California Riding Magazine • September, 2013

Book & DVD Reviews
Ivory Pal: Born to Fly Higher

Ivory Pal: Born to Fly Higher
Written by Cindy McCauley
Reviewed by Lucy Bobek

The main character in this book is Ivory Pal, a palomino stallion that refused to cooperate with standard Tennessee Walking Horse training techniques. He is purchased by Rafael Valle, whose patient horsemanship lovingly revives Ivory Pal's spirit and cooperation.
Raphael rejects standard training methods and avoids the pattern of resistance previously found in Ivory Pal. Walking Horses can be subjected to "soring," which is trimming hooves to a level that the horse, in pain, lifts his leg high. Also, using weights on the legs causes high stepping. (There is more information on soring and related practices at

Rafael obviously respects animals and states that, to him, they are equal to humans. He is tuned in to a horse's demeanor, and does not ride Pal on the rare occasion Pal does not meet him at the gate. Ivory Pal seems more like a partner with no hard feelings about his difficult past. Equally impressive are Raphael's people skills when he tactfully fields admissions from trainers who regret harsh training methods.

Despite Raphael's winning ways, he was shocked when Ivory Pal was not awarded ribbons at shows. It seems that in traditional circles the winners were already picked before the show. The book portrays how he found more progressive groups who wanted to promote the natural beauty of the Walking Horse. Ivory Pal became a well-known and decorated horse, trailblazing the way for natural horsemanship.

alking Horses are still subjected to training methods that would be considered extreme for other horse breeds, and Ivory Pal is proof that other training methods work.

Proceeds from the book are donated to horse rescue. My only criticism of the book is that the author does not mention horse rescue in the story. There is so much hope running through the veins of this book that other horses could benefit from promotion of horse rescue.

Reviewer Lucy Bobek enjoys riding her 27-year-old Quarter Horse and volunteering for charities.