Since I am often recommending Horse Boy to my clients who want to do therapeutic riding or somatic mounted work with horses, I figured I would share my review of the film.
THE HORSE BOY is an inspirational documentary about one family’s journey to find a miracle in Mongolia. If you love horses, are affected by autism or crave an epic travel trip, this movie is for you. Unlike other documentaries with loads of information and too many experts, this film breaks the mold and takes you to a far-away land with a cast of lovable characters that are on a mission to heal. In the film, we get to follow Rupert, his amazing wife Kristin, and their adorable son Rowan on a journey on horseback (and in a van!) across the beautiful landscapes of Mongolia. The trip was sparked by Rupert’s realization that his son’s autism lessens when he is on top of a sweet mare named Betsy. Being a journalist who has studied the healing world of Shamanism, Rupert asks the question: what if the combination of horses and shamanism could heal my son? His quest for an answer leads to a crazy adventure across the world to meet with a remote reindeer tribe of Shamans.
I was so excited to finally watch this movie as I was lucky enough to meet Rupert at a Horse Boy training camp at a ranch in Malibu, CA where I began my practice as an equine-partnered life coach. I was immediately pulled into his blunt, hilarious, and loving approach to working with horses and autistic children. Rupert is quite simply a brilliant trainer, rider and father. His story of how he has helped his son, Rowan, deal with autism is awe-inspiring.
It is quite miraculous to witness Rowan’s transformation in the film as he works with various shamans. It is also fascinating to watch his mom Kristin, who is somewhat skeptical, experience the magic in this healing. We feel compassion for Rupert as he judges his choice to take Rowan to Mongolia. We watch the terror and challenges the parents face as they deal with an incontinent and tormented child. The tantrums are tough to watch and yet make the miracle of Rowan’s transformation all that more meaningful.
I don’t want to ruin any of this film for you as it is truly worth watching. But I have to admit that I too was somewhat skeptical of shamanism (and I’m open to many healing modalities). This film made me a believer. It was so inspiring to see so much love and transformation in this film. I couldn’t help but think that Rupert and Kristin were the perfect parents to conceive an autistic child because it made them so strong, deeply loving, and patient. It also led Rupert to his dharma to start the Horse Boy Foundation which helps many autistic children and their families. He is living a life of purpose and his son was just the start of his service to humanity.
What I witnessed with Rowan and his animal friends in the movie, and with an autistic child was shocking. It is as though autistic children and animals, especially horses, speak the same language. Horses become gentle as though they know they need to nurture and treat these children with special love and understanding. It makes me appreciate them even more and helps me to believe in magic and miracles as well.
THE HORSE BOY helps us to see that not everything can be explained. That the spiritual side of life is mysterious and profound. And that sometimes all we need for healing it to believe it’s possible. Rupert and Kristin show us that hope and an open mind can completely change our lives. And most importantly, the film highlights the importance of the human virtues of love, patience and perseverance.
I highly recommend this dose of inspiration and enlightenment, it can open your mind and heart. The film also left me pondering these questions: How far would you go for your child? How can we respect animals more and tap into their magical healing powers? What would you be willing to do for a miracle?