"The impact [horses] have had... in helping me understand emotions, body language, and social dynamics can’t be underestimated...."

When the author’s mom discovers a program pairing differently abled kids with horses, she sets in motion a life-changing adventure that inspires Cole to reach for a new dream—veterinary school. Rocky is the wrong horse for Cole, but his stubborn nature is a bonus that no one expected. As the young man and horse struggle for dominance on their trail rides in the desert around Palm Springs, Cole makes a revolutionary discovery: he begins to interpret and understand Rocky’s body language. This observation of Rocky’s emotional nature influences Cole’s life for the better, allowing improved communication and socialization with his fellow students and his instructors at community college. Though Cole must give Rocky up when he becomes too dangerous to ride, there is another horse in his future as he continues along the academic path to veterinary school, a discipline requiring great empathy and compassion.

This fascinating inside look at how the autistic mind varies from neurotypical minds will capture the attention of readers of neurodivergent authors such as Temple Grandin, John Elder Robison, Michael McCreary, and others. The memoir is superbly detailed, which makes for a slower-paced read, but also reveals a depth of information about struggles with perception and communication encountered by people on the autism spectrum. Cole credits his logical abilities for improving his social abilities: “My improvement comes from taking emotional information… and converting it into a logical construct that I can manipulate intellectually… then convert it back into emotional information communicated through my tone, my rhythm, and my body language.” He also candidly states that the process of writing this memoir was “a nightmare of converting emotion to logic and logic to emotion, all needing to be communicated through the written word.” Readers will undoubtedly agree that Cole has succeeded in sharing his passions and insights with the world.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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