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Because of Horses

May 17, 2019

In 2006, Susan Conley was 42 years old and married to an addict whose well-being she valued above her own. Though she had never longed for a pony or studied horses before, one day she suddenly, inexplicably, felt drawn to find a barn so she could ride. In her new memoir, Many Brave Fools, Susan explores topics including addiction, dysfunction and codependent relationships—and shares the story of how horses helped her to navigate the aftermath of her unhealthy marriage and subsequent loss of identity.

Susan quickly learned that riding was both harder and easier than anything she had done before. Though Susan had read countless self-help books and completed 12 step programs, she realized that the time she spent at the barn had transformed her the most. More than just evolving from a green rider to one capable of tackling the competitive arena, Susan recognized that horses had also triggered a change in her mind, body and spirit. Riding and interacting with horses helped Susan to rediscover herself, eventually emerging as a self-confident woman ready to embark on the next phase of life.

Susan holds a master of philosophy degree in Irish theatre studies from Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, an honors degree in psychology and a diploma in equine-assisted therapy and learning. She is the author of Drama Queen, The Fidelity Project, and the soon to be re-released The Magic Mischief.  Susan is based in Dublin, Ireland, where she is currently at work on her next horse book and a new paranormal/historical romance series.


Topics of Discussion:

[:18] About today’s episode.

[1:13] Susan’s first experience riding horses... in her 40s.

[2:22] What it felt like first going into a lesson barn later in life.

[6:34] Susan’s epiphany of how to write her memoir, Many Brave Fools.

[11:13] The therapeutic impact horses can have on a person and how Susan came to realize this.

[13:40] How Susan chose her book’s title, Many Brave Fools.

[16:58] Susan distinguishes the difference between a bad relationship vs. a codependent one.

[18:52] How being in a toxic relationship affected Susan.

[22:05] Susan speaks about the paradigm shift that occurred when she put herself into the world of horses and horse-people, which she knew absolutely nothing about.

[24:45] The correlations between human relationships and horse relationships, and how they have affected her riding.

[27:41] How Susan drew the funny connection between the quantity of excrement in her life and in the barn!

[31:36] The great metaphor for life Susan learned through horses.

[35:23] The importance of riding in circles — and why Susan decided to open her book by exploring this topic.

[38:35] Susan’s ideas about compromise vs. expectation, both while riding and in human relationships.

[41:18] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses.

[42:50] To what degree does Susan find herself accepting limits in other people the way she accepts them in the horse she has been riding?

[47:16] Insights Susan has gleaned over the years that could prove helpful to others in their own lives — personally or in the barn!

[50:42] How Susan’s equine evolution parallels her internal evolution.

[55:28] Susan shares a bit of information on her new horse series!

[56:17] Where to learn more about Susan’s books and follow her online.


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

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Mentioned in this Episode:

Many Brave Fools: A Story of Addiction, Dysfunction, Codependency...and Horses,
by Susan Conley

EquestFile (Use coupon code: BOH10 to receive a 10% discount for two months off your subscription)


Next week’s episode of Because of Horses

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