Author: Jennifer Marshall Bleakley
Major Themes: Children, Horses, Therapy
Synopsis: How can hurting horses help hurting children?
A horse story for adults? This idea was quite intriguing to me when I read the sign-up information for Joey, so I looked into the book a bit farther. What I saw made me want to read the story. I was not disappointed—this is an incredible account!
The prologue is enough to draw you in, as a woman discovers a herd of horses dying of neglect and starvation. Although we are never told what happened to cause this, the book follows the life of one of the horses, Joey, an appaloosa, for the next several years. Because of the neglect, Joey was completely blind. Kim, who had recently founded an equine therapy ranch to help troubled children, took him under her wing—but would he be able to adjust to living in a new home, with a new companion, and be able to help children?
The account of the founding of Hope Reins, the ranch, which is in North Carolina, is very interesting. The story of how the ranch was founded and how God provided what was needed to build it and keep it going is interwoven with Joey’s story, as well as the stories of the people who volunteered there and cared for the horses.
I found it fascinating to read about the various solutions the staff of Hope Reins came up with to help Joey. I had never thought about what it would be like for a horse to go blind. It was also incredible to read about how he helped children who came into his life. I had never heard of equine therapy before, but it makes sense that hurting children would be helped by helping hurting animals. And, it wasn’t just children that found help and healing; some of the adult volunteers did, as well.
This is a book for horse lovers—but not just for horse lovers. This is also a book for anyone who likes to read about the different ways God works in people’s lives, and it is a book for people who care about hurting children. I highly recommend this true story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults