California Riding Magazine • January, 2010

Book Reviews
The Horse Boy; Wind River Country -
Hidden Heart of Wyoming

The Horse Boy
Author: Rupert Isaacson
Reviewed by Pamela Britton-Baer

It is a rare book, indeed, that can capture a reader’s attention from the very first page. The Horse Boy does exactly that. Half adventure story, half family saga, this is a tale that will make you laugh and cry, all on the same page.

Like many new parents, author Rupert Isaacson is both terrified and overcome with joy when he’s gifted with a newborn son, Rowan. But what starts out as minor concerns over Rowan’s slow development turns into out and out alarm when Rowan is diagnosed with autism. Traditional western medicine does next to nothing to help Rowan’s condition. Indeed, American doctors offer little hope that Rowan will ever be “normal.” Rupert begins to wonder if perhaps a less-conventional method might work. Having been raised around South African Bushmen, Isaacson has witnessed first-hand the miraculous powers of shamans. Could natural healing help to cure his son?

It’s an outrageous idea, one that will require a journey half way around the world ... to the outer reaches of Mongolia. Never mind that most people, including his wife, think he’s crazy. Or that his son is prone to autistic fits that would make the Tasmanian Devil proud. Isaacson doesn’t care because when it comes right down to it, he’ll do whatever it takes to help his little boy.

From the back roads of Texas to the wilds of Siberia, Isaacson takes readers on a journey people will not soon forget. The author is a linguistic Picasso, painting scenes in the mind’s eye that are beautiful to behold. Readers are given a rare glimpse into foreign cultures and far off places. Those same readers will be compelled to turn page after page to see if Rowan’s healers will succeed in curing him of ailment.

The Horse Boy is a highly recommended read. Fast-paced, touching and poignant, it’s one book you won’t want to miss.

Reviewer Pamela Britton-Baer is a best selling book author and freelance journalist for the AQHA Journal and Horse & Rider Magazine. Learn more about her at www.pamelabritton.com.


Wind River Country - Hidden Heart of Wyoming
Text by Bayard Fox
Photography by Caude Poulet
Reviewed by Ann Zollinger

I consider Bayard Fox a friend although we have never met. Long phone conversations exchanging news and ideas led him to send me a copy of his new book – truly a labor of love from the heart of this gentle man.

Best known in the world of horses as the creator and owner of Equitours, Fox has lived the world over, speaks five languages and seen more exotic sites from the back of a horse than many of us have ever imagined. Thousands have experienced these faraway places through trips with Equitours while many more of us travel these lands in our dreams as we turn the pages of their catalog.

This delightful thought led me to wonder where such a well traveled couple as Bayard and Mel Fox would call home? What exotic location would they choose? My question was quickly answered when I received Wind River Country and opened the cover to first discover the exquisite vistas captured by Claude Poulet. Speaking only French, Monsieur Poulet created reflections of land formations, wildlife, the snow-covered vistas and the people of this largely undiscovered area of the American West. His good friend Bayard Fox then translated the visions that he painted with his camera from image to word giving us the rich history of this land and the people and animals who consider it home.

Not having achieved the fame of its nearby neighbors Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, this hidden jewel of Wyoming is portrayed within the pages of this book capturing a true remaining bit of the Old West. Pioneers and fur trappers, cowboys and Indians, ranchers and wildlife all share this vast and beautiful countryside. The images capture the character of the land and the land in turn develops character in its inhabitants. Beginning with the earliest time the geology shapes this area and then is inhabited by bison and other indigenous animals. The fur trappers were followed by the pioneers sharing the Wind River Range and Wyoming’s highest peak with the Native Americans who still inhabit over two million acres of this vast wilderness. Butch Cassidy, the Marlborough Man and The National Outdoor Leadership School reach out beyond its boundaries. Today sportsmen and city slickers come to join the locals hosted first by the wild flowers of spring and departing after the last brilliant colors of Indian summer have faded. Following the hustle and bustle of the warmer months is the quiet and solitude of winter defined by short days, bitter cold nights and the brilliant sun reflecting on the pristine snow. The frosty silence is not broken by the skiers gliding through the terrain or a herd of elk foraging for food. Perhaps only the cry of a wolf or the cracking of an ice formation disturbs this peace.

The portrayal of this land and its people is aptly told with image and word. The photographs provide the inspiration and the text demonstrates the knowledge and passion that only can be communicated by someone who has learned to call this vast and beautiful part of the world home.

Reviewer Ann Zollinger is the owner of Dream Horse Vacations and a docent for The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation at Ridgewood Ranch in Northern California. For more information on SHF please visit their website at www.seabiscuitheritage.org.

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