Synopses & Reviews
At the start of this remarkable story of recovery, healing, and redemption, Ginger Gaffney answers a call to help retrain the troubled horses at an alternative prison ranch in New Mexico, a facility run entirely by the prisoners. The horses are scavenging through the dumpsters, kicking and running down the residents when they bring the trash out after meals. One horse is severely injured.
The horses and residents arrive at the ranch broken in one way or many: the horses are defensive and terrified, while the residents, some battling drug and alcohol addictions, are emotionally and physically shattered. With deep insight into how animals and humans communicate through posture, body language, and honesty of spirit, Gaffney walks us through her struggle to train the untrainable.
Gaffney peels away the layers of her own story — a solitary childhood, painful introversion, and a transformative connection with her first horse, a filly named Belle — and she, too, learns to trust people as much as she trusts horses. As her year-long odyssey builds toward a dramatic conclusion, the group experiences triumphs and failures, brave recoveries and relapses, as well as betrayals and moving stories of trust and belonging.
Resonant, smart, and beautifully written, Half Broke tears at the heart of what it takes to find wholeness after years of trauma and addiction and offers profound insight on how working with animals can satisfy our universal need for connection.
"Half Broke asks us to look at horses and ourselves in a new way. Gaffney's vivid and engaging stories of "teaching horses how to feel comfortable in the world of humans" inspires us, like the author, to "love their world more." A very moving book for all animal lovers from a true horse whisperer." Brenda Peterson, author of Wolf Nation: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves
"This book astonished, excited, enlightened, and humbled me... This marvelous memoir, peopled with folks in serious trouble of one kind or another, and the horses they care for...taught me as much about language as have my seventy-seven years on the planet." Abigail Thomas, New York Times best-selling author of What Comes Next and How to Like It
"An engaging ... [and] heartening story of healing and interspecies connection." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Ginger Gaffney is a top-ranked horse trainer. She received an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and her work has been published in Tin House and Utne Reader. She lives in Velarde, New Mexico.
Ginger Gaffney on PowellsBooks.Blog
Six times a month I drive across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico, heading northeast, to ride and train horses on a few thousand-acre ranch...