The only distributor of films exclusively featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Horse Boy

Directed by Michel Orion Scott
93 MIN / DOCUMENTARY / 2009 / USA


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SYNOPSIS

The Horse Boy is a touching tale of family resilience in the face of a young boy’s autism. An up close and deeply personal look at a devoted couple’s heart-wrenching decision to travel to the ends of the earth to heal their son.

When the only child of psychology professor Kristin Neff and writer Rupert Isaacson, Rowan, was diagnosed with autism, says Rupert, it was “like being hit across the face with a baseball bat.” Western medicine provided no solutions for a child in constant pain, and Rowan’s explosive tantrums became a way of life. A horseman himself, Rupert noticed that Rowan’s only true emotional connection was with Betsy, a neighbor’s mare. This gave Rupert the idea to take his family to Mongolia and ride from healer to healer in pursuit of a miracle … with Scott in tow. Through his lens, we watch the Isaacsons subject themselves and Rowan – with the help of native guide Toga – to rugged mountain terrain, grueling riding conditions, and inclement weather. Throughout the journey, they waver between doubt about their own potentially absurd experiment and encouragement – as in the moment they see Rowan finally relate to Toga’s son.

Though some filming occurred in the Iaacsons’ hometown of Elgin, Texas, much of The Horse Boy was shot on the steppes on horseback, notes Scott: “As I galloped across the countryside, lurching from side to side and back to front, attempting to keep up with the family while holding the camera as steady as I could, it all seemed surreal and impossible.” Scott intersperses that remarkable footage with commentary from autism experts, including Cambridge University professor Simon Baron-Cohen (yes, a relation to that Baron-Cohen) and renowned author/CSU professor Temple Grandin, autistic herself. 

Video Purchase Options

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