A HORSE IS A HORSE, OF COURSE, OF COURSE …

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UNLESS THE HORSE IS THE FAMOUS MR. ED!

images-mr-ed.jpgDo you remember the television show about the talking horse, Mr Ed?   The beautiful palomino caused nothing but trouble for Los Angeles architect Wilbur Post as poor old Wilbur tried to conceal the horse’s talking talent from his wife, Carol and the rest of the world.  Snarky Mr. Ed would only converse with Wilbur, someone he believed to be of equal intelligence! This show ran for 144 episodes and spurred the creation of other “thinking out of the box” TV shows, like My Favorite Martian, Bewitched and  I Dream of Jeannie.

images-mr-ed-2.jpgHorses have always fascinated me.  As a young girl born in New York City, I certainly never saw a real horse until we moved to California.  I had visions of ranches and stables and old west towns, but the suburbs we moved to lent little to my dream of forging into the Wild West and one day owning a horse.   Now, I guess I live vicariously through my westerns, often giving my horses a personality of their own.   Certainly the hero and/or heroine’s relationship to their horse has always been prevalant in my stories.

Descriptions of horses sometimes aren’t clear, so I’m putting a face (and body) to their markings and colors.

Thanks to The Book of Horses and Horse Care, by Judith Draper, here’s a look at markings.

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A horse’s colors are also hard to define:

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Sorrel – a light red chestnut

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Grey – A mixture of black and white hairs throughout. The coat varies from light to very dark.

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Roan -A body with white hairs interspersed which lightens the overall effect.

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Piebald – large irregular patches of black and white / Skewbald – large irregular patches of any other color but black and white.

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Bay – Reddish coat with black mane, tail and points.  The color may vary from red to brown to yellow.

Other colors include liver chestnut, dun, dappled gray , spotted, cream and many more. 

In Taming the Texan, my very alpha hero has one weak spot — horses.  He’s a horse-whisperer per se and we only see his softer side when he works with the spirited animals. Clint’s passion for one wild stunning palomino was an ongoing theme in the story.   A man and his horse has forged its way into many a western. 

Aren’t horses the most glorious animals?   Do you love horses?  Have you ridden?  Or if you’re a city girl, do you like reading stories that incorporate man/woman/and horse?   What’s your favorite horse story?   Tell me true.  I’ll be sending a signed copy of my brand new release, Taming the Texan to one lucky winner. 

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Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling Author of 35 novels, writing both western and contemporary romance. She's a lover of all things romantic, especially her bold, rugged, heartstopping "real good men" heroes! She's the recepient of the National Readers' Choice Award, the Bookseller's Best Award and the Cataromance Reviwer's Choice Award. When not writing, she spends time with her "hero" husband, enjoying Pacific Beaches and drinking iced mocha cappucinos!

Charlene loves to hear from her readers.
Drop her a line at www.charlenesands.com or write her at PO. Box 4883, West Hills, CA 91308
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60 thoughts on “A HORSE IS A HORSE, OF COURSE, OF COURSE …”

  1. Good Morning.

    I have always loved horses. But I must confess I am scared of them. I really loved the new Flica movie with Tim McGraw. I usually stay away from animal movies. I cry real easy when it comes to animals. I can just hear the theme music to Lassie and I cry.

    The guys on Bonanza had beautiful horses.
    Well, off to work. I’ll caught up about 5 or 6 this afternoon.

    Have a great day

  2. I just thought of a movie, It isn’t a horse but let’s not forget Francis the Talking Mule. Those movies were funny. Now that I think of them, I may have to look those up to watch again.

  3. I love horses. As I’ve probably mentioned before in another comment, my grandfather had mules and ponies, but my favorite was the one horse he had, who I named Midnight Lady.

    She was black, but for a few markings on her face that I guess would be considered an interrupted stripe. I loved her so much and every Saturday when we went down to my grandparents(we lived in the suburbs) I would go down and curry, feed, ride her and talk to her about what was on my mind. My heart broke when she had to be sold.

