Tomorrow Charlie would turn six years old and the entire Shelby family would descend on their home to celebrate, and as such Tommy had decided that today would be a day spent with just him and his son, a morning of eating and playing whatever Charlie wanted, and an afternoon spent with the horses. That’s where they were now, brushing Grace’s Secret and mucking out her stable with Tommy explaining to Charlie the finer details of horse behaviour, the little twitches to watch out for to give an insight in their minds, as always Charlie was enraptured, already besotted with the creatures he’d grown up with.
That’s when they heard it, the telltale neigh and scream of a rider being thrown from their horse.
This is an excerpt from a book I’ve just read called ‘Hunting with Barracudas’ by River’s agent’s assistant, Chris Snyder.
This encounter is from a few days before River died. It came after various run ins that River and Chris had over River’s state. Chris speaks repeatedly about the guilt he feels about not speaking up to River and the opportunities in which he, River’s agent (Iris) and River’s mother had to intervene e.g. “Roger Ebert had seen River was in trouble and he’d only watched (The Thing Called Love) once. I had watched it seven times. Why hadn’t I recognised River’s call for help, when a total stranger had? It looked to me like an attempt at James Dean or Montgomery Clift sensitivity, when he was screaming for someone to stop him. But instead we’d ignored his cries for help and signed him up for more movies. I felt blood stained my hands too.”
It’s been reported that that was the way River was being handled but hearing it from the horses mouth in such detail is so so heartbreaking.