In her debut memoir, Tait-Zeller chronicles her lifelong love affair with horses.
As a small child, Tait-Zeller’s appetite for all things equestrian was fed by playing with horse toys of every shape and size, watching horse movies and visiting local fairs to tour the horse barns. Then an accident turned augury occurred on a visit to her relatives’ farm. While riding her cousin’s horse, Dusty, she slipped off and landed in front of the horse; the momentum caused the horse’s front hoof to step directly on Tait-Zeller’s forehead. “Dusty should have squashed my head like a melon...but she didn’t....I remember later that evening marveling in the mirror at the perfect hoof print impression on my forehead. I had no headache, and the hoof print was gone by the morning. It was my first recollection of a horse that took care of me in spite of the odds and I was branded for life.” Lucky for her and the equine world, the author got a horse for her 10th birthday, thus beginning a life spent caring for, handling, teaching and rescuing a multitude of horses and ponies. Tait-Zeller beautifully and simply portrays the unique qualities and personalities of each horse that trots in and out of her life as she buys, trades, loves and loses them. Her family shares her affection for horses, and the narrative involves their experiences as well. What the stories may lack in rich sensory descriptions, they make up for in dramatic tension, humor and heart. Some even prompt page-turning at a gallop. She describes the marvel of witnessing a mare giving birth, watching her small son and an exuberant foal chase each other in circles, and the agony of having to euthanize the family’s beloved horse. Some of the quirky tales include a barhopping horse one Halloween night, an unlucky landing on a prickly cactus while playing a game involving an imaginary cowboy, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police chasing three of the author’s delinquent horses that roamed the streets of a small town in the middle of the night. Black-and-white photos accompany many of the stories, though the reader must sometimes guess identities since they aren’t properly attributed. Also, a glossary would have been helpful for those unschooled in equestrian language.
A sweet ride on a lovely journey with an expert, horse-loving guide.