English/Canadian indie musician Tamara Williamson offers an unbridled account of a life in the world of horses.
From her first clever little bay pony, Stroller, to brilliant ribbon-winning Fletcher, Tamara Williamson recalls the many significant horses in her life, grappling with what it means to be horse-obsessed and what drives this desire to connect with horses. As Williamson discovers, during the tumultuous years of relationships with people and horses, these complicated equine creatures reflect back to us our best and worst selves.
Woven throughout the stories of individual horses in Williamson’s life is her own story of a creative, chaotic, challenging and adventurous life. Raised by an eccentric family, with a distant mother who disappeared into alcoholism and a charismatic father who left one sunny morning with a younger woman, Williamson struggles with dyslexia and a sense of increasing detachment. Horses, and the exacting sport of dressage, provide her with opportunities to connect, sometimes imperfectly. Her drive for accomplishment in equestrian sports, whether as a trainer or a rider, is regularly at odds with the fear that lingers from a traumatic childhood riding accident.
While reckoning with the financial and psychological expense of training and competition, and with the multitude of industries that benefit from horses, Williamson never loses sight of the enormous burden of responsibility she feels toward horses and the respect she has for their individual characters, memories and instincts. On the surface, The Mirror Horse is a book about horses—but beyond the bridles and braided manes, Williamson crafts a complex story about courage, family, and the unexpected places where we find a reflection of our souls: As a rider you can confuse yourself with being the teacher, but horses are constantly showing us something important. They are holding up a mirror.