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"One Good Horse" is one good book

Terri Schlichenmeyer
Book >> "One Good Horse"
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Did you ever notice that, no matter how much you plan, how carefully you look ahead, or how much thought you put into whatever it is you attempt, things never turn out exactly the way you thought they would?

So much for the power of thought, huh?

Author Tom Groneberg never believed his life would be perfect. Groneberg had a few physical bumps and ego bruises in his lifetime, but nothing prepared him for the summer that his family changed. In his new book “One Good Horse,” he writes about that year and the winter afterward, when he purchased a challenge on four legs.

Groneberg always knew that he wanted to work on a ranch. His favorite jobs were physical tasks; culling cattle, moving them, rounding them up and caring for them. While he rode ranch horses when he needed to get a job done, he thought often of getting his own horse.

That would have to wait, though. The ranch owner for which Groneberg had been working sold his cattle and Groneberg was out of a job. This was an especially big problem, since Groneberg and his wife, Jennifer, had a young son and were expecting twins.

When the babies were born, both boys, Groneberg says he had been hoping for a boy and a girl, so that the children could be as different as possible. Instead, much to their grief and bewilderment, the Gronebergs learned that one of the twins, Avery, had Down Syndrome.

Shortly after the twins’ birth, a local rancher and horse breeder offered Groneberg a job. Seeing opportunity and a chance to get away and think a bit, Groneberg asked if he could also board a horse in exchange for work. The owner agreed, and Groneberg went looking for a horse.

For $1,200, he found one: A scrawny chocolate brown gelding, the colt was going on two years old. Learning from his new boss and an old horseman in the area, Groneberg began to work with his horse, teaching it trust, confidence, and to relax into what was being asked of it.

Those lessons slowly took hold in both animal and owner.

Ever hear of a cowboy poet? Here’s a book by one. Author Tom Groneberg’s writing is almost song-like and his descriptions are lovingly crafted.

There’s something else about this book, though, which makes it worth reading: it’s roughly divided into thirds. There is Groneberg’s lyrical narrative. There is the story from the point of view of his horse, believe it or not. And there is Groneberg’s lengthy summary of a book written about the true life and times of Teddy Blue, a man who eschewed the farming life, became a wild cow puncher and range rider in the late 1800s, only to become a farmer later in life. These three stories, woven together, make this one surprisingly good book.

“One Good Horse” isn’t a very thick book and won’t take you long to read, but if you’re a horse lover or a Western fan, you’ll love it. Plan now to round it up.


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