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MAY 2011 THE RIDER /23

The Irons Anecdotes of My Life With Horses

by Catherine Sampson Soft cover, 145 pages published by iUniverse, Inc. Cover Design and Photos by Ell- ton Barnes

Reviewed By Kelly Bowers. Between The Irons is a charming collection of reminis- cences penned by Ontario horse- woman, Catherine Sampson. Sto- ries of various lengths are present- ed somewhat in chronological order, like they were originally hand written into a leather-bound journal or are excerpts of a letter to a friend. One curi- ous note is that very rarely is the age of the writer mentioned throughout the col- lection, which makes it read even more like a mem- oir.

enchanting prose gently transports the reader back to the time and places of younger days, trig- gering many fond memories

Fluid and

Sampson’s life shaping relation- ship with her kindred spirit, her grandfather and with her dear mentor, and grandfather figure, Mr. Pigeau. What remarkable men they must have been. Their great- est lesson to her was to “Never stop dreaming. If you try hard enough and long enough to follow that dream, it will come true.” Catherine Sampson was deter- mined to not let adversity take her dreams from her; Her dedication and sheer stubbornness made sure of it.

My favourite line may be when the author refers to the death of

of one’s own youth. The dreams of a child are magically brought to life with artful vocabulary. It’s an intimate reflection, exposing the heart and soul of the writer who shares her loves and losses, chal- lenges and struggles, the fondest and most painful, and most impor- tant recollections. It is as if they are carefully recorded here, at least in part, so as not to be lost by a fading memory as time marches on.

The remarkable journey we share with her starts at age two, sipping hand squeezed lemonade on her Grandfather Payne’s lap in North Bay. It eventually spans across decades and several conti- nents including in North America, Spain and Africa. The consum- mate horsey girl at heart, we cele- brate and suffer along with her during the ups and downs of horse life as well as times when she was trapped living in an apartment and in suburbia and other horse-less periods.

My favourite pages of this are full of warmth, love, and

Her memories include childhood celebs like “Northern Dancer” and “Francis, The Talking Mule” (now you’re showing your age) and oth- ers lesser known but just as loved, like Studly Do Right and his best girl, H-Loli. The included stories are both heart warming and wrenching, a testament to her unfailing compassion and love of horses. Her loving descriptions of the people and four legged friends who brought joy to her life, make you long for similar characters from your own past. However, when recounting various injuries and treatments, the writer gives enough detail to make you cringe. The small rural Ontario townships she discusses are very familiar to those of us who were born and raised here, giving even more interest to the anecdotes but you don’t have to be local to enjoy this novel. It’s a very nice weekend read for horse lovers on any conti- nent.

beloved horse as “the sacred communion between horse and rider being broken”, how very poetic. While reading, I found myself smiling or laugh- ing and other times tearing up or wincing at her cir- cumstances and her incredible tenacity.

a Phone: (519) 268-2050 email: Between

Book launch at Woodbine Racetrack April 3rd w. Catherine Sampson (L) is exchanging books with Sandy Hawley (centre) along with long- time veterinarian and friend Dr. Harry Morrison (R).

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