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Saddled: How a Spirited Horse Reined Me in and Set Me Free

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  65 reviews
One day, at the age of thirty-one, Susan Richards realized that she was an alcoholic. She wrote it down in her journal, struck by the fact that it had taken nine years of waking up hung-over to name her illness. What had changed?

Susan had a new horse, a spirited Morgan named Georgia, and, as she says, "It had something to do with Georgia. It had something to do with
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Published May 4th 2010 by Tantor Media
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, horses
Susan Richards' "Saddled" is about more than horse ownership. It's about love, addiction and recovery as well.

Richards writes honestly about the abusive relationships she endured and about her alcoholism. Until she meets a Morgan mare named Georgia, Richards spends all of her time drinking. She stops because she knows that she needs to be sober to keep the beloved horse, but she continues other addictive patterns that were established early in her life.

Shuttled amongst various unaccepting family
Diane C.

I have a down side up side perspective on this book. I found the writing style a bit Oprah tabloidy, meaning no diminution of the authors awful childhood and resulting emotional damage. On the upside, the book made me understand (as a non horse owner, rider) how a relationship with a horse is on a whole different level from one with a dog, cat, etc.

The horse in this book did not give the author any quarter, yet gave her mutual love and respect. The first well adjusted relationship the author had
Kilian Metcalf
I'm a sucker for anything to do with horses, so when I saw the cover with its beautiful Arabian horse, I was hooked. Even when I found out that the horse in the story is a Morgan, I thought 'artistic license' and kept reading. Unfortunately, the story is about the writer overcoming her addiction to alcohol through her obsession to the horse. It could just as easily been about painting, or music, or running marathons. It just happened to be about her relationship with the horse. I just didn't ...more
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, the horse on the cover was the first thing that caught my attention. When I found out it was a Morgan horse I was even more interested. When I read the dust jacket and found out it was about a woman finding her place in the world after overcoming alcoholism....I wasn't sure I wanted to read on.

I did. It was worth it. Susan talks about how she found herself to be an alcoholic in a family of alcoholics. How she became sober - almost by accident - and discovered that the days were so much
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Susan Richards is such a talented writer, that I would be willing to read any book that she writes. Reading about her past, and the things that she went through, it just amazes me. So many of us see the family with a lot of money and think, Their life must be perfect, but hearing her story really makes you wonder how true that is. This book certainly made me feel greatful to have grown up in my middle class family. Knowing that I was a loved and cherished member of the family.
I liked the descriptions of the relationship between Susan and her horse. I think she has the kind of magical connection with Georgia that most horsewomen would dream of having. I also liked hearing about their long rides out in the woods alone with the dog. That imagery really has stuck with me.

Several quotes I found noteworthy while reading:
"It was the first time I considered that anxiety might be rooted in a kind of inflated self-importance, that even being shy had a component of false
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED the first book she wrote (Chosen by a horse), and the second (Chosen forever). This one was touching and beautiful, and harder to read.

She talks about her abusive relationship with her (now ex) husband. She talks about her alcoholism and trying to free herself from her addictions. She talks about wanting to die and feeling helpless and hopeless and not knowing why. I think my favorite part was her description of AA.

"I didn't know that becoming sober meant really changing. Not drinking
Esther Bradley-detally
I bumped into this book, and somehow after flipping through the pages and seeing, memoir, alcoholism in family, transformation, I took the book home from the Pasadena Central Library. I am a memoir addict, and the authentic and well written voice calls me. I couldn't put it down.

those who know me personally will imagine and know my delight in the author's triumphs and courage, but imagine that this reader, a pug devotee par excellence, gasps when she looks at the back inside cover flap and see
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse
Saddled: How a Spirited Horse Reined Me In and Set Me Free by Susan Richards was a book I discovered on GR Recommendations, and WOW!! what a discovery!!

I am a firm believer in the power of a horse’s ability to love, soothe, and gentle an owner’s anxiety and tension. This story beautifully exposes the facility of horses (could also be cats, dogs, and other domesticated critters) in diverting us humans away from angst, loneliness and other discomforts. Georgia, Tempo and Hotshot are like huge
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and honest story of a woman who finds the strength to change her life and her family legacy of addiction via a strong connection to a spirited horse.

I felt it was her ability to love the horse for, not in spite of, its "imperfection" in attitude that gave her permission to love herself and her own imperfections and begin her journey of healing.

