Chosen by a Horse
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Chosen by a Horse

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  4,536 ratings  ·  686 reviews
The horse Susan Richards chose for rescue wouldn’t be corralled into her waiting trailer. Instead Lay Me Down, a former racehorse with a foal close on her heels, walked right up that ramp and into Susan’s life. This gentle creature—malnourished, plagued by pneumonia and an eye infection—had endured a rough road, but somehow her heart was still open and generous. It seemed...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 4th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

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Sammy
I cried. Not going to lie, if my mom hadn't been in the same room as me, I probably would have been bawling with a baby. Now I want to say why (it could have been happy crying, it could have been sad crying, it could have been both) so, you are officially warned that there are probably going to be spoilers contained in this review...

Chosen by a Horse is an amazing novel whether or not you're a horse or animal lover. It may touch those of us who have loved and owned animals a little more, but don...more
Terri
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth Sims
Chosen by a Horse
Susan Richards

This book is one of my favorite forms of literature: a memoir. A well-written memoir is better than any novel, and I say that as a writer of novels.

From the back cover: ” …Lay Me Down, a former racehorse with a foal close on her heels walked right up that ramp (of the waiting trailer) and into Susan’s life.”
The author has three other horses and they are so individualistic and personable that they are real characters in this true drama without descending into Disn...more
P. Kirby
Is it just me, or are Friesians now the only horses who are allowed in movies or to grace book covers? The titular horse in Chosen by a Horse is a Standardbred. The horse on the cover, though lovely with its long mane and forelock, is a Friesian. (Or maybe a very dark Andalusian, it's hard to tell.) I guess Standardbreds aren't showy enough for book covers.

Susan Richards's writing is engaging and her descriptions of all things horsey, is dead on. But this memoir, nevertheless, falls short.

First,...more
Jesse
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Chelsea
Truly amazing book!The beginning, middle , and ending was all very precise, exact and if you are a horse lover it is a touching book! I cried before the book ended, the book is a memoir of the author,Susan Richards, so the feelings were not made up and knowing that someone actually felt this love and pain is so amazing. It makes it seem so real, and honestly this book may not look good but, if you have an interest in horses, you will love this book. It starts off slow but, there is a part in the...more
Adina
This is a sweet story with sections of good writing and lucidity. Overall, the author allows herself too many repetitive moments of self-indulgence. Even a memoir should be allowed to unfold with subtlety and more "showing" than "telling." That being said, the ending is clear, creative and poignant.
Trish
This is a bittersweet tale, beautifully written and edited. It had nothing extra. What may have taken a year or two to write, took just an evening to read. It exhibited, for me, a very affirming personality. A woman who'd knocked about (read: been knocked about) a bit, but who shows us the best of the human condition: love, integrity, generosity, acceptance, humor.

I loved reading of the horses, because she has such long experience handling them, and of Cornell, certainly one of the most beautifu...more
Beth Cato
This is an approachable and fast memoir that most any animal lover would enjoy. Susan Richards had a lot of baggage, but by the time she entered her 40s she regarded herself as an independent woman in control of her life. She had conquered the alcohol addiction that dominated her for decades. She shed an abusive husband and family. But when she agreed to take care of an abused mare and foal, she got more than she bargained for. The mare, Lay Me Down, had every right to hate humans, but she didn'...more
Becky Norman
I so didn't want to like this book; didn't want to condone the soft-hearted, tree-hugger anthropomorphizing that went on about how horses view their lives; didn't want to be manipulated into feeling bad for the situation of a sick rescue horse. Of course, my resolve lasted just as long as it took for the "real" story to come out. You know the one: the real story where horses have this uncanny way of unlocking the emotions we humans think we've so cleverly tucked away - the way we identify all to...more
Lisa
Wow....I read this well within 48 hours.

What a wonderful story devoted to the power of love. Lay Me Down enabled Susan to openly explore her personal history. In doing so this beautiful horse gave Susan the opportunity to work upon her issues. Lay Me Down in a sense gave Susan her life back.

I loved Georgia and empathised as to why Susan did and I have to confess that from the very start I loathed Hank.

I am currently saving for my own horse and cannot wait for the day that I begin the sacred sear...more
Hannah
Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards was an astonishing memoir for horse-lovers, like me, and for anyone and everyone who likes heart-felt books. This novel was superior because it not only tells a story of a bond between a woman and her horse, but it also tells about some interesting history in the beginning. This book brought a smile to my face every time I read it. Like in every other book, there are, of course, the sad parts. The memoir was inspiring and helpful.
Sandy
This is a memoir of a woman's personal transformation with the help of a rescued horse. It is interesting and pretty well written, with some very interesting 'asides', (her great grandmother!) and the fascinating manor house in New York state where she is a social worker... intriguing to me because of the architecture she describes and the stunning setting... so interesting for a halfway house from hell for so many of those she works with. Also interesting to me is that this is the second contem...more
Tasha
3.5

The book itself was about a 3 star read but the emotions it packed at the end gave me more. I just finished reading Seabiscuit: An American Legend and wasn't ready to let go of a horse story, my childhood obsession with horses was reignited (not an obsession now though just more of a wonderful fascination). So, as this book has been on my radar it seemed a perfect time to pick it up. A nice memoir but I was more into the connection the author had with the horse Lay Me Down rather than her p...more
Melissa Martin
THIS BOOK IS SO BEAUTIFULLY SAD. I CAN RELATE TO THE AUTHOR ON SO MANY LEVELS IT'S ALMOST SCARY. IT'S A STORY ABOUT A HORSE, HORSES AND ONE WOMAN'S LIFE IN THIS WORLD.

