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Bookworm of Edwards hosts Ginger Gaffney for discussion of new memoir ‘Half Broke’

Ginger Gaffney believes in the power of horses to heal from addiction.
Special to the Daily

Animals have a unique power to bring us comfort and happiness when we need it most. Horses, it turns out, might just be better at it than most. 

Join renowned horse trainer and author Ginger Gaffney at the Bookworm in Edwards Wednesday night for a discussion of her new memoir “Half Broke.”

Ginger Gaffney has always loved animals. And she has always been particularly drawn to horses.

“You can put me on the record as someone who loves everything about horses. Every birthday and Christmas holiday, since I was a young child, I asked for a horse. Instead I was given a plastic or stuffed horse as my gift,” Gaffney said. “It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s when I got my first horse. Though I had started riding other people’s horses in college.”

When she reached her 30s, she turned her love of horses into a horse training business. Twenty years later, she got an unusual call.

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“The woman at the ranch got my number off the board at the local feed store. She was very animated and loud, telling me some of the strangest stories I’ve ever heard about horses,” Gaffney said. “They were chasing the residents, knocking them over. People had been hurt, and horses were hurt. Really, it was some of the worst behavior I had ever heard of.”

She agreed to help and found herself at an alternative prison ranch in New Mexico, where the residents were all felons, people with addiction issues, serving the rest of their sentence by taking care of the horses and the property.

“Everywhere I looked people were trying to deal with their demons,” Gaffney said. “I’ve worked on a number of ranches but there has never been the kind of authenticity, accountability, and respect that I felt on that ranch. It’s an environment that we rarely encounter out in the world.”

The more time she spent there, the more she saw people in need of awakening.

“People who have had addiction issues for a long time, people who have spent many years in prison — their bodies are shut down. People say addiction is a brain disease, but it is really a disease of the whole body. And until the body can function again, the brain really doesn’t have a chance,” she said.

Horses, it turns out, might have the perfect solution.

“Horses are ever-present, and have a language that is completely made up of movement,” Gaffney said. “In order to be present with them, we have to inhabit our own bodies and be conscious of all our movements around them. They have the power to heal our bodies through this intentional presence. That kind of presence is a gift I’ve not found anywhere else.”

It was because of this powerful connection that she knew the story of the ranch needed to be told.

“I hope that the book shows that the ups and downs of addictive behavior are the natural flow of recovery. The hardest thing anyone will ever do with their life is to become sober,” Gaffney said. “We must not judge, even if they relapse. Because the addiction is not the person. The person is underneath, just waiting to wake up.”

If you go …

What: Author Ginger Gaffney at the Bookworm
When: Wednesday, March 4, 6 p.m.
Where: Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk in Edwards
Cost: $10
More information: Call 970-926-7323 or visit http://www.bookwormofedwards.com


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