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The Long Ride Home: The Extraordinary Journey of Healing that Changed a Child's Life Paperback – 19 Jun 2014
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There is enough here to suggest that something - be it the power of mind, ritual or maybe magic itself - can help bring an autistic child from near total darkness out into the world (Daily Mail)
It is probably only once in a critical lifetime that one will be moved almost to tears ... a triumph of the human spirit (Telegraph (on 'The Horse Boy'))
Magical, miraculous, uplifting (Daily Mail (on 'The Horse Boy'))
Amazing, astonishing (Sunday Times (on 'The Horse Boy'))
About the Author
Rupert Isaacson was born in London in 1967 to Southern African parents. He currently lives in Austin, Texas. His books include The Healing Land, which chronicles his time spent living with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert and his adventure helping them to win back their lost hunting grounds; The Wild Host, the History and Meaning of the Hunt; and The Horse Boy, which tells the story of his quest on horseback across Mongolia to find healing for his autistic son Rowan. The Horse Boy was translated into 30 languages.
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Having been instructed by the healer they visted in Mongolila to make three more journeys to seek healing from other shamas (spiritual healers), the family undertake three more journeys: to Africa, to Australia, and finally nearer home, to one living in the USA. For me, these books opens a window not only on autism, but on the very real powers of healers from ancient tribes who hand on their knowledge and skills down the generations. These people live in tribal groups, support each other, and seem to accept unquestioningly those who are different or "abnormal", and the healing described iis truly incredible.
But is is not only Rown who is healed. His parents too benefit, learning to accept him for what he is, not wanting to change him, but to help him find his own kind of happiness and fulfillment . Progress is slow, there are heartbreaking setbacks and frustrations, but in the end, Rowan and his family triumph.
The author has now set up his own centre for the healing of autistic children (the sales of his books help to fund this), using horses and other animals, and as natural an environment as possible to enable the children to grow and flourish. At the end of the book, he questions modern insular living, and the lack of spiritual awareness in today's society. It is a book to enlighten, inspire, and perhaps most of all, to make the readers (or this reader) question the establishment we in the West have come to accept.
Read it! You won't regret it.
The Long Ride Home is an emotionally charged book which tells the story of an incredible journey taken by parents; Rupert and Kristin and their wonderful young son; Rowan.
Rowan has made significant progress since his earlier horseback adventure in Mongolia in 2007, as ‘The Horse Boy’; when he met Ghoste. Now a new adventure begins as he is joined by his parents and his grandmother to embark on yet another journey of healing.
Rowan’s father; Rupert has lifelong links to Africa and with many of the Shamans who share the gift of healing. He first encountered the mystery of ‘Shamanic Healing’ when he was just seven years old.
Rupert is learning to accept his son’s autism and to no longer seek a cure but rather to search for the hidden portals that might enable his son to overcome the many milestones ahead. He describes his son’s autism as:
“So strange, this mix of language and memory, of sharp intellect and clouded perception, that makes up his autism”.
Like all parents, Kristin and Rupert long to be able to engage with their son in conversation. They are desperately seeking a way for him to be able to avoid the terrible tantrums that torment him. They long for Rowan’s incontinence to be a difficult memory rather than a constant case of tremendous stress.
They are hopeful that if they follow Ghoste’s guidance; given to them in Mongolia; and take three more healing journeys, then these three major milestones may be overcome. Their love for their cherished son is undeniable:
“Rowan’s laughter like silver bells, nourishing me his father, as only the laughter of one’s own beloved child can do”.
Rupert reflects fondly on his time spent helping the Bushmen of Botswana win back their land out in Africa, and realises that;
“Now I was coming as supplicant asking for healing for my son, for myself, because there can be no real separation between a parent and a child; one love, one heart, always and forever”.
Rowan’s connection with horses is hardly surprising given his father’s active role in the world of horses. The child is mesmerised by the four legged vision’s he sees in Africa;
“He watched awestruck, as we drove slowly through that world of hoof and mane and muscle….”
So the reader takes this illuminating journey with Rowan and his family and the stress and anxiety experienced by the family at times in this book are felt vividly.
We read of outlandish characters, true individuals of mystique and wonder; Besa, Harold and Blue Horse, all so unique and each gifted with the power to heal.
There are moments of humour in this book and one that immediately springs to mind is the curious conversation that two of the healers have on meeting. Their greeting continues:
“Face like an old dead spirit”
“Death to your penis”
Many exchanges between Rowan and Rupert I also found humorous’ The horrendous time Rupert had to endure relating his ‘poop in the bath story’ on the train in Romania, to a packed train of traumatised listeners; I found very funny. I realise he was suitably mortified; but I can’t help feeling that Rowan has a quirky sense of humour too!
The beauty and the harshness of the changing landscapes as the journeys continue throughout this novel transport the reader to different continents; Africa, Australia, Eatern Europe and The USA. We learn so much about the wildlife and the vegetation of each location and the reader is enriched by many fascinating facts from places most of us will never ever frequent.
It is very clear from reading this book that we as a society are shameful and intolerant. Autism has it’s challenges for families who have been gifted with such wonderful individuals; it is now time for everyone to consider another whole dimension to all these incredible people and we require teaching and ultimately healing ourselves.
I enjoyed reading about Rowan’s struggle to find his way threw the fog and into a brighter environment. I admire his parents’ endless determination to find the best route to their cherished child’s happiness and fulfilment.
I would score this book 8 out of a possible 10. I would recommend this book to all Neuro-typical Readers!
Reviewed by The Mother Booker (Dublin) June 2014
One of the heart warming true stories of our time ! it was a very easy to read
As a now retired specialist in autism I'd recommend anyone who is interested or has a child with the disorder to read Rupert's frank account of his own personal feelings and his every day challenges.
I realise most people wouldn't be making the same journey of discovery but he gives some very good tips on how to deal with the various behaviours through his own experience and learning curve.
Its also worth reading just as an adventure story and learning the history of tribes long forgotten and their powers of healing.
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