Ask a Bookseller: 'The Truth about Horses' explores the nature of healing

book cover
In Christy Cashman's young adult novel, "The Truth About Horses," a teen girl learns about loss and healing while caring for horses.
Courtesy of SparkPress

Caitlin Doggart of Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookstore in Chatham, Mass., says one of her top books of the year is Christy Cashman’s debut young adult novel, “The Truth about Horses,” which Doggart describes as a gorgeously written story about the healing power of horses.

The novel’s irresistible heroine is 14-year-old Reese, whose mother has died in a car accident. More losses follow. The family sells its horse barn and Reese’s horse, Trusted Treasure. Her relationship with her father falters, and she is understandably angry when it appears that he’s moving on.

The new owner of the barn is a man named Wes, who does not speak and has a unique training style for horses. Reese begins volunteering with him and with the children with disabilities who come to the barn for riding lessons. Slowly, Reese and those around her find healing.

“I love this book because it reminded me of all the horse stories that I loved so much when I was little. But it’s contemporary, and it's really spot on for teens.”

This book holds a special place in the bookseller’s heart because Doggart’s child is a brain tumor patient.

“His occupational therapy takes place in a barn, and he rides horses and brushes them and is more open to talking with his therapist when they amble around the ring,” Doggart said. “The neuro feedback loop is incredibly positive, so horses can help with mood regulation and balance and self confidence and just a general release of tension.”

Cashman’s novel is currently in early development for film, with actor Jane Seymour as co-producer.

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