“Epiphanies are about transformation. You do it through a leap of the heart. And the next thing you know – physically, emotionally, or mentally – you’re living a different story.”

Rupert Isaacson is an author and activist born in London to a South African mother and a Zimbabwean father. He is the founding director of the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps displaced indigenous tribes obtain tenure of their ancestral land, and of the Horse Boy Foundation, which provides the opportunity for children to work with horses and nature. The Healing Land, Isaacson’s first book, was a 2004 New York Times Notable Book. His work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Esquire, National Geographic, Independent on Sunday, Condé Nast Traveler, Daily Mail, and Field. He lives in Elgin, Texas, just outside of Austin, with his wife, Kristin, and their son, Rowan. In the summer of 2007, Rupert and his family went to Mongolia, where they journeyed on horseback from shaman to shaman searching for a way to heal their son. The story of this incredible journey is told in Isaacson’s bestselling book The Horse Boy, which has also been captured in a documentary film by the same title. (

The Interview

In early 2007, a mutual friend of Rupert’s and mine asked me to check out a trailer on YouTube for an independent film. I finally watched it a few days later and was mesmerized. It was the original Horse Boy movie trailer. Rupert did the voice-over, but you could never really see his face, only his hair. Several weeks later I was driving down South Congress Avenue during South by Southwest, Austin’s music and film festival, when in my peripheral vision I saw a man on a horse, riding down the avenue. Once I passed him I realized, “Wait, that man had longish blond hair and was on a horse . . .” I pulled over, turned around, and screamed out my window at him, “Are you the Horse Boy guy?!” And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I interviewed him and his wife, Kristin, and had the pleasure of meeting and holding a conversation—several, in fact—with the Horse Boy himself, his son, Rowan, at their enchanting place in Elgin, Texas.

In the first video, Rupert’s talks about the epiphany that led to his severely autistic son’s remarkable advancements, completely transforming his and his family’s life. The video below is an excerpt from the interview about The Horse Boy Foundation that he and his wife, Kristin Neff (also a contributor to Epiphany), created to help other families and children with autism.

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