that definitely became one of my favorite. The title is: ” The Horse Whisperer ” written by Nicholas Evans.

Nicholas Evans is an English novelist. The Horse Whisperer became one of his best works ever.

Everything begins in New York City. It’s morning. Grace, daughter of Annie, a magazine editor, and Robert, a lawyer, decides to go on a morning walk with her best friend Judith on their horses: Pilligrim and Guliver. As they walk on a snowy road, in the forest, they decide to take a shortcut along the slope. In an effort to climb up the slope, because of the snow and ice, both horses fall. Grace manages to stay on Pilligrim, but Judith and Gulliver fall and die. Because of the many injures that Grace and Pilligrim got, both are traumatized. Grace loses her best friend and has her right leg amputated, Pilligrim loses his confidence in people and becomes totally unmanageable and crazy.

After the accident, the situation in Grace’s family becomes very difficult. Grace is no longer the same girl and, Annie and Robert continue to fight with each other because of their different ways and opinions in dealing with the situation. In the meantime, Annie must make a difficult decision, to put down or not, Pilligrim. Not considering what the vet suggested to do with him, Annie thinks that it’s not right and decides to keep him alive. She immediately starts to look for someone who could help her to deal with Pilligrim’s problems.

She discovers that there is a man who lives in Montana, called Tom Booker, called by many people: ” The Horse Whisperer”. Full of courage and determination, Annie decides to bring Pilligrim and Grace, who is not convinced about the idea, to Montana. Annie takes over a long and difficult journey, and finally arrives in Montana. Where, Tom takes a look at the horse and agrees to work with him, asking only for their collaboration while he is working with the horse.

During their stay, Grace starts to change and her relationship with Annie becomes better, while Annie falls in love with Tom. They start a hidden romance. After a lot of work, Tom decides that Pilligrim is ready to be ridden by Grace. He asks Grace to believe in him and saddle up, but Grace refuses because, she is still afraid of Pilligrim. At this point, Tom uses a forceful method and puts the horse down on the ground so that Grace can sit on him. At the second attempt Grace saddles up and finally rides him. Before Grace’s and Annie’s leave, a goodbye party is organized. At the party Grace discovers about Tom’s and her mother’s romance. Disappointed and angry, Grace takes Pilligrim and runs away. She and Pilligrim run into a wild mustang that starts to attack them. Tom, that chased her, sees Pilligrim trying to protect her. To save them, Tom sacrifices his life, by trying to stop the mustang.

After the accident, Annie, Grace in Pilligrim return back home. Annie tries to build a new relationship ship with her husband Robert and discovers that she is pregnant, her child is Tom’s child.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I think that this book is one of the best I’ve ever read. When you read it you are into the story, you understand everyone’s feelings and everything is described in an excellent way.

The story is very interesting, it doesn’t just focuse on a ” horsey ” story, but it tells about people’s feelings, problems and desires. Before reading this book, I watched the film, which I would say is also excellent. There are a lot emotional scenes that make you think. It’s quite similar to the book, but the ending is a little bit different. In the film, Grace doesn’t discover about the relationship of her mother and

Tom, and Annie decides to sacrifice her love for the sake of her daughter’s happiness.

 

© Maria Chin

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Maria Chin and her horses

 

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This month I read a very interesting book. The title is ”The man who listens to horses” and it’s written by Monty Roberts.

Monty Roberts is a well known horseman, some people call him a real life horse whisperer, for his amazing capacity to build a strong communication with any kind of horses, in just a few minutes. He travels all around the world to teach people to learn the horse language, in other words a body language. He trains and educates horses with natural methods, he can actually a short time get on the back of a wild horse! This is truly amazing!

Many people think that he has some magic powers, because what he can do with the horses is just unbelievable.

This book is special in its own way. It’s actually an autobiography of Monty R. From early childhood to now, this book tells us about his experience throughout his life. It all started in 1948, when Monty was 13 years old. At this age he was already studying the body language of the wild horses, of mustangs. Actually Monty already knew how to ride at the age of 4, thanks to his father who took Monty always with him when it came down to work with horses. Having started his career as a trainer of wild horses, Monty got more and more successful, he really knew how to deal with horses, but the most beautiful thing was that he knew and he knows that you can only find the key to the horse heart, not by the use of force, but by using a body language, with which you can communicate with your horse and let it understand you. It’s actually quite difficult to explain what the book says, there are so many stories about his family, about what they did with the horses, and what he has been doing along the years.

