I had read many stories about children on the autistic spectrum in that first year after my daughter Iris Grace was diagnosed. Some more powerful than others, and The Horse Boy moved me to tears. A boy called Rowan, who sounded very much like Iris, had been transformed by his affinity with horses and then by an epic journey on horseback in Mongolia. His parents, Rupert and Kristin, took him to see shamans and they saw a reversal in their boy’s autistic tendencies. His connection with horses, and his father’s open mind, his ability to be able to see life through his son’s eyes and adapt inspired me to do the same. To follow our daughter, to see what she loved above all, what came next was extraordinary and this was how it all began.

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“In April 2004 my son Rowan was diagnosed with autism. The feeling was like being hit across the face with a baseball bat. Our lives became clogged by a mountain of conflicting information about his condition. We tried everything. He didn’t speak to us. Rowan’s growing isolation, his uncontrollable fits, each failed treatment, filled me with despair” – said Rupert Isaacson, creator of the film. “Then one day he ran away from me and ran right up to a horse called Betsy. The moment I put Rowan on Betsy’s back he began to speak. He opened up to me for the first time and a light bulb went on in my head – was there a place on earth that combines healing with horses ?…Mongolia”

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In April 2004 Rowan was diagnosed with severe autism

Specialists feared he would never be able to communicate properly

Even though his parents tried everything, child did not speak to them

One day father, Rupert Isaacson, and son were walking near their home in Texas when Rowan ran away from his dad and ran right up to a horse called Betsy

Even though it was quite dangerous, father put the boy on the horse. The moment Rupert put Rowan on Betsy’s back he began to speak

Rowan’s relationship with horses seemed to ease the symptoms of his autism

Father decided to visit Mongolia with the child as he believed it was a place on earth that combined healing with horses

The family spent a month in Mongolia in 2007 where they experienced many adventures

From riding towards a sacred lake, to meeting the country’s most renowned shaman

They encountered other healers, had a day-long healing session on a holy mountain

After a journey across Mongolia, Rowan returned calmer and more communicative

As a result of the shaman ceremonies, or maybe because of the contact with horses

Rupert’s sons autism had forced him to listen to what interested Rowan above all else

When they got home their lives has changed forever and they began helping other families

More information about Rupert’s program for autistic children – Horse boy