Midway through his book, “Land of the Horses: A True Story of a Lost Soul and a Life Found,” Chris Lombard writes about that elusive goal of feel:
When you have a soft feel, there is slack in the lead line and slack in the reins, yet you have a completely focused and immediate connection to the horse.
…All thinking drifts away.
It happens through you…
It weighs as much as a feather in your hand.
You feel alive.
You feel life.
It took years, we learn, for Lombard to find feel. It took even longer for the Mainer to articulate what it means to him. (Lombard told me ‘Land of the Horses’ was nearly a decade in the making.)
The result is a thoughtful, 212-page memoir containing an entertaining blend of philosophy, horsemanship, and tales of life’s travels and travails.
Before he developed into one of Maine’s most popular horse trainers, Lombard, 39, traveled from his home state to Colorado, to California, to Arizona. All the while, he opened his mind to learning everything he could about horses.
Through horses, we read, Lombard learned about himself.
Through horses, Lombard gained confidence and direction. They shaped who he is today.
It’s easy to get cynical about memoirs. They seem to scream:
Look at me!
Aren’t I great?
But Land of the Horses isn’t that kind of memoir. The author comes off as confident but also humble. He shares lessons through his own mistakes. He offers suggestions without preaching.
Before you connect with a horse, you must connect with yourself.
It can be a difficult goal for many of us. Our journeys can be full of pitfalls and embarrassments along with occasional high points and epiphanies.
But when Chris Lombard shares his story, it’s as if he’s saying, “C’mon. You, too, can connect… You, too, can find feel.”