Steven Poteet, the center’s director of development, came up with the concept and composed the layout, photo art and cover design.
The title of the book, “I Ride My Spirit Horse,” was inspired by a song written by country music singer and songwriter Mary Ann Kennedy.
According to Poteet, Kennedy gave her permission to use the lyrics of the song on the bottom of each page in the book. In addition to the lyrics on every page, a tribute to her song is on the back cover of the book.
Inspired by a little boy named Brock with special needs, the heartwarming story revolves around his therapeutic interaction with a horse named Tigger that becomes a loving relationship. The pages unveil their affinity for each other as Brock gains valuable self-confidence while riding Tigger in the equine assisted program.
“It’s a story of human triumph from the eyes of a child,” Poteet said. “For Brock and many of the special needs children who ride at SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center, trotting abroad Tigger is a bit of Heaven on earth.”
Poteet is trusting the book will show readers the special way children can move beyond their limitations and benefit from equine assisted programs as they see how much Brock profits from therapeutic riding.
“Brock doesn’t realize how beneficial the program is to his body and mind — he just enjoys the ride,” Poteet said.
It took a month to prepare the book for presentation to one of America’s premiere children’s book publishers which told Poteet they only publish 4 percent of first-time authors who submit to them.
“They felt this book would be a winner because it is nonfiction, about children, the difficulties some children face and the interaction with animals.”
The publisher’s contract calls for up to 10 illustrations to be done by its award-winning Illustration department, but it has agreed to do all 28 illustrations at no additional cost. Also, a coloring book will be produced using the illustrations from the book and a 3D picture book, with 3D glasses, at no additional costs, and will be available for resale.
“There is a first-time author’s investment, (and) SpiritHorse is asking the community to consider playing a part in the publishing of the book by giving a small one time tax-exempt donation,” said Poteet. “We have been told our second book, already in the works, will not require an author’s investment.”
All royalties from the book will go to fulfill the SpiritHorse mission, “To assist children with special needs in reaching their full potential, through interaction with horses, without cost to the families.”
To see a sample of the book visit www.spirithorsetn.org/compon-ent/flippingbook/book/2.html.
SpiritHorse is a nonprofit, therapeutic riding center at the Black Fox Equestrian Center to benefit special needs children. There are SpiritHorse centers in seven other states besides Tennessee, and in four other countries. For more information or an opportunity to give, call 618-2962 or 505-2215.