A Good Horse Has No Color: Searching Iceland for the Perfect Horse by Nancy Marie Brown

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir/travelogue
Year of publication: 2001
Setting & time: Iceland; 1996 and 1997

Nancy Marie Brown and her husband, writer Charles Fergus, came to Iceland with their young son to spend the summer of 1996 while still reeling from a family tragedy. Fergus recounted the story of their stay there in Summer at Little Lava, which I reviewed some years ago. I reposted the review yesterday.

When I became aware that Nancy was also a writer, I decided to read one of her books and of the two available in the National Library, I chose this one, as to me it’s the more interesting of the two. In a way it picks up from where Fergus left off, showing how Nancy fell in love with the Icelandic horse breed and returned to Iceland a year later determined to buy a couple of horses of her own and take them home to Pennsylvania. She recounts her adventures and experiences among Icelandic horse people (a unique breed in themselves) and her search for the perfect horse (for her) and sprinkles in references to Icelandic folklore, Nordic mythology and the Sagas.

This is an honest and very readable account by a woman who feels very much like a fish out of water among people who have been riding horses all their lives, some since before they could walk, and some of the pitfalls of horse-buying. There are a few cautionary accounts of crooked horse-dealing in the book (including a couple of quite funny ones), but she seems to have been able to avoid most of the pitfalls, even the one the book’s title refers to: the temptation to buy a horse because just you like its colour. Most of all this is a story about self-discovery and learning.

Quite apart from being an enjoyable memoir/travelogue, this book could make interesting reading for a person studying business since it covers, in detail, the entire classic model of the consumer buying process from beginning to end.
3+ stars.

Click here to read a short excerpt


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