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Synopsis

Seabiscuit meets Manic when Sylvia Harris, a single mother crippled by her struggles with bipolar depression, discovers the healing, calming effect of horses.

Alcohol. Lithium. Buddhist chanting.

To quiet the voices in her mind, Sylvia Harris tried all of the above. At times, her manic behavior led her to dress up as a cowgirl and show off her imaginary rope skills in the middle of a quaint Northern California village, or spend the night in a torpor of fear awaiting the alien invasion she knew was on the horizon. At its worst, it led her to look for love in all the wrong places and create a family she had difficulty caring for. Although she sometimes found temporary relief and brief moments of calm, darkness always followed. At the nadir of her twenty-year battle with bipolar depression, Harris found salvation in the most unlikely of places: Cardinal Farm, an equine ranch outside of Orlando, Florida.

Harris had always been drawn to animals, but she had no idea of the healing power she would discover while working with horses. And though she still experienced raging highs and destabilizing lows, eventually—through grooming, caring for, and, against all odds, racing horses—she was able to find stability and, ultimately, joy.

With an unflinching eye toward her weaknesses and the pain that her life decisions have inflicted on others, Harris examines the ravaging power of her bipolar behavior and the magical power of horses, showing us how the mythic interspecies connection between humans and these magnificent animals continues to astonish and inspire.

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