For Chico State graduate Michelle Scully, taking her horse Wish in 2011 would end up changing her life forever. Not sensing (or ignoring) the horse’s hesitation, Scully pushes Wish into a gallop. When a rabbit runs through Wish’s legs, the horse races; Scully is knocked down hard and her back broken. The story is told in “Broken: Tales Of A Titanium Cowgirl”.

Eleven years later, amid the pandemic and the loss of many of her beloved animals, Scully takes stock in “Horsemanship And Life: A True Story” ($21.95 in paperback from barnesandnoble.com , published by Spinning Sevens Press).

In 73 short chapters, each with a key quote and photograph, Scully has written a realistic yet stubbornly optimistic book that will find a treasured place in the reader’s heart.

She and her husband Pat live on a multi-generational farm in Northern California. Scully notes that 11 is “77 in dog years…when people ask how long Pat and I have been married…that’s 196”.

“I never imagined the journey ahead of me,” she wrote; “a journey of wreckage, wonder and recovery, filled with lessons learned from horses, dogs, birds and even cats.” By getting a second chance at life, she “learned the beauty of breaking up; of how by letting go of my expectations and accepting vulnerability, I would find a new way to live….

Interspersed throughout the book is the story of Scully’s new horse, True. “His head looks like it’s been dipped in hot milk chocolate, and his body explodes into roan and white and blue.” But True has her own mind.

“One of the most transformative riding lessons I have (slowly) learned is to work with the horse in front of you. Not the horse of your expectations, the horse of your imagination, not the horse of your story, but the one you are with, in real time.

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