In many ways the horse was a role model for another way of moving through life, with spirit and power and without apology for who she is. The
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Terry by: Saw it on susan's web site.
Wow is the first thing that comes to mind about this book, as I frequently find with this author. She is a magnificent writer. Susan writes from the heart, reaching deep within in her soul. Her writings are easliy followed and heart felt from front to back. They leave you hungry for more. She shows you that with love and devotion, one can get through anything. Anyone who has ever loved an animal of any kind will be able to relate and understand such a deep devotion that we have to our animal ...more
Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves horses, has an alchoholic friend or family member
So far I am annoyed that the book features a Morgan horse and the cover picture is of a Arabian horse! The book is promising, but details like that bug me.

I am sooo glad I went back and finished this book. I give very few ratings of 5, but this one deserves it. It is an unusual writing style with chapters hopping back and forth between the present and the past. A child bounced from one relative to another; who only feels grounded when at summer camp. Her work to become sober and to live up to
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
If you're a horse lover and expect this book to be primarily about horses, be forewarned. It's more about dysfunction, alcoholism, and recovery than it is about horses, although the author's relationship with her horse figures prominently. That said, I found it to be well-written and interesting. The author's recounting of her alcoholic years made me pretty irritated with her, but in the end she has some preceptive things to say about her life.
Why so many people find it difficult to stop drinking " the necessity of exchanging one identity for another. I knew who I was as a drinker. That identity, the confident, friendly, easygoing woman, might have been mostly a myth, but as long as I kept drinking, I wouldn't have to face that. But when the wine stopped flowing, there I was - someone I didn't know, someone full of nameless insecurities and fears with a one-size-fits-all coping skill: alcohol".
Cheryl Schibley
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
I love the way this author expresses herself. This is her 3rd book - all memoirs and all super good reading. More than just about horses - it's about her complicated and interesting life experiences. Such great reading. Highly recommended.
A story of healing...and horses...I enjoy the author's honesty and insight. She knows so well how magical and powerful horses are. Light, yet inspiring, book. I have one more of the author's books to read. I hope she is writing a new one as I type.
Melissa Kayden
Second book I read by Richards and I liked it, though I liked Chosen By A Horse better. I enjoyed the parts about the human/animal bond and about her (very sad) childhood but some of her memories were a little dull. I'd still like to read more by Richards though.
Mar 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The love of a horse helping an alcoholic get sober. What could be sweeter. I have read all of Susan's books and her love and understanding of horses it wonderful.
Mar 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dragged me down. Heard about it in the LAST memoir.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book.. It was a amazing story of what she learned from her horse and how the horse helped her change her life.
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Horses are therapy! Case closed!
LOVED IT. This chick is ME. Except for the rotten awful childhood and the rampant alcoholism. Everything after that...I want everything she talks about in her life. Especially the horses.
Tara Choate
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did like it, but it was hard for me (I work in DV). But I admire her willingness to look at herself and write a "real" account.
Michele Cifelli
Oct 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, very fast to read! Enjoying how the horse helped this woman through an abusive marriage and alcoholism.
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Susan Richard's writing. She is a courageous and very insightful writer.
Kelly Keller
The Alcoholic Who Loved Her Horse

While I believe in the author’s intention, there are many missed opportunities here. The narrative contains 3 central threads: the author’s struggle with alcoholism, her relationship with her horse, and the depiction of her abusive childhood. There is an attempt to connect these but the effort does not come off very well.

The writing does pick up steam as Richards talks about her horses. Georgia, the horse, has terrible manners. Bites, kicks, bucks, the whole
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished it in one sitting

I alternately cringed and glowed as I read. My childhood, in it’s own way, reflected the author’s. It hurt to read her descriptions of her formative years, being taught that she was unnecessary and unwanted by anyone. The connection to horses, though, struck a deep chord inside me. Like the author, I learned as a child that the company of horses made me feel whole, that the bubble we existed inside when we were together didn’t allow criticism or pain to enter. I have
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
...finding insight and peace through a horse

We are all broken in our own unique ways. For Susan, saddled with a life of loneliness, sadness, poor self-esteem led to an alcohol soaked adulthood. However, a beautiful horse, Georgia, gives her a reason to ground herself; to care for such a horse would require sobriety. Can this, teamed with moving where she doesn't know a soul help her reinvent and rebuild her life?
David Szatkowski
All of Susan Richard's books about horses and their positive effects on humans are quite lovely. I would recommend them for anyone look to see how animals in general and horses in particular can help people heal, deal with trauma, and generally be a better person.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: goodreads
It was interesting and in some ways inspiring, but in other ways depressing. It was less about the horse than I thought it would be and there was a little cussing. Overall though I was interested and wanting to keep reading.
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