Book: Horses They Rode

Author of several short stories, poetry, and a guidebook on canine first aid, Montana native Sid Gustafson is well-known for his practice of natural veterinary medicine. The Bozeman resident is continuing to grow his literary credentials with a second novel, Horses They Rode, released in September.

The story follows the transitory journey of Wendel Ingraham, a racehorse trainer newly divorced and rebuilding his life in his childhood home along the northern Rocky Mountain Front. Against the backdrop of the shifting ranch landscape, the horse trainer attempts to make peace with past loves, wrestles with the disappearance of his five-year-old daughter back in Spokane, and finally unravels the mystery of his own father’s disappearance. Along the way, Wendell finds out about a son he never knew, connecting with the boy while training ranch horses and driving cattle.

Steeped in Native American spirituality and stories, Horses They Rode is a compelling tribute to contemporary ranch culture. Like his debut novel, Prisoner’s of Flight, Gustafson’s latest is thick with metaphor, weaving together both inner and outer journeys. By rail, by horse, and by mountain highway, Gustafson paints a magical landscape as his protagonist recreates his life and connections with others, the land and himself.