Once upon a time, in a land not too far away (New Jersey), there was a woman who had a beautiful horse named Titan. I met this lady on the Internet. I was surfing around when it wasn't even the thing to do, and, lo and behold, I found her. Me, coming from way up in the North (Montreal, where we say "mais oui, oui, mon cherie") contacted this lady.

Susie Solomon. OY. A nice Jewish girl like me? Who loves horses? What were the odds back in the day? Barely giving it a second thought, I hopped into my car and drove to the United States of America in search of my new friend, Susie.

Did I mention I could barely ride a horse?Did I mention I could barely ride a horse? No matter. When we met, it was love and laughter and we even had the same Breyer Horse clocks... It was beshert. Meant to be. She threw me on one horse, she got on her Titan, took me across a river to the National State Park on the 4th of July, and I became a rider.

Now, over the years, Susie and I have been through quite a lot, together and apart. We have had our share of challenges. She was and is my hero, and rumor has it she is proud of me these days.

Let me tell you a thing or three about this woman. She is a single mom who followed her heart and her dreams while never neglecting her family and friends. Some people thought her a dreamer, not very practical and maybe a little crazy. Well, we know that "a little crazy" can be a very good thing, at times. Weren't we considered a little crazy for thinking we could leave Egypt, or to this day defending our small homeland against vast nations? And yet, we do, and we succeed. Susie is of the same ilk. She is one who has the flame of G‑d burning brightly to light the way for her son, her family and her friends.

She has faced death a few times. One particular time, she was in a major car accident where, sadly, she lost some friends. She got out of the car, her ears ringing, deaf, amidst a sea of noise and carnage. She thought she was dead. So terrible was this experience and the battering her body took, that many thought she would be permanently scarred and probably never ride again. Months and months of physiotherapy and several surgeries, Susie was back on her feet and back on her horse and back to baling hay. She continued to work day and night to put her son through private school (a very gifted child) and to pay all her expenses. Her husband had left her long ago.

Being alone and on her own, while that may scare most of us, was a challenge and a blessing for her. She learned to stand tall and keep herself on sure footing. And whatever she endured or suffered through, she could see in other people's eyes (and in her horses, too). She helped them. She transformed all that was bad into all that was good. And never forgot her roots.

Susie learned to stand tall and keep herself on sure footingAbout eighteen months ago, I was told I would probably not live to see sixty. Hey, I was only forty-nine and I have two children – they were twenty and twenty-one at the time. The doctors said my lungs were very diseased. Well, to be fair, I smoked during labor, I smoked in the shower, I would have smoked in my sleep. I liked to smoke. It was pretty intelligent, considering I had asthma since childhood.

So I gave it up. And I went on a list to get new lungs. And I tried to stay positive. I exercised with my oxygen tank. I sold my horse (yes, a beautiful Saddlebred I bought from Susie… it broke my heart to see her go). Eventually, as I waited, my lung function dropped to seventeen percent. I wasn't going to quit. Susie never quits either, by the way. Not on herself, not on her friends and certainly not on her horses.

And, of course, G‑d, being so great and kind and generous, arranged to find lungs for me. Six-and-a-half months ago, I had the surgery and my lung function is now 107%.

Just over a week ago, I went out to the country to visit a dear friend who has a beautiful school horse, a Canadian horse. I got on his back... walked, trotted, cantered. I cried. I breathed. I rode. I was alive again and recorded it for all to see.

I sent the link to Susie. Susie had to see. She knew I was fine, but she had to see.

And in true Susie fashion, a woman who would lay down her life for you, give you the saddle off her horse, she spoke with her husband and decided to give me a birthday present. I turn fifty-one on June 4th. Not a pair of riding boots or britches or perhaps a book on horses or maybe a sculpture of a horse or a horsy blanket... Nope. Not Susie.

All I can say is that idealism is not over-ratedSusie had to send me a horse. With a saddle and halter and bridle and blanket and and and and and and and.... And all I could do was cry. And all I can say is that idealism is not over-rated. And love of your fellow man, sister, rider manifests itself in ways you sometimes never think possible.

This is not outside Susie's character. It is just outside so many other people's character. So, in case you haven't figured it out yet... Susie's heart is as big as the sky. Her love for people and horses and what is right and true is what makes her a woman of tremendous substance. Beyond tremendous.

In a week or so, my Image, this eleven-year old Morgan will arrive in a land not too far away, up in the north country where we say Mais Oui, Oui mon cherie...Je t'aime, mon Image... Je t'aime, Susie.

And I know you all love her, too. And if you don't, you will. Trust me, you will.