Tuesday, November 26, 2013

give me Mountains for my Horses

Not Connecticut Horses
I don't get horses. At least I don't get horses in the Connecticut sense. In suburbia, especially at it's rural edges, you'll find all manner of horse farm. Everything from a 100 year-old shambles of a barn with a tiny ring of half-rotted fence posts to houses of splendor, havens of investment bankers, with acres of mowed paddock and gleaming rails.

I've ridden a few times while on vacation stopping at a dude ranch sort of place to satisfy my youngest son's desire for a saunter horseback. It's enjoyable but not something I'd got out of my way to do save to make my youngest happy. Around here horse riding seems to be the realm of middle-aged women and girls; legion of which can be found wearing buff colored breeches and riding boots while waiting in line at Starbucks on a Saturday morning.

On a trip to Idaho this past summer I had the opportunity to fish with a bunch of guys from Trout Unlimited. They were good company and the fishing was excellent. After the fishing the talk meandered over beer. One thing I discovered was that Tom Reed kept horses and that he had recently lost a special one. I didn't quite get it though I suppose losing a good dog was as close as I'd come to understanding. Later, while sitting having a beer with Bruce and Kat - the Smithhammers of Victor - I mentioned my fishing companions. Kat immediately stated that I should read Tom's book - give me Mountains for my Horsesand Bruce seconded the notion.

In the moment, a book related to something I was ambivalent about was set aside but later the enthusiasm of the recommendation gnawed at me. Amazon obliged in delivering the book to my doorstep by the time I got home.

I was expecting a "boy loves dog" sort of thing and was pleasantly surprised to find something else. Tom's book is a series of short stories that chronicle his early interest in horses, the mortgaging of his future to acquire that first four-legged beast and the lifelong obsession it kindled.

Those of us who prowl the stream in search of sport will understand the parallels between what we seek and Tom's journey. His dreams of living in Big Sky and traveling across the back country on horseback have as much to do with his passion for these animals as they do for that search for something else. Some of those things are tangible - elk and trout - but in the long pauses that exist in any search there's time to appreciate the solitude and grace that the journey affords. It's one of those books that ends too quickly leaving you wanting for the next chapter.

As I read the review copy for Pulp Fly: Volume 3 I was pleased to see another tale from Tom. It reminded me how much I enjoyed his writing about the journey. Maybe there's something to be found on horseback. Maybe on a ride to a trout stream.

You can find give me Mountains for my Horses on Amazon for $8.96. Pulp Fly Volume 3 should be on sale in the next few weeks.


  1. I've put Tom's book on my "to read" list. You can always interest me in a book. My neighbor lost one of her horses recently. She's had it since it was a baby and like a dog, and in our case, cats, horses are many times part of the family and losing one is like losing a family member. She was devastated.