Spirit of the Saluda River

Spirit of the Saluda River cover;

An easy reader for ages 5-8+, Spirit of the Saluda River is told by Spirit, a blind 20+ year-old Shetland pony rescued from an island in South Carolina's Saluda River. Despite a difficult past and obstacles in his recovery, Spirit goes on to become an inspiration, particularly to deaf and blind children.

Based on the true story of an incredible pony rehabilitated by Palmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League (P.E.A.R.L.), a South Carolina-based horse rescue. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sale benefits P.E.A.R.L. Cover art & illustrations by Emmi Gordon. (ISBN: 1-4536-5868-8)

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"Many times, the children were scared to ride me. I would sniff their hands to try and earn their trust. Most of them were giggling and smiling by the time our ride ended. The faces were always new and I loved making each one happy.

My one wish was that the children would stay longer. Still, after each ride, they would run right off, and I rarely saw a face more than once."


"This heartwarming story is based on the life of a real blind pony who swims across the Saluda River. Spirit is a pony who likes children, but is overworked. When he loses his eyesight, his owner no longer wants him and Spirit is abandoned. He breaks free from a paddock where he has no water, food, or shelter and soon finds himself in the river. Although he is stranded, he eventually ends up in the hands of a caring rescue facility that brings the neglected pony back to life. Spirit finally finds the love that he has craved for many years. This wonderful story was also illustrated by a very talented 13 year-old girl."

—Anouk Busch, New Jersey, Horse Rescue United, Inc.

"I rehabbed Spirit, aka River Rat. He was an AWESOME pony. The facts in the book are just the tip of the actual story. It was a hard road. That pony never quit so Cathryn and I didn't either. I will never regret one minute of my experiences with him, good and bad. His final years were spent as a spoiled little pony, he loved his new 'job,' his new pony friends, and his wonderful adopter."

— Nancy T., South Carolina

"Lately, I have read quite a few children's books about animals. If I were still a little girl, I am certain I would re-read this story or make my Mommy re-read it to me. The illustrations are so beautiful that I would draw them all the time. The story is based on a true story and a percentage of the proceeds benefit Palmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League (P.E.A.R.L.), who saved the real Spirit."

—Gloria Picchetti, Chicago, Illinois

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