Virginia Author Adopts Horse
Virginia author Rita Mae Brown is an animal lover. She has two books in stores now and another out next month that express that love in unique ways.
"Animal Magnetism," subtitled "My Life with Creatures Great and Small," features the animals that have been part of her life since she was a child.
Brown: They've all taught me something; every one of those chapters is pretty clear about what I learned from that animal.
Humans who pay attention, Bown says, are able to learn a great deal from animals.
Brown: For one thing, animals are not dulled by idealogies; they live in the present and they see things exactly as they are. We don't; we've created whole systems to keep ourselves from facing reality, whatever that reality may be, including our own aging process. They have none of it, so it's a pure response to the environment, and if you just sit with them, you'll learn a lot about yourself, too.
Brown’s popular 'Sister Jane' series of mystery books are about fox hunting, and the 'Mrs. Murphy' series features two cats and a dog, and credit her cat “Sneaky Pie Brown” as co-author. Recently, she drove in from her home on Afton Mountain to adopt a horse at the prison farm in Goochland, where inmates care for retired race horses, including a grandson of Secretariat, a horse called Covert Action.
Brown: The Virginia division of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is very active and really quite a good one, so it's my good fortune to live in this state and to deal with these wonderful people; and the Director of the National, Robin Traywick Williams, I ran into her and she said, 'you know, I gotta horse that I think's gonna fox hunt,' so, you know, needless to say, I went to pick him up as fast as I could.
His name is Colebrook Lake and it was love at first sight.
Brown: We call him 'Lake.' He's about 16 hands and he's a dark, dark bay, which means he's black, and he's just Mr. Personality. He just loves everybody; he goes out with the fox hounds, he goes out with the bassets, he lets the barn cats crawl all over his back, and he'll kiss you even if you don't have a cookie for him.
Brown is a great believer in animal rescue.
Brown: I mean, it's always been wonderful to see an animal revive, rebuild its trust with people and do what it's meant to do, you know, whether it's run, like a horse, run with other horses, or a dog be close to you 'cause good dogs are really companions, totally and truly, or a cat who's really bred to be superior. Animals heal people as people heal animals.
A belief, she says, that was obvious when she saw the way the inmates cared for the horses in Goochland.
Brown: And I was so surprised at how happy those men look when they're with the horses, and they did a great job with this horse. I mean, I can't say enough good about what they did or about Lake himself.
She recommended the 4th Annual Barn Tour, September the 19th, sponsored by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Greener Pastures program, featuring seven Richmond area farms. In America, Brown said, we say we’re an enlightened people, but facts contradict that.
Brown: What we do to other living creatures is a crime. Whether it's race horses, our own children or whatever, there's always a certain kind of human personality that has been here since the earth was cooling, that has no regard for any living thing but itself.
Brown weaves her understanding into her work. Nineteen 'Mrs. Murphy' and seven 'Sister Jane' mysteries have sold millions worldwide and "Animal Magnetism," published last year, is a best-seller.
Her latest book, "Nose for Justice," will be out next month, and she’ll introduce it at Joseph Best Booksellers in Fredericksburg at 7 o’clock September 30th.
John Ogle, WCVE News