“Half Broke is a love song to the broken ones, be they human or beast, and all the ways they find to mend.  Ginger Gaffney’s prose is as clean and lovely as the land she describes, and this story is one that hinges on some of the deepest truths.  Among them, the facts that loving well is the best medicine, and though we may not recover in a way that preserves the person we were, such loss is not without mercy.”

Melissa Febos
Author of "Whip Smart" and "Abandon Me"

Half Broke

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. Half Broke is a resonant memoir with a spirited, memorable cast that describes the fascinating ways both horses and humans seek relationships to survive.

Praise for HALF BROKE by Ginger Gaffney

“Ginger Gaffney is a writer’s writer, a bold and original talent. This poignant, positive story of human and equine transformation subtly combines the author’s own healing with the challenge of teaching difficult people to work with deeply scared horses. The characters leap off the page and into your heart. Savor this book and then buy one for your best friend.”

Anne Hillerman
Author of the best-selling Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito mysteries

“You will remember the tenacious and utterly winning people that populate this book for a long, long time, and you will never forget the horses.”

Pam Houston
Author of Deep Creek

“Perhaps you’ve heard of equine therapy, of how time spent with a horse can stitch a person back together, tethering mind and spirit back to the body. It’s easy to doubt such magic. But reader, trust me: no matter your belief or understanding, prepare to be changed, because in the pages of Half Broke is the rare gift of story exquisitely told, a book that shows us how to save ourselves by saving what we’ve left behind—our animal body and its necessary connection to the animal world, specifically to horses, even those troubled, half-broke beings just as damaged as us. In these pages is wisdom that will gallop in your blood, calling you to experience what Ginger Gaffney found in the stables and fields of a drug rehab facility in New Mexico, calling you to then use that healing for yourself and those creatures who need it most, both human and not.”

Nickole Brown
Author of To Those Who Were Our First Gods

“This book astonished, excited, enlightened, and humbled me. I loved it, loved it, loved it. At its heart, Half Broke is about the myriad conscious and unconscious ways we communicate with one other, and with creatures of different species–language both spoken and wordless. This marvelous memoir, peopled with folks in serious trouble of one kind or another, and the horses they care for, creatures with their own sophisticated ways of communicating, taught me as much about language as have my 77 years on the planet.  Hard earned wisdom, the best kind.”

Abigail Thomas
Author of A Three Dog Life

“Half Broke is a love song to the broken ones, be they human or beast, and all the ways they find to mend.  Ginger Gaffney’s prose is as clean and lovely as the land she describes, and this story is one that hinges on some of the deepest truths.  Among them, the facts that loving well is the best medicine, and though we may not recover in a way that preserves the person we were, such loss is not without mercy.”

Melissa Febos
Author of "Whip Smart" and "Abandon Me"

“Written with clarity and compassion, this memoir is about the astounding power of horses to heal broken human beings. HALF BROKE shows a side of New Mexico that is seldom seen—the poverty and the struggle, but also the hopefulness and odd beauty of spirit within the people and the horses.”

Leslie Marmon Silko
Author of Ceremony