"Of all the different things people do with horses, there is one common denominator among the ones who are great at it - a genuine love and respect for animals. Bowles affords these horses the dignity they deserve." --- Ty Murray, Nine Time World Champion Cowboy
"The abandonment and neglect of unwanted horses is a growing problem. This is a descriptive, gripping, and emotion-stirring account of one woman's attempt to help." --- Robert M. Miller, DVM, equine behaviorist
"The horses come to life in the pages of Hoof Prints, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Anyone who has ever been touched by an animal will have their hearts stolen by the stories in this book." --- Roland Mesnier, White House pastry chef for 26 years and author of Dessert University, All the President's Pastries, and Basic to Beautiful
The Horses of Proud Spirit (2003) introduced readers to Bowles and her untiring devotion to abused, abandoned, and neglected horses. Hoof Prints, her latest book, describes in more detail her horse sanctuary, Proud Spirit. Operating on the philosophy that horses have an integral worth unrelated to serving humankind, Melanie and her husband, Jim, provide a haven for horses to live out the remainder of their lives in safety, without stalls, and among their own kind. Her stories are a delight to read as well as wake-up calls to all who love animals. One moment she charms her readers with a tale about how she and her niece seduced a recalcitrant burro into a trailer, and in the next, she educates us on the ghastly practice of soring a horses hooves to produce a gait called the big lick. Bowles writes beautifully, adding to the pleasure of this celebration of horses and eloquent plea to horse owners to treat these magnificent animals with kindness and respect. --- (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)
Learn how one dedicated trainer has found an alternative to the cruel practice of “soring” for Tennessee Walking Horses. Learn the ways of horse friendships: Meet big old Ranger, who eases Rosie from her mourning for Cracker, though it is finally Rebel and Gambler who invite Rosie to make a threesome of their twosome. Then there’s Indigo, a very wild Mustang, who finally decides he can trust Melanie enough to greet her in the laundry room.
Readers were introduced to the graceful heart of Melanie Sue Bowles in her first book, The Horses of Proud Spirit. In Hoof Prints we learn more about the horses she cares for in her horse sanctuary, which has relocated from southwest Florida to the hills of west Arkansas. In the new location, the Proud Spirit horses run free on 320 acres of rolling hills, living the life every horse deserves.
In this book you will meet some people who have no idea how to treat horses, and some wonderful, kindhearted people who open their lives to the beauty of these creatures with so much to teach us. You will meet Cosmina, a Romanian orphan who finds a kinship with these horses, who have also been abandoned. You will, of course, meet the horses—and two donkeys, one of whom can fly!—each one bearing a different scar, recovering at Proud Spirit in the warmth of the care offered there.
Meet Sammy, the big beautiful bay Standardbred gelding, who comes and goes and comes again to his final sanctuary at Proud Spirit. Meet Jesse and her baby, Riley, the first of a whole barnful of babies!
You will meet a whole stableful of remarkable horses:
Dusty, a Thoroughbred who recovered from severe injuries to reveal a rambunctious personality and a knack for stealing hats;
Maddy, an old mare, and Dancer, a gallant Appaloosa, both of whom had been isolated for years but whose ecstatic first acquaintance at Proud Spirit was, mysteriously, like the reunion of two soul mates;
Annie, a little sorrel mare who will break your heart with her weary kindness and who found peace and compassion, at last, under an old oak tree in a pasture at Proud Spirit;
Wrangler, a Miniature whose premature separation from his dam turned him into a tiny tormentor. His rowdy innocence helped Marshal, a huge Palomino gelding with neurological trauma, become playful and engaged as he educated Wrangler in horsy manners. Horses of Proud Spirit is an homage to the spirit of these alluring creatures and a moving memoir of lessons learned in compassion, strength, and loss.
"This is one of the most profoundly moving books about horses to come along in years. The Horses of Proud Spirit is changing lives... of horses AND the people who love them. An absolute must read for any animal lover."
There are approximately seven million horses in America. Each year, over seventy thousand are abused, abandoned, and fated to slaughter by callous and irresponsible owners. With a heart as big as a pasture, author Melanie Bowles takes some of these horses into her sanctuary called Proud Spirit. Here, horses that arrive listless and broken find a home where they finally know safety.
The bond between horse and caretaker does not happen overnight. It hangs by a fine thread of trust that the author earns with endless patience and a full commitment to the well-being of the horses in her care. The horses, some of which have suffered severe abuse, astound her time and again with their ability to trust, return the love they are given, and enjoy the companionship of other horses.