I RECOMMEND THIS TO ANY ANIMAL LOVER.

IF I COULD WRITE ELOQUENT REVIEWS I WOULD DO THAT HERE AND ON MANY BOOKS. HAPPY READING!
Aleksandra
That we have to put ourselves in the other beings shoes, in order to understand their unmet needs and driving emotions. I guess you can just say emotions are one type of need, but just as real as thirst, or dominance. Two parallel lives here, who saves whom?
A good book to cry over. You dont usually deal with the gritty details of putting down a sick and abused animal. Richards gets a good review from Temple Grandin and I guess I needed that cry over my dog.
If you feeling that comfort in death s...more
Bell Hall
Chosen by a Horse is by Susan Richards. It was 248 pages long. This book has pros and cons. The con was that its hard to understand if you are not a horse person. I could read it just fine because i ride horses. That was the only con this book had. The book had many pros. One pro is the detail the author gives. She is in depth with describing injuries and pain. Another pro is Susan tells her story on the magic that can happen when you take the time to do something. Lay me down (the horse) is a e...more
Leigh
Apr 10, 2014 Leigh rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one, to be honest
Meh. This book felt disjointed and lacked a really strong narrative core. At first I was willing to overlook the questionable writing, until I read that blurb about the author on the back and found that she teaches English and writing at a college level. In that case, the writing was sub-par at best. I had a variety of issues with it:

1) She assumes that any reader who picks this up and doesn't know anything about horses needs to be told in parentheses that a horse's hocks are their elbows (not s...more
Amanda
This book was absolutely beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I purchased this book at a used book sale, because I have rescued horses in the past and wanted to read about another woman's success in rescuing this horse. However, this book was about SO much more than that - this is a story that truly touched my heart and soul. I bawled my eyes out more than once, and the emotion throughout the book was so strong it was hard not to become emotionally involved with the characters (especially Lay...more
Jen Geraedts
I was reluctant to read this because I'm not a "horse person", but my book group picked it, so I went ahead and I LOVE it. It doesn't matter if you're a horse person or not, if you've ever cared for another creature and had to battle your way through rough times in life, then you'll "get" this book. My favorite passage from this book has nothing to do with animals - it has to do with writing.
Ssfrazin
I picked this book up at Midway airport on New Year's Eve and finished it in a day. I loved the beginning--single woman in her forties agrees to board a horse that been removed from the owner by the SPCA. There are lessons to be learned from every relationship and this is true of Susan's relationship with Lay Me Down. In the end, though, the book lacked something.
Stephanie Ricker
Chosen by a Horse was a sodden, sentimental, dreary, shallow thing which somehow became a bestseller. Then again, I suppose those adjectives could be applied to many bestsellers. Ugh. My coworkers are very sweet and often lend me books. Sometimes, they're fantastic. Other times...less so. Yet I always feel compelled to read them all the way through! Why, why??
Rachel
I received this book from my Grandmother years ago! I kept putting it off for some reason. I finally decided to give it a try since I volunteer with a horse rescue organization and the author, Susan Richards, adopts a horse from a rescue organization. I have to admit...I lied when I said I didn't read it earlier because lo and behold I found a spot where I had underlined and written on it. I guess I read it but nothing stuck with me! However, on this first/second reading, I enjoyed the story and...more
Karen
I am a sucker for animal stories. This one really touched my heart. A memoir that addresses life and death, pain and self-doubt and what it takes to climb back up out of the abyss. Yes, I cried. But I also smiled thru most of the book and the wonderment of such a bond between human and animal. Lay Me Down and Hotshot will forever be in my memory.
Nicole Richards
It has been a while since I have read something like this. When my dog Lexie died I read anything and everything I could get my hands on that spoke about the loss of an animal and how the relationship helped the owner to grow. Lexie was a birthday present from my husband and only lived for 6 years. Letting her go was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and only now, years later, can I look back and know with absolute surety that we did the right thing at the right time.
Reading this h...more
Louise Mary Moore
This book made me sob my heart out. Nearly every page is a tear jerker and it broke my heart reading this. Being a horse owner myself i think brings everything out in the open and especially owning a horse that was abused mentally and physically aswell. Amazing and heartbreaking all the way through.
Karen
Wonderful memoir. I have always loved horses, but don't know much about them. Well written, this book was insightful into the bond between humans and horses. I could relate using my experience with cats and my dog.
Marie Biallas
Love, love, love this book!!!
Very touching story about a woman and the horse she loved. I cried more than once.
I'd give it more than 5 stars if I could.
Julie
A few pages into this, I stopped reading, worried that this memoir would be too slow and unrelatable for me, but I returned to it and gave it another chance. Once I got past some of the heavy "horse talk" in the opening and found that the writer was willing to expose her vulnerability in her writing, I was invested in the story.

If you are a horse lover or a horse owner, you will flat-out love this. However, you may also really like it if you have no opinion whatsoever about horses, but you like...more
Dustin
Amazing and touching story! Definitely worth the read. Plus it is a very quick read!
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“They say you can't escape your past, but I don't believe that. I believe you escape it every day, over and over again, always cognizant of the difference between past and present” 18 likes
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