cover image Saddled: How a Spirited Horse Reined Me In and Set Me Free

Saddled: How a Spirited Horse Reined Me In and Set Me Free

Susan Richards, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.00 (224 pages) ISBN 9780547241722

Designed as a prequel to her memoir, Chosen by a Horse, Richards begins with the adoption of Georgia, the difficult Morgan mare who left such a stamp on the author’s previous heart-warmer, and explores the deep, rehabilitative bond the two have forged. Georgia proves to be a feisty yet steady savior, giving Richards the courage to flee a bad marriage and beat an addiction. The responsibility she feels for her companion compels her to think beyond her own suffering and begin a new life devoid of old habits. Richards explores her transient childhood and unhealthy adult relationships, but these narrative threads tend to run wild, detracting from her main tale. However, a section on the death of her father is particularly affecting, when she shares her realization that she might face a similar untimely, solitary death. “The word that kept coming to mind was waste.” Readers seeking the vicarious thrills they found with Georgia in Richard’s earlier work might regret the back seat Georgia often takes here, longing for her storied personality to break in more often. Georgia may not be everywhere in Saddled, but she’s never far away. (May)