OSWEGO, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ It started “a mom’s story” about one of her children.
It became one of 50 stories to aid and inspire mare owners in a book, Mares! (Ya Gotta Love ‘Em), compiled by Betsy Kelleher of Granite City, Illinois.
Lisa Manro Dennis returned to the Port City on Wednesday night for a book signing event at the river’s end bookstore.
Her story in Mares, entitled “One Mare that Saved a Life,” shares personal experiences with mares that have touched their owners’ hearts. It tells about the relationship between her son, Adam and a mare named Cheyenne.
The section includes a short biography and picture of the story’s subjects.
For the Oswego High School graduate and long-time resident, Wednesday’s event was also a reunion.
Several old friends and families members were among the dozens of well wishers who stopped by to have copies of the book signed by Lisa.
An avid horsewoman with a passion for training young horses, Lisa now resides in Gates, NC, with her husband and four children.
Mares, published in 2008 by Xulon Press, shares the challenges of dealing with the unique personalities of mares from a positive view.
Lisa said her contribution to the book is about her son.
“He was living with his father in Charlotte and was doing some of the things that teen-age kids do, that they probably shouldn’t,” she explained. “Then, he met this horse through a friend of mine he fell in love with it.”
His option was to come and stay with his mother in the country (Gates) for a while and take care of the horse, or stay where he was in charlotte, she said.
“So, he came to stay with me for the summer and take care of his horse,” she said. “They bonded so quickly and so well that he couldn’t give her up to go back to Charlotte.”
He decided to stay with his mother and take care of the horse and to show her.
They have gone as far as they can on the local circuit, Lisa said, adding, “She’s a local champion.”
The horse was on the farm of the person who trains Lisa’s beginner horses.
“She had been abandoned there by her owner,” Lisa said. “And so, we pretty much bought her for her board. There were 75 horses on the property, 50 of which were for sale.”
Her son saw this horse and went out after her; after he touched her, he wouldn’t look at another horse, Lisa said.
“Through the course of training her, he learned a lot about himself,” she added. “That’s really what changed his whole perspective on life; being responsible for someone else, and seeing that we’re all not perfect, we all have stuff to work on.”
Lisa said she didn’t plan on having her story published Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but then, life intervened.
“It’s really funny. I wrote this story a while ago. Then someone contacted me online through a horse groomer that I am affiliated with. They said they had heard about my story and asked me if I ever considered writing it down (for publication). So I did and submitted it for a human interest story to an online magazine,” Lisa said.
Kelleher saw it and loved it.
“She was working on her book and she contacted me, tracked me down. She said, ‘My book is due to the publisher in November, and it is October, can I have your story?’ And I said sure,” Lisa said. “So, it all started with a mom’s story.”
She might be writing more in the future.
Her favorite activities include attending horse shows with her children, trail riding and helping horses in need.
She has also assisted on cruelty investigations for horse rescue organizations.
Organizing and promoting various rescue events, Lisa has been beneficial in the rehabilitation and re-homing of hundreds of neglected and abused horses.
“I have been thinking about it, I’d like to write some more. But I’ve just been so busy,” she said. “Between the rescuing and we work a small farm, my job and my family (writing) has kind of been on the back burner. I keep starting it, and then I read it and I stop and I think about it a while and then I write a little more. It’s not quite where I want it to be.”
Kelleher is talking about coming out with another book, Lisa noted. She’d like to contribute to that one as well.
“I’ll look into it,” she said with a laugh. “I love to write.”
When she was going to school in Oswego, she was bitten by the writing bug.
“Give me a pen and paper and I’m good,” she said. “I grew up here; this was my home for 30 years. I did a lot of artistic writing in my classes when I was in school. That’s really my start in those classes, they used to call them ‘humanities’ back in the day. I had a lot of good teachers, I wish I could remember all their names, they really encouraged me.”
From joy of birth to anguish of loss, this book offers stories of inspiration, love and healing.
Contained in this wonderfully compiled book are 50 funny and heartwarming stories on the antics of mares and how they impact the lives of their owners, Lisa notes on her website (www.starlightstablesnc.com).
“This book is sure to tug at your heart strings and make you laugh,” she said.
The book retails for $23.99.
But, if you email Lisa for a direct mailing, the book will include autographs by Kelleher, Lisa and Adam. Also, the shipping will be free and a donation will be made to the United States Equine Rescue League.