Long Shot: My Bipolar Life and the Horses Who Saved Me

Author(s): Sylvia Harris

biography & memoir

An inspiring and searingly honest memoir of how one woman had the strength and courage to change her life. Sylvia Harris was homeless, her children had been taken from her, and she was using crack cocaine. She is also a manic depressive. Now she's a prize-winning jockey with the world at her feet. Alcohol. Lithium. Buddhist chanting. To quiet the voices in her mind, Sylvia Harris tried all of the above. At times, her manic behavior led her to dress up as a cowgirl and show off her imaginary rope skills in the middle of a quaint Northern California village, or spend the night in a torpor of fear awaiting the alien invasion she knew was on the horizon. At its worst, it led her to look for love in all the wrong places and create a family she had difficulty caring for. Although she sometimes found temporary relief and brief moments of calm, darkness always followed. At the nadir of her twenty-year battle with bipolar depression, Harris found salvation in the most unlikely of places: Cardinal Farm, an equine ranch outside of Orlando, Florida. Harris had always been drawn to animals, but she had no idea of the healing power she would discover while working with horses. And though she still experienced raging highs and destabilizing lows, eventually--through grooming, caring for, and, against all odds, racing horses--she was able to find stability and, ultimately, joy. With an unflinching eye toward her weaknesses and the pain that her life decisions have inflicted on others, Harris examines the ravaging power of her bipolar behavior and the magical power of horses, showing us how the mythic interspecies connection between humans and these magnificent animals continues to astonish and inspire.


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"An edgy, unapologetic account of [Harris's] race to outrun the illness that consumed her[!] a tribute to the power of the horse to calm, contain and inspire" The Economist "An inspirational story" Kirkus Reviews "A truly compelling tale of the havoc that mental illness can wreak and how a passion can lead to healing" Booklist "Terrifically insightful [and] beautifully crafted, this book pulls no punches... Each page of Long Shot reminds us once again of the adage that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person." Lowell Sun "Inspiring... One of the more interesting sports book that you will find." Philadelphia Tribune "Even if you don't love horses you will still cheer for Sylvia Harris after reading her memoir... After reading Long Shot, you'll feel there's little that you can't accomplish." Essence

Sylvia Harris is a jockey. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware. This is her first book.

General Fields

  • : 9780007319381
  • : HarperCollins Publishers
  • : HarperTrue
  • : 0.187
  • : September 2009
  • : 197mm X 130mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : March 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sylvia Harris
  • : Paperback
  • : 616.8950092
  • : 224
  • : 10 col plates (8pp)