The Horse Boy Story: a Mongolian Journey of Healing

Horse Boy Presentation at Whole Earth North Lamar

Rowan Isaacson, also known as the Horse Boy, has traveled to places that most of us will never see. Diagnosed with autism in 2004, his family discovered that animals, especially horses, helped him to reach out to the world. With the help of a neighbor’s quarter horse named Betsy, Rowan began to speak. Soon after, Rowan met a group of traditional healers and shamans with whom he also forged a connection. His father, Rupert Isaacson, an ex-horse trainer and human rights advocate for displaced indigenous tribes, then decided to take the family on a trip to a place where the world of horses and the world of shamanic healing met: Mongolia. The Horse Boy, a book and a documentary, tells the story of the family’s journey.

In Mongolia, the family rode for days over the grassy steppes and visited with shamans whose ceremonies helped ease Rowan’s tantrums and incontinence. For some, shamanic healing seems too close to New Age beliefs to be credible. But as Isaacson points out,

“The good thing about having the film crew there was that we actually show people that we didn’t just make this stuff up. Anyway, I’m less interested in how it works. Rowan came home cured of these dysfunctions, not cured of his autism. He is still autistic and always will be. There’s a difference, I think, between ‘heal’ and ‘cure.’ Rowan is just so functional now that his autism comes across as more of a quirk than a ‘condition.’” (John Mitchinson, The Telegraph)

Inspired by Rowan’s progress, his parents have created the Horse Boy Foundation and Method for working with autistic children. The Method involves a six stage process: creating a receptive environment, sensory work, back-riding, perspective taking, academics on horseback and self-advocacy. The Foundation sponsors play dates, camps and training sessions.

Whole Earth Provision Co. proudly welcomes Rupert Isaacson to our North Lamar store in Austin on Thursday February 21st at 7 pm. He will speak on the family’s journey to Mongolia and the Foundation’s work with autistic children. You can say howdy to a pair of Horse Boy horses as well. Hope you’ll join us!