Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could, the story of a premature baby horse born on a freezing night, is heartwarming and delightful. The book continues to charm readers. More than that: Tecolote has now won three national awards.
Winner: 2011 Silver Nautilus Award for Children’s Nonfiction (Gr. 1-6) The Nautilus Award recognizes books, audio books, and e-books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living and positive social change. The Nautilus Award recognizes distinguished contributions in adult, young adult, teen, and children’s literature. Previous winners include Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Finalist: 2011 National Indie Excellence Contest: Tecolote is a Finalist in:
“I was there the night that Tecolote was born, standing in the field while his mother terroized my husband, daughter and I. His almost tragic premature birth was the stuff of legends. When he grew up to be such a great horse, I knew I’d have to write a book about him. I did––doing little more than writing down what happened. The book has touched everyone who has read it. I give the credit to Tecolote.”
“Sandy Nathan is a born storyteller. The rhythm of her language leads adults and children into a loving but realistic world where horses’ travails provide life lessons for all. I found the parallel horse and human experiences of fear masquerading as anger especially powerful. The beautifully illustrated book contains other reminders of how we should conduct ourselves. Good manners and patient learning smooth the way for all. Sandy’s skilled handling of the death of Tecolote’s mother allows a child to visit this concept without undue trauma. Additionally, Tecolote provides valuable insights into the burdens and joys of owning horses. Any would-be horse owner would do well to read it. Highly recommended!”
Kathleen McGuinness JD
Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is available at:
Amazon Paperback: 8″ X 10″ color photo illustrations throughout. (Note from Sandy Nathan: I prefer this format. The interior is really lovely, with a band of sky and clouds across each page and a band of grass across the bottom. The color illustrations are beautiful. They are photos of Tecolote and his friends while the action was happening.)
Life is a trip. Two days ago, I was notified that my book, Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could, had won the 2011 Silver Nautilus Award for Children’s Nonfiction (grades 1 – 6). I was ecstatic. Winning is always fun, but this was more than that. Teco and I have bonded; he’s my boy and my personal riding horse. His lovely essence is entwined with mine.
The day after receiving the award, my vet told me that Tecolote would never be ridden again, in fact, he might die. I’m reeling. I can’t make sense of it.
Teco got pneumonia a week or so ago. Out of the blue. I think the very strange weather we’ve been having––rainy and cold one day, 88 degrees the next, back to rainy and cold––triggered it. He was a very sick horse. I’ve not seen a sicker horse. I won’t describe it, because it was awful.
We had the vet out. He gave him a strong course of antibiotics. (The drugs they have available now are wonderful.)
But Teco didn’t get better, or all the way better. The vet gave him another course of antibiotics and did an ultrasound of his lungs. Definitely pneumonia. Not all gone. It should have been gone.
He stopped eating, even fresh grass. Weight was falling off of him.
Barry went down to feed one morning found him down on the ground. Teco wouldn’t get up. He called me, but the horse had gotten up by the time I reached the pasture. The same pasture in which he was born that cold night ten years before. “He’s OK,” Barry said. The horse was nibbling on pasture grass. He was OK.
Later, I found him in the corner of his pasture, head down, lipping at dirt (despite grass all around). Looking so dejected. Kicking at his belly now and again like he was colicky.
He’s in the hospital now––Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center––which I consider the best equine hospital anywhere. I thought for sure they’d be able to fix him. They’re so great; they can do anything.
Barry spent three or four hours over there the first day with very skilled vets swarming around the horse, doing high powered ultra sounds and who knows what else. Teco’s illness didn’t add up. There were so many parts to it. It must have been brewing for a while. The vets did say that it wasn’t because he was premature. If it was that, it would have shown up years ago.
Tecolote is resting comfortably in the hospital now, undergoing treatment. The pneumonia triggered a bunch of things. I can’t write them all down. The vet said so many things; my mind’s a blur. And I’m crying.
It’s his heart. It’s beating at twice a normal speed; it’s enlarged. Fluid is accumulating. He still has pneumonia, but they can’t give him more antibiotics now because his digestive tract is messed up.
