From Publishers Weekly
The horse was Lay Me Down, a tall, scrawny, sick (with pneumonia), abused standardbred mare, with a hostile foal at her heels and a wheezing sigh. The human was middle-aged, also abused (both as a child and in a bad marriage), an AA veteran and the owner of three Morgan horses in upstate New York. The Morgan mare, Georgia, was furious about the new intruder, although, Richards writes, "I blamed myself for creating a monster, a monster named Georgia. All these years of spoiling her, of never allowing anyone else to ride her, of letting her boss me around...." Richards's first book is an engaging, honest and low-key memoir of her love affair with the sweet-natured Lay Me Down and her almost love affair with a fellow named Hank, with many digressions into horse lore as well as life lore. Charming and sensitive descriptions of fiery Georgia; the gallant, lovable old gelding, Hotshot; loyal friend and "horsewoman extraordinaire" Allie; and daily life with animals intersperse with the trials of dating and buying underwear. The end of neither affair is happy, but this is a bracing and likable book, highly recommended for backyard horsewomen and their admirers. (June)
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The lessons of love come in many different forms. For Richards, adopting a maltreated horse impacted her life in ways she could not have forseen. Richards adopts an emaciated mare and her foal, overriding the small voice telling her that she already has three horses to care for and a herniated disk. Her experience with her new charges proves profoundly instructive in terms of how love can foster growth of the human spirit and help in overcoming pain and loss. The abused mare, Lay Me Down, proves to be one of those rare creatures that remain gentle despite years of mistreatment, responding profoundly to the kind treatment that is part of everyday life for Richards' animals. Fascinated by the affection this animal accords a stranger, Richards notes the mare's courage and slowly begins to emulate it in her own life, opening up to a love affair and its aftermath and proving to herself that she will not run when life pushes hard against her heart. Pamela Crossland
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