Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me

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9780061714443: Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me

Combine Seabiscuit with Manic—throw in a touch of HBO’s “Temple Grandin”—and you get Long Shot, a truly remarkable memoir by Sylvia Harris. A single mother of three, Harris was crippled by bipolar depression, until she discovered the miraculous healing and calming effect of horses—a revelation that ultimately enabled her to manage her illness, conquer the sexism of her field, and triumph as a champion jockey in the male-dominated world of horse racing. A fascinating, courageous, and ultimately redemptive true story, Long Shot has won high praise from Phyllis Chesler Ph.D., author of Women and Madness, who says, “[Harris’s] attempt to find balance, joy, connectedness, and purpose in life constitutes a great adventure story.”

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From the Back Cover:

Seabiscuit meets Manic when Sylvia Harris, a single mother crippled by her struggles with bipolar depression, discovers the healing, calming effect of horses.

Alcohol. Lithium. Buddhist chanting.

To quiet the voices in her mind, Sylvia Harris tried all of the above. At times, her manic behavior led her to dress up as a cowgirl and show off her imaginary rope skills in the middle of a quaint Northern California village, or spend the night in a torpor of fear awaiting the alien invasion she knew was on the horizon. At its worst, it led her to look for love in all the wrong places and create a family she had difficulty caring for. Although she sometimes found temporary relief and brief moments of calm, darkness always followed. At the nadir of her twenty-year battle with bipolar depression, Harris found salvation in the most unlikely of places: Cardinal Farm, an equine ranch outside of Orlando, Florida.

Harris had always been drawn to animals, but she had no idea of the healing power she would discover while working with horses. And though she still experienced raging highs and destabilizing lows, eventually—through grooming, caring for, and, against all odds, racing horses—she was able to find stability and, ultimately, joy.

With an unflinching eye toward her weaknesses and the pain that her life decisions have inflicted on others, Harris examines the ravaging power of her bipolar behavior and the magical power of horses, showing us how the mythic interspecies connection between humans and these magnificent animals continues to astonish and inspire.

About the Author:

Sylvia Harris is a jockey. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware. This is her first book.

Coauthor Eunetta T. Boone is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and an award-winning sportswriter. She is a writer, creator, and producer of television as well as film.

Coauthor Bill Boulware is also a writer, creator, and producer of television, and has been a freelance writer for The Cosby Show and various PBS programs, among others. He has taught writing at the American Film Institute, USC, and UCLA. He also contributed an essay to the Writers Guild Foundation's book Doing It for Money.

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