If they can stabilize his heart so that he’s well enough to come home, no one will ever ride him again. Riding a horse with a bad heart isn’t a good idea. If they can’t stabilize him . . .
Horses are heartbreakers. Animals are heartbreakers. People are heartbreakers.
If you engage in the world, if you fall in love and love, you open yourself to all the pain the the universe. We’re mortal. Those we love are mortal. They die. We’ll lose them, and we will feel pain.
Tecolote’s fighting the battle of his life now, doing it in his calm, gentle way. Even the vets are exclaiming about what a kind, patient horse he is.
I want to share this video with you. It shows some photos of me riding Tecolote. I didn’t realize when we took the photos that that ride would be one one my last with my boy. The absolute last ride was when I got on him and rode him slowly down to our arena a few days ago. He coughed almost every step and didn’t want to move. He did though, in his plucky way. I got him to the end of the arena and thought, This horse is sick. I’m taking him in.
When I got back to the barn, Teco put his head down and fluid poured from his nostrils. That was our last ride together.
Please think of him as he fights to live. Tecolote, the little horse that could.
The Nautilus Award recognizes books, audio books, and e-books that promote spiritual growth, conscious living & positive social change. In addition to its awards for adult literature, the Nautilus Awards recognize distinguished contributions to the worlds of art, creativity and inspirational reading for children, teens and young adults. Previous winners include: Echart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and . . . Sandy Nathan . Author Sandy Nathan also won the 2009 Silver Nautilus in the Indigenous/Multicultural category with her novel Numenon. (Once on the link, scroll down to find Numenon.)
“I’m terribly excited about this win,” says author Sandy Nathan. “The Nautilus Award means so much to me. It’s purpose––recognizing life-enhancing, life-changing literature and spoken art––aligns with my life’s purpose––producing books that enhance and change the lives of those around me. I couldn’t be happier.
“Tecolote’s win is especially meaningful. The little premature and soon-orphaned horse in the book grew up to be my horse. He’s the only horse we own who is reliable enough for me to ride. I’ve got a replaced knee, fused ankle and a couple of other physical dings that make me very cautious about getting on a horse. Tecolote is my boy. He takes care of me.
“One of the things about horses that makes them so special is the way they bond with human beings. Or maybe it’s the way we bond with them. Whatever. Teco and I are bonded. That’s a sweet experience.
“We thought Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could was a natural for the Nautilus Awards. Tecolote’s been inspiring us since he showed us his will to live after being born prematurely and then losing his mother when he was so young. His sweet story of trouble and triumph inspires children and adults.”
Rebecca Johnson, Amazon Top Ten Reviewer: “Sandy Nathan is such a good story teller you will be captivated from the first word until the last. She has included adorable pictures which make the story come alive. This is such a warm and amusing tale it made me laugh out loud a few times. I loved how Sandy Nathan explains how horses grow up and need special attention to be well mannered and tame. This is not just a children’s book, it will be enjoyed by people of all ages. What a lovely book.”
L.C. Evans, author Talented Horsewoman: “The book is beautifully illustrated with photos of Tecolote and the other horses on the farm. It would be a great gift book for horse lovers of all ages. Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could is written simply enough so children can read it themselves, but it will also appeal to adults.”
Zippora Karz, author The Sugarless Plum:I absolutely loved this book! Through Tecolote’s journey we feel the love of a mother for her child, (horse for filly and colt), how to find friends, play with them, and create mischief as well. This is a story for any age. I cried and laughed and marveled at all the ways love can be expressed in our lives.
From Sandy Nathan: “My preference is the paperback book. It’s color, inside and out. The book is beautiful. In addition to all the photos, the print book has a header and footer on each page. The header––a long strip across the top––is clouds and blue sky. The footer is green grass. They emphasize the country feeling of the book.”
“On the other hand, you can download the Kindle version in a minute and be reading it. You can’t beat the price: 99 cents. I was very pleased at how the pictures came out in the Kindle book. Very clear, though black and white.
“We’re working on getting Nook, Sony, and iPad versions ready.”