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Women & Horses by Mary D. Midkiff - horseback riding fitness techniques for women

Women & Horses, knowledge for the female equestrian; female equestrian fitness training and riding tips

Review of "She flies Without Wings:
How Horses Touch a Woman's Soul" by Mary D. Midkiff

Reprinted from the "Horse & Rider Magazine" (May 2001)
Review by Honi Roberts

It's no secret; the vast majority of today's equestrians and horse owners are women. For all of us who've sought out our "hayburners" to share a moment of triumph or trauma, and marveled at the exquisite kinship shared-horsewoman and storyteller, Mary D. Midkiff has penned a gem of a book.

She Flies Without Wings, How Horses Touch a Woman's Soul explores and celebrates the magic that exists between women and their horses. Midkiff draws from a lifetime of personal experience. Raised in Bluegrass country, at the knee of her grandfather, Dan B. Midkiff Sr., an owner and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses, she writes, "When I was six, I was a horse." She's caught me - many a morning, I "loped" my way to school. And I recall the top trainer who confided that, as a kid, she drank from horse's buckets, and munched their hay- until one day some alfalfa stuck in her throat. The vast territory this girl/woman-horse relationship covers is ripe for exploration, and Midkiff takes us on a fascinating journey.

Several horses in Midkiff's life, including her current mare, Theo, were initially difficult or unresponsive. She recounts how gentle patience and compassion peel away the barriers to a joy-filled partnership. Her experience in writing and presenting workshops on fitness and performance for the female equestrian give an added depth to her observations. Interviews with both horse owners and would-be owners round out her anecdotal volume.

I particularly like the equine quotations interspersed throughout-from Celtic lore, to Shakespeare, to Marguerite Henry- that made me feel a part of the centuries-old magic that connects woman and horse. Already, a couple have found their way to my bulletin board, and a few from Midkiff herself will follow. Perhaps this: "I know horses touch the souls of many women. Horses are giant yet generous with their strength, their power, and their gentle affection. By their very nature they embody and resolve the contradictions we all struggle with: They are strong and soft, calm and driven, wild and manageable, needy and independent. We see that the horse lives its own life, speaks in its own way, moves where it needs to go. Its directness and simplicity offer a thousand-pound counterpart to our own complicated and less honest human interactions. The horse shows us how to be complete."

If you've had, or hoped for, the richness and challenge of a horse in your life, you'll enjoy this book. Experience the magic.

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