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The Importance Of Perseverance

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Author Interview

My Life at Sweetbrier shares your experiences growing up on the Sweetbrier horse farm in Easton, Connecticut and conveys all the obstacles and emotions of that time. Why was this an important book for you to write?

In My Life at Sweetbrier, I wanted to convey the importance of perseverance in life. I firmly believe young readers would benefit from this story because it shows that determination can change the direction of your life. Also, many people have a negative attitude about things and they may be deterred from following their dreams if other people discourage them. But I’d like children to know that you can succeed against the odds if you refuse to give up on your dreams. Imagine what I would have missed if I didn’t pursue mine.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It was difficult to write about the fire in our barn that killed two of the horses. One of those was my mom’s beautiful, talented, Arabian stallion, Chiefie. Mom adored him. They had a rare connection and I was so hard for her to carry on without him. As always, she was a role model for her courage. Also as a family, we had to choose whether or not to rebuild our barn The fire showed us that we must carry on after a tragedy.

What is one memory that this book has helped you to remember?

My Life at Sweetbrier helped me recall how thrilled and blessed I am to have Peach, my remarkable horse who helped us become champions together. We had the kind of connection that Mom had with Chiefie. Peach understood me and seemed to be so sensitive to the pressure of my legs when I wanted her to lengthen her stride before a jump. She was beautiful and gifted at jumping. Peach loved jumping and that’s the reason she never grew tired of it, even when my sisters and I shared her at shows. Other horses were dragging themselves around the course by the end of the day, while she was still shaking her head and playing around. We won first place in our debut show together. As you can imagine, I was elated.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?

I hope readers remember to always follow their dreams because they may accomplish much more than they imagine if they refuse to quit. Every person has bad days and fails from time to time. Even champions experience days when things do not go well. But every winner knows it’s what happens after your fall that matters.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion rider? This problem is, you were born with a disability. This happened to Deanie. Doctors told her parents she’d never walk, let alone ride. What happened next? What did Deanie’s dad do that changed her life? Could a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story. If you love horses and someone who has been counted out becoming a winner in every way, you will love this book.

My Life at Sweetbrier

My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses by [Humphrys-Dunne, Deanie]

My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses is a non-fiction book written by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne about her true life experiences growing up on a horse farm in Easton, Connecticut called Sweetbrier. After Deanie’s parents were told she would probably never be able to walk, she not only overcame her disability in order to learn to walk but Deanie also learned to ride horses and becomes an equestrian jumping champion, riding a horse named Fleet Nancy (Peach). Then she has surgery on her leg to help her walk better and she has to relearn to walk and ride all over again. After many months of physical therapy and hard work, she comes back to the jumping circuit and wins even more championships.

I enjoyed reading this book. It had an inspiring message about overcoming obstacles in order to reach your goals, to keep trying even when you fail and not give up. It’s a message that will resonate with all readers regardless of whether or not they have a physical disability like Deanie.

The descriptions of Little Man (Deanie’s first pony) were humorous as she described his actions when she was learning to ride, but it was sad to read about the horses that the family lost when the barn caught on fire.

I loved that the author included family photographs and pictures of the house and barns at Sweetbrier and the horses owned by the Humphrys Family while Deanie was growing up. There were also pictures of the Humphrys sisters jumping at various horse shows.

Although I enjoyed the book, I felt that the story was a bit disjointed at the beginning, with Deanie retelling various events in her past, jumping from one memory to another without  connections between them. I would have preferred a more cohesive narrative in that section of the story, but this is not an issue in the later parts of the story. No dates were mentioned, and I would have liked to know when Deanie was growing up and when she won numerous equestrian jumping championships.

This is an inspirational story that excellently conveys the moments and emotions of Deanie’s life. This book invites readers into a personal story, one that is told boldly, and I appreciated it.

Pages: 144 | ASIN: B0711P67DM

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