By Norman Fine
Rupert Isaacson discovered that horses were therapeutically beneficial to his autistic son Rowan. Their lives grew from that starting point.
When we talk about Rupert Isaacson and "Horse Boy," we could be talking about him and his autistic son Rowan, his internationally best-selling book, his award-winning documentary film, and/or his world-wide organization that helps autism families.
Rupert was an avid foxhunter until other imperatives occupied his life. He is also a gifted and persuasive writer. But Rupert’s principal gift to humanity is a mind set that allows no limits on what is possible. No cause, no matter the odds, is hopeless to Isaacson, and time and again he has tilted at windmills and accomplished astonishing results.
Rupert was born in England and roamed the world as a travel and environmental writer, specializing in Africa. It was there that he came upon a cause that captured him totally—the displacement and removal of the Bushmen of the Kalahari from their traditional hunting grounds by their own government. Isaacson became a vigorous activist for the Bushmen, gave speeches, wrote a book about their plight, and arranged for the Bushmen to appear before the United Nations to plead their case. They won.
At about that time, Isaacson and his wife, then living in Texas, discovered that their infant son Rowan was autistic. Conventional treatment protocols—and they tried many—were unable to improve the boy’s most troubling behavioral problems, and Isaacson immersed himself into finding alternate solutions. He discovered that horseback riding while holding his son in front of him in the saddle was therapeutic for the boy. But only temporarily.