Saturday, October 5, 2013

Alex, the West Nile Horse: A Rescue Story, by Katie Klosterman

Inkwell Productions, ISBN 9781939625397, July 2013

Alex, an American Saddlebred horse with an impeccable pedigree, contracts the most damaging form of West Nile virus, and suffers brain damage. He's at risk of going to auction (a near-certain death sentence) when Katie Klosterman, a middle-aged, middle class horse owner, takes him on.

Over the next eighteen months, Katie and Alex both struggle, with triumphs, defeats, and challenges, to get Alex back to wholeness--confident, happy, and safe to ride. Since this story is quite real, their path is neither straightforward, nor amenable to fiction formulas. Katie makes mistakes, gets discouraged, gets cranky, gets giddy at small successes. She encounters problems from people whose motives are no more sinister than running their businesses in ways that aren't helpful for Katie, Alex, and her other two horses, Oro and Cole. Since Katie has to board her horses, not having horse property of her own, Alex gets moved twice and her other horses once, a move that proves unexpectedly challenging.

Rehabilitating Alex is a real challenge for Katie, an average horse owner and no gifted specialist in rehabilitation. She's also not a professional writer, just a woman telling her own story, and there are occasional rough patches in the prose. She's upfront about her own challenges, failures, and false steps, and her dedication to Alex and doing what's best for him shines through.

For any horse lover, this is a rewarding read. Recommended.