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4.7 out of 5 stars178
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on 6 April 2009
Having a grandchild myself who is somewhere on the autism spectrum is one of the things that attracted me to the book when I read part of a serialisation in a daily newspaper. Having then purchased the book I made it my bedtime reading and found it to be enjoyable and thought provoking. Who would want this life? It is well written and flows well,testimony to it coming straight from the heart. I can only praise the strength of both parents but particularly the father's in wanting the best for his son who I hope continues to make progress in an often less than understanding world. It shows us too that we shouldn't be so judgemental on how children behave, we never know why they might be tantruming and so should be more understanding. To give this insight into both Rowans world and the difficulties of their own is a brave thing to do but shows us too how to follow our own convictions and listen to what our heart and mind is saying. The book also paints a very vivid picture of Mongolia, more beautiful than I would have thought but also in parts as sad as many other parts of our world but tells of great people who didn't judge but were prepared to help. Well worth the read, highly recommendable and purchasing a copy also helps fund a place where other 'special' children may be with animals to help them.
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on 24 April 2009
This book takes the reader into the world of loving parents living a nightmare. A beautiful child caught in the world of autism, a father who is able to act on his intuitions, with the sometimes reluctant support of the child's mother, together take us on a miraculous journey. it is the father who is the ruthlessly honest narrator of his quest for an entrance into the mind of the child. Personally, i would have liked to have heard the mother's voice as well. But the book is powerful, unputdownable, and probably one of a kind. I found myself caught up in the journey into healing through the power of animal-meeting-human spirituality. Disarming honesty, humour and above all love and tolerance, makes this an unforgettable read.
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on 14 July 2010
Whilst, this book came highly recommended to me, by someone who also lives closely with a child on the autistic spectrum, I think it is also a good read for anyone who likes heartwarming, personal stories, as well as anyone interested in shamanism. Written by Rupert Issacson, himself a travel writer, about his and his wife's healing journey into the furthest reaches of Mongolia, with their young autistic son, Rowan - on horseback (well mostly - although do read the Chapter 'Vanboy', where Rupert despairs that he will ever get Rowan out of the (leopard print) van and back onto a horse.) As a parent of a child with autism, I found many parallels with my own existence, it makes you feel that you are not alone (parents of autistic children can end up feeling very isolated), and take my hat off to such a brave undertaking! It has given me renewed hope about going camping again - even though last year was such a nightmare. Sad in places and tongue in cheek in others about the everyday traumas that parents of children with autism can experience, i.e the desparate attempt to find coveted plastic animals in a soggy quagmire, with your feet, because you know your life might not be worth living without the aforementioned - plastic animals. This is also an amazing document of the Mongolian Shamans' innerworkings in recent times. Mr Issacson documents the biggest gathering of shamans in Mongolia, in recent history, since the time of persecutions. An amazing description of a healing ceremony. He also raises discussion about what it is to be a parent and what do we mean by healing? Also it is a story about acceptance and comparitive culture, in its widest possible sense. The Horse Boy foundation is bringing horse riding tochildren with autism through a number of locations and encouraging engagement with the beauty of nature through their centres in the UK and Texas.
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on 27 July 2009
The Horse Boy is the best book I've read in years. I am retired and read even more now than I did. It's funny, sad and truly amazing. The ending is very unexpected.
I've lent the book to 6 people and they have all bought a copy.
Try it.
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on 11 March 2009
The Horse Boy by Rupert Isaacson.

LOVED this book! I was profoundly moved and inspired by the bravery of this child and his parents to endure the inner torture his autism seemed to bring him, at times and the incredable resilience and love they have and had to just keep going.

I am ashamed to say I was scarred of autism and how hard it must be for all involved, that i just would turn away, I understand so much more now and instead of scarred, I am inspired, it opened my eyes and gave me a large dose of hope.

The length parents go for the love of thier child is incredable, this moved me deeply.

Ofcourse, I cried, you can't not, however, Rupert is very funny and it was a great balance of reality to hillarity, if I was crying one minute, he'd have me laughing the next. His candid portrayal of their strengths and weakness's and the sheer wildness of the adventure ( I could NEVER be that brave!) were refreshing and had me reading almost continuiously until I finished it.

I've never read every single word from start to finish; the prologue, publishers just everything, I didn't want it to end.

