Rupert is the creative force behind Horse Boy, Rowan is his mentor, teacher and muse. Together all aspects of Horse Boy begin and from there the wider team helps to develop each aspect.
Rupert Isaacson was born in 1967 in London to a South African mother and Zimbabwean father, and grew up half in London, half on a remote horse farm in the British countryside and also with Africa looming large in his life. Coming from a family of pioneers and adventurers – Russian Jews who went to Africa on his father’s side, British, Dutch and mixed race settlers on his mother’s side – Rupert’s grandparents were journalists, war correspondents, cattle ranchers and artists. His father is an architect and his mother a sculptor.
So making your own destiny is something he grew up with. A journalist for the British and American press from the early 1990s (Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday, Esquire, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller – among others), he has also published several guidebooks to Africa and India, and is he author of three non-fictional memoirs: The Healing Land (a New York Times Notable Book), which tells the story of his family in Africa, and of his own time spent living with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert; The Horse Boy (a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller), which tells the story of his journey across Mongolia on horseback with his autistic son Rowan; and The Long Ride Home, which tells of the three subsequent healing journeys he and his son made to Africa, Australia and the Navajo Reservation, as well as his discovery of how horses can help autism and special needs in general.
Rupert also runs the Horse Boy Foundation, from his New Trails ranch near Austin, Texas, which offers services to autism families, and helps direct several satellite centers offering similar services in North America and Europe.
In partnership with Iliane Lorenz he also teaches Horse Boy Method, Horse Boy Learning (a homeschool technique aimed at autism, ADD and ADHD families among others), and other kinetic learning techniques, along with Stress Free Dressage, a way of introducing riders to the higher levels of equitation without being screamed at(!).
A succesful documentary filmmaker – The Horse Boy and Endangerous – and write and conceiver of reality TV shows (The Quest – which aired on ABC in 2014 – was his original concept and he helped produce the show), and in addition his mainstream Hollywood projects include The Horse Boy feature film and The Goth Lords.
A career in human rights runs parallel to all this. In 2004 he founded the Indigenous Land Rights Fund, which helps hunting and gathering tribes gain legal title to their ancestral land and which helped the Bushmen of Botswana win the largest land claim in African history in 2006 – as a result of which he is now banned from Botswana (!).
Finally there is his first love – horses both cross country riding, and classical dressage (he works closely with the Valenca Family in Portugal and studies with Christian Bachinger of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna). A small time breeder of Lusitano horses, Rupert relaxes by reading historical novels, planting trees and drinking beer, especially IPAs. He quite likes wine too. And food.