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If you were at all wondering what you’d find between the covers of this book, look no further than the title. There are no secret themes, but there are plenty of characters – human and equine – expertly chronicled in this life journey by Susan Friedland. Taking 10 years (and troughs of tears) to write, Horses Adored and Men Endured is the “horse lover’s dating memoir” according to the author.

And what a memoir.

Before you think this is some fairy tale of tails and top hats, it’s not. Friedland’s experience is everyone’s. You may not have exactly the same line-up of disappointing dates, but the personalities are all relatable. Kevin and his orange leather jacket. Steve and prom night down the toilet (literally, food poisoning). Geoff and his crazed ex-girlfriend. Or romantic but elusive, Kolton; they’ll always have Paris. All are men best remembered once they are decidedly in the rearview mirror, or laughter at their memory would be as elusive as Kolton.

If you pick up this book wanting more of horses adored, you’ll get that. Honestly, I felt myself impatient with the chapters that weren’t all about a horse. Not because the book isn’t an engaging read throughout, but because, well, I’m a horse nut. Friedland gets me with the opening sentence: “… if only I could marry a horse.” Tell me your 10-year-old self didn’t also have that thought, however fleeting. Of course, I did not take it as far as the author did and fill a horse “hope chest” but that’s a splendid idea.

You can read the rest of this book review where it was originally published at Arabian Horse Travels here.