Mom and I went to see “The Horse Boy” at what was called the Atlantic Canadian Premiere. Before the lady who organized the screening could show the movie, she had to get the rights to show it in Canada and had to get it rated for Canadian Audiences. It made me remember how many small, good, movies there are that we not only don’t get to see, we don’t even hear about.
The movie was about Rowan a little boy with Autism. The Autism had such a hold on his body that he couldn’t connect with other people, other children, and had tantrums that started for no reason and often lasted for hours. Even though the little boy was school aged, his parents were unable to convince him to pooh in the toilet, resulting in a “code brown.”
This movie was also about his parents Rupert and Kristin as they take a huge leap of faith. Rupert loved horses and in a great sequence they showed a temper tantrum that seemed to last for hours and when Rupert placed Rowan on horseback he calmed right down and he began to have conversations with his dad about the horse.
Before Rowan was born his father, a travel writer, and his mother, a psychology professor, would travel to great exotic places around the world, but with Rowan they were unable to travel. With much planning, they decided to take their little boy on horseback across Mongolia to be healed by the horses and the Shaman.
As the trip started it appeared it was going to be a disaster, the horses had only been trained 3 days to take western riders, Rowan rejected the horses and screamed and screamed, the horse that Kristin had kept kicking her, and the first Shaman told Kristen that she had to cleanse the area that Rowan entered the world from and then the two parents needed to be beaten with branches.
The Mongolian guide hired to translate and take them on their journey brought his son, who was the same age as Rowan. For the first time ever, Rowan started to connect with another child, it was awkward, and it was mentioned that the guide’s son had amazing patients, but there was a connection happening.
Soon they were a family traveling having an adventure. On the last few days of the trip they came to the final Shaman. Who, although very sick, agreed to perform a ritual on Rowan, and at the end told them that they would see changes happening very quickly and by tomorrow he they would not have to deal with “Code Browns” any more. They were skeptical but thanked the man very much and the next day they were on their way.
Cut to Rowan, running across the swamp, going to the toilet by himself; his parents no longer having to clean up after him. He soon got better and better, he still has autism, but he can have birthday parties, ride a horse with supervision and his parents are confident enough in his behavior to hire a baby sitter and have a romantic night out.
Now whether it was just that his parents were totally focused on their son for a week, or Rowan needed to be out of the industrialized world or that there was something to be said for the magic the shamans performed, this boy appeared to be changed.
If it was the spiritual connection made with this boy, it makes me wonder if I’m missing something in my life. I’ve tried at times of craziness to latch on to church, to meditating, to saying prayers and mantras by candle light, and I’ve never felt any better, always worse. It’s not until I pushed it all away and focused on my health, my journal and writing that I’ve felt whole. Maybe writing is my magic. But I still wonder “Is there something else out there for me?”