At the age of three, Rowan was diagnosed with autism. Alongside many difficulties, it meant that he was virtually unable to speak. One day, his father Rupert introduced him to Betsy, the neighbour's old brown horse - and was astonished at what happened. This powerful mare suddenly dropped her head and stood stock still. No matter what Rowan did - shrieking, babbling, rolling on the ground - she remained still, quiet, submissive. 'Shall I put you up?' he asked. 'Up!' Rowan said. It was the first meaningful word he had ever spoken. So began an epic journey on horseback from their home in Texas to the wilds of Mongolia. Rupert Isaacson takes us on a magical adventure, describing how these mysterious and sensitive creatures provided the key to unlocking his son's hidden personality.
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Rupert Isaacson is the author of The Healing Land, a 2004 New York Times Notable Paperback, The Wild Host: History and Meaning of the Hunt, a history of man's relationship with hunting, five guidebooks to Africa and India and the Action Guide to Britain, a guide to adventure sports. His journalism and travel writing have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Esquire, National Geographic, Independent on Sunday, Conde Nast Traveller, Daily Mail and The Field. He is an ex-professional horse trainer and founding director of the Indigenous Land Rights Fund (www.landrightsfund.org).Review:
"Isaacson charts his son's progress and regressions with an endearing tenderness.... Readers also follow the rare moments when Rowan expresses affection for his father, who is honest and humble throughout. And the author's chatty and self-deprecating storytelling adds a welcome buoyancy to a weighty experience. Meanwhile, Mongolia makes a fetching backdrop for this father/son love story.... Rooting for Rowan through all this... makes "The Horse Boy" an unexpected page turner." -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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