This book took me two and a half months to write. That certainly is a record for me and I felt unusually inspired while writing it.
I like to take pictures and I usually have my camera with me, just in case an irresistible shot appears.
I was out visiting the horses one
day and I snapped the picture that is now the cover of this book. Later as Iwas going through my shots from the day, something about it touched me and soonI had a story started.
I continued to photograph Ashwin, the horse that inspired this story, during the time I was writing Whisper and those are the pictures you saw throughout this book.
I have had nearly twenty horses since I got my first pony at the age of thirteen, though not all were rescues. I learned a lot from them and while I was not always successful in helping them, my experiences were very rewarding. Four of my five current horses (plus a mule who was born here) were rescues.
Bannie is a very handsome black gelding. He's the old man of my horse family and is content to spend his days eating and sleeping. I still ride him on occasion and use him to give pony rides to visitors. The owners previous to the family that rescued him had starved him and I believe there was some physical abuse as well. It took him awhile to heal emotionally, but he is a big teddy bear now.
Smoke was Bannie's replacement as far as my main riding horse. She spent ten years on a working cattle ranch before being brought to Michigan. She was also being starved and was pretty sick when we got her. She was aloof and wary for the first few months, but now we are inseparable. In October of 2013, I fell off Smoke as we were galloping at over thirty mph and broke my back. I was afraid our relationship would never be the same afterward; both of us had our confidence shaken badly but when I was able to ride again, we were a better team than ever before.
Lena is my younger sister's mare. An older horse past her prime, she was on her way to the slaughterhouse when a lady rescued her. We got her just a few months later. She still needed some weight, but after a few weeks of TLC, she turned into a beautiful girl. Unbeknownst to us, the lady who rescued Lena had put her in with her thirty year old donkey, thinking he was unable to breed. Nine months after she came home with us…
…Rio was born! Stubborn, adorable and irresistible, Rio was there to stay! I had always wanted the chance to train a baby right from the start, so our little mule was the perfect opportunity. Lena was great mom and Rio just thought he was it!
Ashwin is a beautiful silver appaloosa gelding and he is the horse who inspired me to write this story. He was not abused to the extent that Whisper was, but he was very fearful and insecure when he came to us. It took me quite awhile to even be able to touch him, but after several months, I was able to ride him and he turned out to be a very steady dependable mount that even my younger siblings can ride.
Abby is my younger brother's horse. She did not come to us as a rescue, but she may have been in her past. She is a sweet girl who needs strong leadership. She doesn't form bonds very well, but once you get through to her, it’s a done deal.
Three of the horses I mentioned in the dedication, Rosie, Cain and Danny, are very special to me. They were my first horses and also my first rescues. Though they are no longer a part of my horse family, they are still a huge part of my heart and I learned so much from them.
I poured my heart into this book and many of the things that happen I have actually experienced. The connection that comes with teaching a damaged horse to trust again is one of the most satisfying experiences ever.
My goal for this book is that it will touch your hearts and bring you joy as you watch Whisper's transformation from an angry, dangerous horse, to a loving, gentle companion.
I hope it will give you a glimpse into the world of not only abused horses, but all animals that are mistreated. These animals have a lot of baggage, but someone has to help them. Deep inside, they just want to be loved and cared for. They don't want to be angry and dangerous; they learned to be that way to survive.
If you ever have the chance to own a horse, consider giving a rescue a second chance. They need great homes and loving people to care of them just as much as the horse that has been treated well all of its life.