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The Hearts of Horses Paperback – December 8, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Martha Lessen is nineteen. She carries her favorite book in her saddlebags (Black Beauty) and rides a badly scarred horse called Dolly who was burned in a fire. Martha has already experienced enough of life to be a bit scarred and skittish herself. She's seeking work "breaking" horses and World War One has presented her with an opportunity. The men who would normally do this work are going off to the trenches 'over there'. Martha has her own methods: the horses she works with are gentled instead of "broken" to saddle.
With luck, Martha finds a couple who are short handed. They are willing to hire her, but more importantly, they befriend her. They recommend her to others at their church and soon, Martha has a string of horses to train. As soon as these raw young horses have the basics, she sets up a circuit where a horse from one ranch is ridden to the next. She then changes her saddle to the horse that has rested in that corral and rides to the next ranch. And so on...
Riding the circuit, in all weathers, on young horses with no experience is a challenge that Martha accepts seven days a week. She has her share of adventures but as she makes her daily circuit she is drawn into the lives of the people along the way. Along with Martha, the reader becomes drawn into the hopes, dreams, fears and dangers that face these isolated people of the American West. Every man, woman and child that Martha meets reacts to her as a women doing a man's job with a woman's touch. For shy Martha, she has to reach deep inside herself not to shrink from the lonely women who want to talk, the adoring children who see her as a real horse whisperer or the men who feel threatened by her.
This is a glorious book, that uplifts the heart. Written in clean, spare prose that evokes the spaces of the West and the inner secrets of the human heart with equal ease, this perfect work of literature deserves a place on the shelf next to another book I have always loved, cried over and rejoiced in reading; yes, I also have loved Black Beauty. THE HEARTS OF HORSES is not to be missed. I'd recommend it to anyone who has felt the romance of the American West. To anyone, man or woman, who ever had a secret dream of being a cowboy, this book is for you.