There was an amazing fact what happened in 1991. In 1991, at a horse racing, a horse called Lomitas refused to enter the starting gate, and because of this he was banned from racing. The owners called Monty, who got to work with him, and in June, 1991, at another racing competition, Lomitas entered the starting gate with Monty without any problems! After working with Monty, Lomitas continued to win a lot of races, and won big prizes!

Monty has a lot of experience behind his back, he got to work with different types of horses, he even worked with the Queen of England’s racing horses!

In his book, he not only tells us about his life, but he tries to explain us a lot about horses, about their characters, their language, communication…

These days, Monty is travelling all around the world. One of his missions is to teach people that violence is not the only possibility to communicate with horses.

His methods are working and day by day, the number of people who follow his education, grows. Here are some great and pretty famous quotes by Monty Robert that are truly inspirational: “ It is not the great trainer who can cause his horse to perform. The great trainer can cause a horse to want to perform” , “There are many types of bits, for many different disciplines, but the severity of ALL bits, lies in the hand of who’s holding them” , “If you act like you’ve only got fifteen minutes, it will take all day. Act like you’ve got all day, it will take fifteen minutes”, “A stubborn horse walks behind you. An impatient horse walks in front of you, but a noble horse walks with you”.

Well, what to say, I’m really in love this book. Since when I was a child I’ve always loved horses, well like any other small girls I suppose… Since I was small I always loved to watch a lot of competitions, I enjoyed seeing beautiful horses jumping other the obstacles, and I had a lot of envy of those who rode them. The moment when I started to read these kinds of books that talk about natural methods, horse language etc., was when I discovered the ”ugly” truth about the horse riding sport. It’s really hard to explain what is happening with horses these days, they’re being used as machines to earn money! People, often don’t think of them as animals, but they think of them as attractions. These ”machines” these days, are being unbroken with violence and a lot of bits that cause big pain to their mouths that slowly kill their nerves, kill everything they have inside, and in the end horses die in a painful way.

I was really shocked, so I started to learn more about natural methods that people use with horses. I discovered that in the world, especially in America, there are a few people, called by many others, ”The horse Whisperers”. That’s how I came to learn and read about Monty R., but not only, I learned a lot about Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli, too.

I became fond of reining sport. Reining is a western sport that was originally organized by a group of cowboys in America. Today, reining, is the most popular western discipline especially in America and Italy. The most beautiful aspect of its, is that it consists of some figures that a horse must do by listening only to your body language. The reiner (rider in reining discipline) doesn’t even force the horse buy using a bit. The reins are usually long that means that the horse is not being pushed to do something. There is a total collaboration!

I really like this book, because you learn a lot and it gives you the possibility of learning much about Monty Robert. I’m really inspired by his methods,

and I’m trying to apply them to my horse, it is very hard as I have a horse with a complicated character, but slowly I’m earning her confidence and her collaboration. When I received her she was a very agitated horse that was scared of a lot of things, but this year, after performing some ground work with her, for the first time ever, I rode her without a bridle on her mouth, she was totally free, and even if she was, she listened to my body language and did what I asked her, that means that she respects and trusts me. Reading books like this one, helps you understand the horse world. Thanks to these people, I try to improve everyday my riding skills, I do use a bit, but not as a punishment, but as a tool to lead, I never push it, so my horse has no pain.

I don’t recommend this book to those people who are fond of English horse riding sports, because before reading this, they have to learn a lot of things. If you read this book without knowing a lot of facts, you might hate this man since you will not understand him. Many people close their eyes on this, they just don’t want to see and understand what they are doing with their animals, they just enjoy it. While people like Monty R., who have the courage to speak up the truth, will make them angry.

I don’t even recommend this book to the average reader, because it’s really hard to understand if you do not know anything about horses.

 I really enjoyed reading this book, especially because I read it in its original language and I think it gives more sense and you’re more ”into” the story when you’re reading it.

 

© Maria Chin