Kate Turner Mays
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on 12 July 2010
The best book I have read in years. After reading the first page I was hooked and finished it within two days! If you have got onto this page of reviews you are obviously interested and trying to decide, I urge you please buy this book you definately won't regret it! I personally judge a book by how I feel when reading it and how absorbed in the story I get, one minute I was crying the next laughing out loud and cheering with joy! Its rare to find a book that can have such an effect on your emotions! It makes you feel as if you are on the journey with them! It is written in such a truthful and touching manor from a father doing everything he can and more to find a way into his sons world. Anyone would enjoy this book, whether you known someone who has autism are a parent, friend, teacher have an interset in Autism, shamans and healing or horses. I personally work with children with autism and learnt so much from the book. I also horse ride and my love for horses has grown even more from reading this amazing story.

This book offers a fascinating insight into the mind of a child with autism and a completely honest account of the emotions a parent goes through. Again I urge you to please buy it an added bonus is that part of the money for all sales goes towards scolarships for the Horseboy equestrian centre in Texas. It is truly an amazing inspiring story and Im already reading it again!
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on 17 April 2009
This book not only contains the truth of what it is like to be a parent under very stressful circumstances it highlights the pure love strength and determination that turned all their lives around; it also brings you close to nature and animals and their great importance in our lives. So if you love natural Horsemanship you'll love this book.
I particularly liked Ruperts acknowledgement that he felt in some way to blame for his sons autism, he questioned why this had happened, that he may have had a faulty gene that he had passed on etc. It is only when we are fully prepared to acknowledge our inner fears and illusions that we can free ourselves from them.
I loved Betsy and her knowingness her love and wisdom pouring forth on Rowan. I had a respect for Rupert and Kristen and their compassion, patience and love for each other and their beautiful boy Rowan.
Rupert perseveres against all his nagging doubts and listens to the voice within, believes in himself and sees it through. A Mammoth journey,I feel privileged to have shared.
This book is a delight to read and I couldn't put it down, I felt moved and inspired. I thoroughly recommend it as it prioritises to me what is important in life. Looking forward to seeing the film.
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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2009
Deeply moving and inspirational. Isaacson's son Rowan is diagnosed with autism and as his rages, difficult behaviours and inability to toilet train bring Isaacson and his wife to the edge of their coping abilities at age 5 he is walking one day with his father in the woods and throws himself at the feet of a neighbour's horse, Bessie. She spontaneously submits to him, some kind of non-verbal communication takes place. Isaacson begins to ride with Rowan in front of him on Bessie and then gets the crazy idea of taking Rowan to meet with the horse shamans of Mongolia to see if they are able to heal him. What follows is the tale of an amazing journey from the States (a meeting with Temple Grandin) via the UK to the dirty urban sprawl of Ulan Bataar, a healing ceremony performed by 9 shamans from all over Mongolia and an epic journey north by jolting van and horseback to seek the reindeer shaman Ghost in the great Siberian Taiga forests. Isaacson explores faith, desperation and describes the journey he, his wife and Rowan take with a healthy cynicism. An unmissable book, and the proceeds from the book go to help the family in their project to help more autistic children by giving them the chance to work with horses.
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on 16 April 2010
This book exceeded all expectations. My interest in reading this book was primarily to absorb more about the power of animal behaviour in curative medicine. Much more than this, the author's creative writing style transported me to the far ends of the earth. By the end it was as if his son, Rowan, was as familiar to me as my young nephew. This book gives so much: a five star travel journal; an insight into the power of animal behaviour and an excellent understanding of autism, its impact on family life and an introduction to the possibility that the balance can be adjusted (either way). What I didn't realise I would learn from this book was the story of Shamans - far better than any "history of" or "theoretical work on": this first hand exploration has made me immensely more aware. It's so good, I've just bought another 4 copies for friends and family to share.The Horse Boy: A Father's Miraculous Journey to Heal His Son: The True Story of a Father's Miraculous Journey to Heal His Son
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on 21 July 2009
This is a must read for anyone with an interest in the healing powers of horses and the mystical ways of the Shaman. As a parent of a child with special needs I found it to be an inspiring, uplifting and honest account of one parents overwhelming desire to ease the dysfunctional difficulties of his son's autism. As he rightly says, his son cannot be cured of autism but he can be healed of the dysfunctions that can accompany the condition. The journey from the diagnosis of autism to the intrepid account of trekking across Mongolia seeking the help of a very powerful shaman from the Reindeer Tribe is incredibly moving. The shear level of endurance needed is astonishing and the outcome triumphant. It leaves you crying but for all the right reasons!
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