When I was asked by author Kandy Scaramuzzo to review Pie – An Old Brown Horse, I was thrilled. To add to my joy, the description implied this was a rescue story (“he was considered used up, with nothing left to give”). Put the words rescue and horse together and I am captured; my enthusiasm for, and love of, horses kicks right in. I couldn’t wait to give it a go. Ms. Scaramuzzo also provided me with links to an ‘interview’ with Pie, which is really sweet, but, better still; a short Book Trailer – which I urge you to watch (below). Preferably with a box of tissues handy. Here is my review of Pie’s incredible story.
This review is dedicated to Pie who is celebrating his 39th birthday today. That’s 107 in human years. Happy, happy birthday, Pie – what an astounding achievement.
This is a marvellous story, told through the eyes of Pie (the old brown horse) himself. Pie had worked all his life on ranches until, having been gored by a bull and tangled in wire, he was left to languish in a small pen to recover or die. His working career as a cattle herder, and possibly his life, was over. He was no longer of any use to anyone, added to which he was already past retirement age. Then, having been bought by a livery keeper for resale, Pie’s life changed. A young girl came to know him well, and, having had an unfortunate experience with another horse, decided she wanted to buy him. From there he was brought back into work, a much gentler sort, and made useful again. This story takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of Pie’s life from the time he was gored until he is fully established as a therapy horse for autistic children, and on to his life as it is today.
Despite my passion for horses, I have to admit, I had no idea how things worked in Pie’s first life, and rather enjoyed reading about it. The lot of a cattle herding horse is a fairly hard one by all accounts, with few comforts to speak of. That is not to say they are mistreated in any way; it is just hard work, long hours and few luxuries. I strongly suspect the lot of a cowboy is just as tough. All of which is wonderfully and humorously described in the text. Kandy Scaramuzzo has her own free-flowing style of writing, which I found rather endearing, through which her inordinate love of horses, and her way of life, shines through on every page. The written interpretation of the communication between the horses tells us a lot about the authors understanding of them and their behaviour. The scene setting is perfect and the characters, both human and equine, are all vividly and entertainingly described in this heart-warming tale.
The story of this remarkable horse touched my heart and I am pleased it has been told. Cleverly written from Pie’s unique perspective, the reader is not only able to get to know Pie; a horse whose demeanour is bursting with courage, understanding and a sense of what is right, but also learn that all things have their place in life. Pie shows us that being old does not mean being without worth. Brimming over with enthusiasm and ever eager to please, he displays compassion and understanding in all things. And, there is no doubt – he does know exactly what he is doing. His loyalty to the herd, especially those he is close to, is to be admired. His assessment of them and all their individual peculiarities seems spot on, and he always tries to do his best for them. Plus, he’s a hoot. He is certainly an extraordinary horse who has impacted on many lives with these attributes. In fact, his whole disposition made him the perfect choice to place with children who have special needs.
Pie’s enlightening memoirs are a wonderful eye-opener into the fascinating mind of this intelligent, heroic and warm-hearted old horse. I am just sorry I will never be able to meet him in the flesh.
To focus on any negatives here, such as editing issues – as I see some have done – would be totally unproductive; there are far too many positives. This is simply a splendid read for everyone, horsey or not, and I highly recommend it. (5 stars)
Where to buy Pie – An Old Brown Horse
Book Trailer – Pie’s story It’s worth watching. It’s very short and very moving. In fact, seeing his injuries seems to bring his situation home even more.
About the Author
Kandy Kay Scaramuzzo is a seventh generation Texan who has her own brick at the Cowgirl Museum. She has taught in alternative education for over twenty years. Ms. Scaramuzzo is a member of the 2012 Strathmore’s Who’s Who. She has a BA in Criminology and MaedCT. She works in horse, dog, cat and snake rescues. Ms. Scaramuzzo has been a tester observer for therapy dogs for nine years. She ran a therapy horse riding program for autistic children for five years. She has been a recognized animal behaviorist for over 20 years. This is her first book about an exceptional horse. She feels it is important to give back to maintain the balance of a civilized society.
Where to find Kandy (when she is not on a horse)