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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Carol Upton Reviews Poetry for Those Who Love Horses

Blue Mountain Rider
By Mary Benson and Hedy Strauss
Publisher: Xlibris
Paperback, 2009, $19.99
Also available in Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-4415-7108


Reviewed by Carol M. Upton for Horses All


This collection of poems reflects our deepest emotions, ambitions, desires, hopes, fears, and dreams. It illustrates love and respect for an animal that has earned its way into our structure of life. ~ Hedy Strauss


Blue Mountain Rider is one of the few poetry collections dedicated to a celebration of the horse. Mary Benson and Hedy Strauss bring us an exceptional anthology that describes the countless ways in which these unusual creatures have enriched our lives.

In the opening section, ‘Horse Evolving’, we are treated to elemental images that remind us why we are often so drawn to horses. In ‘Wild Spirit’ Strauss writes one of several poems about the mustangs whose dramatic images appear in current news of round ups and herd management:

“The sound of hoofbeats
fill the air
Wild prairie phantoms – disappear!”

Benson offers us the ethereal ‘Night Ride’ plucked from childhood dreams:

“Oh, the desert sings to me
And I ride
In windswept flight, aloft and free
Forever in this enchanted land, Pegasus and me.”


Other sections include poems dedicated to specific types such as the Appaloosa, the hard-working mules of history, and the world’s wild horses, from the Steppes of Asia to the Moors of Brittany. Another cluster reminds us how horses have served throughout history, in city streets and country fields, on police patrol or cutting cattle. Special relationships between girls and horses are explored in such tender poems as ‘Pigtails and Ponytails’ and ‘Mane of Red and Gold’. There is sadness, too, in Benson’s pondering: “Oh, how will we say farewell?” and Strauss acknowledging how “It will break my heart the day you die.”

This book is a memorable gift for any horse-lover, but you’ll likely want a second copy for your bedside table, so you can savour these evocative lyrics whenever you wish.

Combining their love of horses and the outdoors, Mary Benson and Hedy Strauss immigrated to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where they met. Whether it is preserving wild mustang heritage or saving horses from slaughter, both women are passionate advocates for animal welfare. Visit Mary and Hedy at http://www.bluemountainrider.com/


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