Strands of Hope by Susan Friedland Review
10Overall Score
Easy to Read10

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It’s coming up on a year since we lost Spice, so this book review feels right.  Susan asked me if I would be willing to read it and review it (since I loved her first book so much), and I was happy to do so, even if I knew it would bring lots of tears.  Thank you for sending the book for me to read.

I was right, it did make me cry…but not as many as I thought it might.  That means the wound has healed just a little bit, which is good.  I know the pain of the loss will never go away…but I loved him, so that’s okay.  I see my grief is a tribute to him and how awesome he was.

Strands of Hope is full of tips on how to help yourself through the grieving process when you lose your horse.  Some of it would have been very helpful back then, and some of it is still helpful now.  It’s broken into chapters based around different methods of coping and healing.  It’s very easy and quick to read.

I happen to be a big believer in mementos and photographs, so I have that chapter more than covered.  It actually makes me feel better to look at a photo of him or see that ribbon I won on him.  It reminds me of how special he was and how special our relationship was.  I also happened to get back in the saddle the very next day on a different horse…because my trainer knew if I didn’t it might just push me out of horses for a while (like Susan did).  I’m glad I made the choice I did and took the break I needed a month later.  It all played out the way it was supposed to.

Almost a year later, thinking about him still makes me cry.  Thinking about that day.  Thinking about horse shows.  Thinking about Thoroughbreds at all (yeah…always good since I work at the track rehoming them).  There are just so many triggers.  I can walk by his stall now without struggling, but walking in it to get the horse that lives there now groomed for my trainer a few weeks ago was a struggle.  I cried.

The most helpful part of Susan’s book was reading about the loss of DC and what he meant to her.  As well as reading all the stories from other equestrians on their own losses.  For me, reading about others that lost similarly (and differently) to what I lost was really and truly helpful.  Each of those stories made me cry, but they also made me feel like I wasn’t alone.  I really appreciated that section of the book more than I can say.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a horse they have lost recently, or as a gift for a friend that has recently lost a horse.  It is going to give you tips for grieving and maybe help you feel a little bit better and less alone.  And honestly…if you have a senior horse approaching that stage, give it a read. If you have a young horse you might lose in a decade, it’s probably worth a read now anyways.   I think it will help you be more prepared for the day you lose your horse, no matter how long down the road that is.

I think this book is an excellent resource and I appreciate Susan’s writing style.  I highly recommend Strands of Hope.   I also love  her other (much less serious) book Horses Adored and Men Endured.