A number of books have been written on the use of a
gentle, humane approach to break horses. Author Molly Gloss in her book, The
Hearts of Horses, has a way with words that encompasses far more for the
reader than breaking horses.
The setting is 1917 in Eastern
Oregon. Martha Lessen is a young woman who leaves home with two or
three horses ready to find her way in a troubled world by gently breaking
horses. World War I was well underway. Women were being called on to be ranch
hands and sometimes to even break horses.
But for anyone to break a horse Martha=s way
was certainly not the common method.
The first rancher she approached needed help
breaking his horses. It wasn=t long until she was working with horses at about a
half dozen ranches.
It is evident in reading The Hearts of Horses
that Gloss knew her subject. One could believe she was, herself, a horse
whisperer. Not so, but in order to understand how a horse thinks and acts, she
spent time observing the BLM wild horse auctions, attending a horse whisperer
clinic and even trying out what she had learned on one of the wild mustangs.
Gloss has provided different characters at each
ranch. And, yes, there is a bit of romance before the book ends.
The author keeps readers interested and intrigued
for almost 300 pages. It is a quick, easy read, written with clarity and
I found it especially inviting because it
intertwines ranching, a bit of Oregon
history, a little about the concerns and issues of WWI and concludes some 20
years later, all in a realistic way and as one who reads little fiction, I
thoroughly enjoyed this approach.
Molly Gloss will be at the Eagle Point Library to
talk about her book and other two books on Thursday, Mar. 27 at 6 p.m. Her
other books are Wild Life, The Dazzle of Day and The Jump-Off
Creek. Jump-Off Creek won the Oregon
Book Award, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the
PEN/Faulkner award. The Dazzle of Day received the PEN West Fiction
Prize and was a New York Times notable book. Wild Life won the James Tiptree
Award and in 2002 was selected for Seattle=s citywide reading program. She will have her books
available for purchase and signing. Refreshments will be provided. Her
appearance is sponsored by the Eagle Point Friends of the Library. Admission is
By Nancy Leonard