Wednesday, October 16, 2013

book review: healing shine

I ordered the book Healing Shine by Michael Johnson based off the recommendation of another blogger, Cindy over at Life with My Herd. She said it offered insight about horses who are afraid or carry baggage, and talked about trust and relapse. That seemed like stuff I was going through with Shyloh, so I ordered the book and waited for it to arrive.

The author emailed me right after I ordered the book and asked if I would like him to sign the book. . .sure thing! It was pretty cool of him to offer that personal contact. 

On to the book. . .I want to get the cons out of the way. Mostly, they are just a personal preference but it did slow me down a bit when reading the book. Michael Johnson is very wordy. He can take a page to say what it would take me a sentence to say. That is not a bad thing and it may stem from his Oklahoma roots, but it was something that got to me. 

The other thing was that the book was not so much about Shine and whatever issues he had (in fact, we never found out what that was)*, but more so about Michael's transformation from an "old school" type rider/trainer where you make the horse do what you want, to a more sensitive and in tune with the horse type rider/trainer. 

This was a great story where he discusses how we was raised roping cattle with his uncles to all the help he found along the way to how he finally learned to listen to Shine, but it was not what I was expecting from the story. So, like I said, the cons were completely my personal preference and expectations. 

Other than those little things, the book was really good. The best part of the story is Michael's ability to look into himself and acknowledge that he didn't know everything there was to know about horses. When he needed help, he went and got it. He went to several different people throughout the book and they each had a lesson that he carried with him. Michael really opened himself up in a way that many people are unable to do, especially when it comes to admitting they may be wrong about a way that they go about training horses. 

I really admire Michael's dedication to Shine. He had other horses that he could rope off of, it appeared that he could buy another horse if he wanted, but he kept at it with Shine. . . for five years! It took patience, trial and error, but eventually Michael was able to get Shine to trust him and they could rope steer.  Don't get me wrong, Michael had a few "moments" with this horse, but in the end, he stuck it out. This gives me hope for Shy. . .if someone who has been working with horses his whole life takes five years to get a horse to trust him, maybe me, who has not been around horses my whole life can do it too. It just may take twice as long. 

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a horseman's journey with a difficult horse. As I got closer and closer to the end of the book, I enjoyed it more and I wanted to read more about the successes that Michael had with Shine. Thank you, Cindy for the recommendation!

*I emailed Michael and asked if he ever found out what had happened to Shine. He did.  He was treated badly when his original owner sent him to a trainer and had tied his head to his chest for three days. When he was untied, Shine attacked the trainer. And poor horse had a hard time trusting humans ever since. 

Has anyone had the chance to read GunDiva's book, Tales from the Trail? 


  1. My gosh, my heart is just breaking reading that Shine had his head tied to his chest and I'm cheering for him attacking the trainer! I might find this book to read, thanks for the recommendation!

    (Also thanks for the mention - I'm kind of partial to Tales :) )

    1. I can't believe the things people do to horses, it's awful.

  2. It took me 2 years to get Kaspin to trust me! It definitely takes lots of patients, time, and is even harder for a new horse owner. Your doing great girl!! Thanks for the review.

  3. That's a lot of dedication! Not sure I could stick with that for five years.

    1. It is a long time! And I totally understand those who have showing goals and other goals much larger than mine not sticking with it.
      But for me, I hope it doesn't take that long, but if it does, it does. If Shy went somewhere else, would another person be as patient? I really have no idea. She is a good horse and she tries hard, so we will work through whatever it is that scares her.

  4. I nominated you for a reward on my site. = )

  5. Hi Allison...glad you were able to get the book, signed...even better. I do agree with your cons. He can be a tad on the wordy side, although I think that with the audio book perhaps it isn't quite so evident, because you are listening. But yes I do admit to thinking to myself sometimes, "Okay lets get to the point" . On the other hand I love the sound of his voice, so it made that wordiness a bit bearable for me.

    How cool that you were able to get that one question answered that the book never touches. I shared a few emails back and forth with him as well. I like that he is so personable.

    1. He is so nice!
      I just chalked up his wordiness to being from Oklahoma :)


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