An alternative prison ranch in New Mexico conducts a daring experiment: setting the troubled residents out to retrain an aggressive herd of horses. The horses and prisoners both arrive at the ranch broken in one way or many— the horses often abandoned and suspicious, the residents, some battling drug and alcohol addiction, emotionally, physically, and financially shattered. Ginger Gaffney’s job is to retrain the untrainable. With time, the horses and residents form a profound bond, and teach each other patience, control, and trust.
As Gaffney peels away the layers of her own story— a solitary childhood, painful introversion, and a trans-formative connection with her first horse, a filly named Belle— she, too, learns to trust people as much as she trusts horses.
Ginger Gaffney is a top-ranked horse trainer. She received an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and her work has been published in Tin House and Utne Reader. She lives in Velarde, New Mexico.
Today on Access Utah, Ginger Gaffney joins us to talk about her memoir “Half Broke.”