From an award-winning poet comes this riveting, gorgeous memoir about a young runaway, the trauma that haunted her as an adult, and the friendship with a horse that finally set her free.When she was eleven years old, Rita began to run away. Her father’s violence and her mother’s hostility drove her out of the house and into the streets in search of a better life. This soon led her into a dangerous world of drugs, predatory older men, and the occasional kindness of strangers, but despite the dangers, Rita kept running. One day she came upon a field of horses galloping along a roadside fence, and the sight of them gave her hope. The memory of their hoofbeats stayed with her.Rita survives her harrowing childhood to become a prize-winning writer and the wife of a promising surgeon. But when she is suddenly besieged by terrifying panic attacks, her past trauma threatens her hard-won happiness and the stable, comfortable life she’s built with her husband. Within weeks, she is incapacitated with fear—literally afraid of her own shadow. Realizing that she is facing a life of psychological imprisonment, Rita undertakes a journey to find help through a variety of treatments. It is ultimately through chasing her childhood passion for horses that she meets a spirited, endearing horse named Claret—with his own troubled history—and together they surmount daunting odds as they move toward fear and learn to trust, and ultimately save, each other.