NO SECRET SO CLOSE excerpt #4, by Claire Dorotik

NO SECRET SO CLOSE is the story of a the most unthinkable betrayal humanly possible — at only 24 years old, Claire Dorotik’s father has been murdered, her mother arrested, and now, in a sinister twist of fate, Claire’s mother points the finger at Claire, accusing her of killing her own father. Battling the feelings of loss, abandonment, terror, and dissociation, and also learning about them, Claire struggles to stay in her master’s program for psychotherapy. However, when Claire’s brothers also betray her and side with her mother, Claire is left all alone to care for the 18 horses she and her mother owned. As the story unfolds, what is revealed is the horses’ amazing capacity for empathy in the face of human trauma, and the almost psychic ability to provide the author with what had been taken from her. Arising from these horrifying circumstances, the most unthinkable heroes — the horses — show Claire that life is still worth living.

Excerpt #4 from NO SECRET SO CLOSE:

But then I did finally get a call from a trainer interested in Cat. Not the one I want to sell. Not my Cat. But I had to show her the horse. The horses needed feed, and there was no more money for the attorney. Kerry, the same attorney that had accused me. Kerry, the same attorney that had publicly defamed me. But pay him anyway — he’s defending your mom. After all, she didn’t have any other source of income, and Cat was half hers. But, he was, by far, my best horse. He’d been such a solid performer — always there when I needed him.

Even the first day I showed him in the high modified jumper division, which is 4’6,” and arrived too late to walk the course. As we turned to approach the combination jump, that I thought was a vertical to a vertical, I discovered about four strides out, that it was actually a square oxer to a square oxer — 4’6” high and 4’6” wide. Yet, I was riding slowly and carefully, preparing Cat for a vertical to vertical combination. Now we didn’t have near the speed or power we needed to make the spread of the oxers — and only four strides to go. I had no choice but to did my heels in, hold my whip out to the side where Cat could see it, and ask him to give me all he could. But we swam through the first oxer — too high and too slow in the air — and knocked down the back rail. I fully expected Cat to stop at the second. He should stop, there’s no way we can make it out. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he did. And I took my leg off, in case he wanted to. But when he landed from the first oxer, he dug in with everything he had, pulling me forward, took the one stride, and jumped the second oxer cleanly. I still have no idea how he did it. Most horses would have stopped. But it was like he knew he needed to pull it together, because I’d made a mistake. And for the rest of the course, he pulled forward even more, as if to say, If you want to jump this big, you better have some determination. But that was Cat, he just took care of his rider, no matter what. And now more than anything, I wanted someone to see that in him.

Claire Dorotik, M.A. is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in trauma, weight loss, eating disorders, addictions, and dual diagnosis. Claire utilizes equine facilitated psychotherapy from a psychoanalytic perspective to offer clients a unique method to understand themselves. Claire has written extensively on the topics of the psychology of weight loss, food and substance addictions, trauma, and equine therapy.  Her first three books, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE: Harnessing the healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond, NO SECRET SO CLOSE: A True Story of a Father’s Murder, A Mother’s Betrayal, A Family Torn Apart, and The Horses That Turned It All Around, and ALL KIDS ARE BORN THIN: A Parent’s Guide To Understanding and Preventing Childhood Obesity, are now available on Amazon Kindle.  Further information on Claire, or her upcoming books, can be found at

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