Natalie Baxter is a woman in her late thirties who knows and loves horses. It is her gift with them that has allowed her to live a nomadic lifestyle – travelling here and there, always able to pick up work.
Landing a job at a stable where the previous and only horseperson who managed it has died, she struggles to work out what her role is exactly, in spite of being employed by a gentleman who lives on the premises and insists she is doing well.
Not eager to stay, Natalie finds herself unusually drawn to a poorly conformed black horse that needs to be started under saddle. Twister becomes the anchor that keeps her in the area in spite of a keen desire to up and run as she has done so many times before.
As Natalie comes to know the people in the area and learns of the story behind the previous manager’s death, she is forced to examine her own childhood and the reason why she now leads a nomadic existence. In the Presence of Horses explores the decisions that have resulted from a childhood of much pain, selfishness and loss.
After a haunting discovery in the Pennsylvanian town where Natalie is working, the young horsewoman escapes to her hometown a few hours drive away. Finding herself not able to leave again, she discovers much has changed in the twenty years that she has been absent.
Eventually determined to put things right from where she left in such a rush, Natalie feels dread when a call to the home of her boss sparks no response on many an occasion. Touching base with the local vet of the Pennsylvanian town, she is strongly encouraged to return. Doing so, she finds disaster has struck the horses that she’d been employed to look after.
In the Presence of Horses ends with the main character’s resolve to face her past and be mindful of her future, rather than wandering aimlessly. The book in itself is an interesting read that I would recommend for the older reader, due to its depressing and angst filled story line. As with many horse novels, it follows more the relationships of the characters than the life of being a horse person, but features many horse related scenes and discussions.
Author: Barbara Dimmick
Fiction – Adult
In my library? Indeed – a great second hand copy that I picked up from a wonderful bookstore in Euroa, Victoria.
Want it? Get it now at Amazon.
“Each leg in it’s gallop seems to stream with a rush of speed as though from a bucket of water poured o’er the field.” – Arabian Poet