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Dancer on the Grass: True Stories about Horses and People [Paperback]

Martino
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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The paradox of horses is that they do not have to carry us, but they agree to do so, according to author Teresa Martino, a horse lover and philosopher to the core. "Why is this?" Martino asks rhetorically. "The horse gives their consent and brings a grounding that humanity craves. The horses carry the power of the wildness that graciously allows us to fly above the land." In this unique memoir Martino tells the stories of all the horses she has ever loved, weaving her memories into a sage-like narrative that examines the spiritual and passionate relationships between humans and horses. Recalling a mare from her girlhood, Martino writes: "With Sunny I experienced what the Greek historian and commander Xenophen called the 'divine sensation.' The feeling of oneness and power that you share with the horse when you both understand one and another and move together in balance.... I was no longer a dusty child in cut-offs ... I was Artemis chasing deer, my bow to shoulder under the ancient moon." What makes this memoir especially readable and important is that Martino also understands human-to-human relationships--whether she's exploring her own Native American roots, dealing with mysterious sightings of her deceased father, or accepting her own limitations as a rider. This is one wise soul and strong storyteller--an excellent book for any lover of horses and life. --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

Martino's luminous account of her lifelong love affair with horses is a moving, fiercely lyrical spiritual autobiography. Growing up on a California ranch, she learned to love horses from her Brooklyn-born Italian-American father ("The horses are blessed, chosen by God," he whispered to her when she was four), and from her Native American mother, in whose Osage traditions horses left deep tracks. Horses, "four-legged spirits that grace the grass," teachers of patience, balance, courage, trust and cooperation, are trail markers on Martino's inner journey. At age 19 she trained at the Vale, England's tough equestrian academy. At 28, the ghost of her father, who'd been dead several years, haunted a barn and was seen by two witnesses. Martino brought back from the brink and restored to health Belle, a gray mare whose cruel owner had beaten, isolated and starved her. Visiting the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, she received as a gift a wild stallion--a bridge to her ancestors who rode the hardy Plains horses as buffalo runners. In the book's most dramatic true-life tale, she defiantly quits her job as director of a horse facility rather than break in a gentle golden bay that does not want to jump cross-country obstacle courses. Exchanging security for freedom, she goes to live in a cabin with three "shy" wolves on an island off Washington State, where she now trains horses and runs Wolftown, a nonprofit organization that rescues wolves and horses. Martino believes that horses crave a good partnership even with an untrustworthy species like humans. Her tales of healing, survival and love indicate that we have much to learn from our equine friends. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Each of Teresa's books brings a part of your inner feelings and past experiences to mind.She poetically takes you into her life's experiences, not just with horses, but with her whole life and all that and who are so important to her. I can't imagine anyone reading this book or any other and not feel a connection to some of Teresa's lifes experiences. T has done what not many would do, even if the love for horses and wolves is in your heart. She gave up the comfortable, secure life for the calling in her heart with these majestic animals. She reminds us that they have insecurities with humans as much as we do. T is a True humanitarian with animals and people. She is committed to her love of animals and what she believes in. Her devotion to family, friends and animals is to be highly commended. There should be many more Teresas in this world but I believe one person can make some difference even if it is on small scale. Thanks T look forward to your next book. Anuyi
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4.0 out of 5 stars The warmest look on horses March 20 2002
Format:Paperback
This book is a masterpiece in writing. Teresa's style is captivating and exciting, helping the reader live her experiences. The stories are long-term events rather than specific anecdotes, and they don't all have 'endings'. Her passion for the horse is evident and refreshing because I felt that, hey, I'm not alone after all. However, what I found a little depressing was the emphasis on life and death issues. A brief mentioning would have been okay, but she kept referring back to it throughout the book, making the issue seem more like a ground stone on which the rest of the book is constructed. I should also say that the title of the book is a little misleading. The stories are not about horses the papers would've written about. They are about horses who have influenced lives and taught lessons (and only those who have crossed the author's path). Personally, I loved it and would highly recommend it. I just would've liked a little less emphasis on life and death philosophies.
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Format:Paperback
WOW! I can only say to all of us READ THIS BOOK. In its beautiful simplicity, it holds a message for each of us that we are ready now to receive and finally hear. The horse is the teacher of the heart and T. Martino is the teacher of those of us fortunate enought to read her stories about the horse and the child and the young woman and the wolf woman. A powerful book that can be and will be read cover to cover by all who pick up the book. What life lessons are ours to puruse. This is truly a wonderful read and I highly recommend it. And wouldn't it make a beautiful movie?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic journey into why we are moved by horses Nov. 11 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book tells the author's tale of how she has been touched by horses and how horses seem to get into our spirits and move us so greatly. Whether you are an olympic event rider, or don't know what eventing is, this book is written in a way to touch and teach both. Martino has led a truly unique life in partnership with and as a true friend to horses. This would make a great book club selection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Jan. 4 2000
Format:Paperback
This book was great. I don't know which book was better---this one or Martino's "The Wolf, the Woman, the Wilderness". Maybe I should read the Wolf book again just to make sure! Martino has a way with words; you can feel her emotions and see what she's seeing. This is a book that all horse lovers should definitely read.
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