My most recent book, Mickey and the Plow Horse, is more than a book for tweens; it was based on my work with adults in my practice. One such adult, a very successful corporate attorney, described himself as nothing more than a plow horse. “I go back and forth my stable – though a beautiful home it is nothing more than a stable – to my office where I plow through fields of documents, and then I return to my stable only to begin again the next day to do more of the same. I can’t stand it, but that’s my lot in life. I wanted to be an actor, but practicality and my Lutheran background took over and I became a lawyer — a high paid plow horse.”
Mickey and the Plow Horse is an inspirational story about Mickey Branfield, a shy, asthmatic, lonely, but techno-savvy 12-year old whose parents coerce him to attend a summer camp in order to help him develop social skills and hopefully friends. While at the camp he discovers he has an uncanny power to communicate with a field horse by telepathically sending video images to one another. Through this telepathic communication, he learns that the plow horse was born a thoroughbred racehorse, but because of maltreatment, lost all hope and, like so many humans, fell into a life of quiet desperation. Through the relationship they develop, both the boy and the horse discover and release their own inner thoroughbred.
This story was inspired by many people I have met who – similar to the lawyer I mentioned above – are exceptionally talented, bright, and genuinely good people, but they feel beaten down or see themselves as losers or loners. Many of them grew up in either hypercritical families or negative environments where their self-confidence was eroded and their talents were not nurtured, or they experienced themselves as different from their peers because of their intelligence, disability, race, height, or alternative way of perceiving the world. In some way, they did not feel that they fit in.
As adults, they tend to see themselves as similar to the plow horse, simply plodding through life, trying to get by. They go to school or work, come home, do their homework or chores, go to sleep, and then wake up to do the same thing over again.
In order to survive in a world that rewards conformity, these individuals are simply trying to fit in. They often complain of depression and anxiety. They experience life in black and white rather than in color. Joy is limited.
Other people often recognize that behind the lackluster presentation lives a vibrant, talented, creative, bright, and often gifted individual. Though these individuals may not recognize their own gifts, others experience them differently. They resonate with the person inside the plow horse.
It is this person that others may try to reach and help emerge. Through nurturance and acceptance, these plow horses may begin to see themselves through the eyes of those who love them.
This story is dedicated to all the plow horses within whom lies the thoroughbred.