    I haven’t gotten to spend much time around horses since. Our neighbors down the road have property that butts up to the back of ours and they have 6 horses. When I’m out in the yard, I’ll wander down and simply watch them if they’re close enough. It fills me with nostalgia for bygone days and I have to fight the temptation to go over the fence and hop on one. LOL

    I used to stay up and watch Mr. Ed on Nick @ Nite years ago when they used to show it. So funny! I love Dreamer and Flicka(BAWL LIKE A BABY).

    (check me off the drawing, since I received a copy of TTT a little while back from you. ;o) Thanks!)

  4. I have always been so fascinated with horses..but I am a “city girl” per se and have not had much opportunity to ride! I have ridden a few times..only very slowly (and boy did my back side hurt afterwards LOL) I think that horses are some of the most beautiful creatures that roam the earth and the only thing better than a horse is a horse with a good looking cowboy astride 😉

    I think books with strong, hard, masculine characters that have an underlying softness for their horse(s) makes an excellent read!! Some of my most favorite novels have this going on in them!

    I cant wait to read your new book!

  5. Horses are so beautiful! And I do enjoy reading stories about how compassionate a man is for his horse. It is sometimes in a book the first time a reader can get a glimpse of his “softer” side.

    The only time I have ridden a horse was at camp (many years ago 🙂 and I was having a great time! All of us were riding up a big hill when all of a sudden my horse decided to go in reverse! And was not listening to me to go forward!! LOL There were other riders behind me and they were not too impressed with my riding skills lol lol 🙂

    Clint sounds like a great character to read about!!

  6. What a wonderful topic for discussion I Had 3 growing up and when i look back those were my best memories. I had a blue eyed Palimino her name was Gypsie sometimes i would sneak out of the house at night and sllep in her stall with her. She was honestly my best friend I use to ride her alot at night during the summer so she wouldn’t get so hot. I can’t believe i use to do that seems like I would’ve been scared but i wasn’t afraid of nothing with her she use to play a game with me. In the summer i’d layout on the lounge chair in her pasture to get a tan and she’d run up and jump over me at first i was terrified but i guess that was part of the game. Horses are so intellegent and people just don’t realize how smart they really are, if i’d never had one i could never appreciate the bond you can have with such a powerful animal. One of the most sadest books i read was “Chosen by a Horse” i give it to my mother in law i told her i would never want to re-read it, very sad. I’m going on a field trip with our school soon to Shackleford Banks where the wild horses live I’m so excited it would be the ultimate for me to be able to see these beautiful creatures in their enviroment i’ll be taking my camera just in case.

  7. Hi Charlene:
    I love horses and would ride as often as I could when I was a kid. I think they’re wonderful, majestic animals and I love to watch them run wild. (In this month’s Cowboys and Indians magazine they had wonderful pictures of the wild mustangs in Utah.) I think for many fictional characters, their treatment of animals defines who they are as people and I love how real Western heroes would be so respectful of their horses (I’m thinking of some of the heroes in Georgina Gentry’s books as I just finished reading To Wed a Texan.) Thanks for an informative post. Have a great weekend.

  8. Great post, Charlene–it clears up a lot of confusion. As a small town girl, I always wanted a horse. We even had a pasture, but my folks weren’t interested. They were teachers. We had a chihuahua, that was enough.
    I’ve ridden just enough to bounce a lot and get sore. This spring I’m trying to talk myself into a couple of riding lessons, just to feel competent in the saddle. (I’ll probably break my fool neck). 🙂

  9. I grew up with horses.
    My big sister and my BFF, Joani’s big sister were the horse women. We weren’t that enthralled, but we rode a lot.

    I broke my arm falling off a horse when I was about five, I think that cooled me off some to the thrill.

    Our horse was a welsh named Sparky.
    Joani’s family had Susie and Sandy and… oh, I can’t believe this, I can’t remember the other horse’s name. Susie had a baby and it almost seems like they named it Flicka, but who knows? We weren’t allowed to touch Susie’s baby, she was very spirited.

    Where as Susie, Sandy and Sparky were exhausted and calm and OLD.

    Then we had horses when my daughters were little.

    Here’s something that I found really interesting, my husband figured this out, if he went for a horse ride (we had two horses) with one of the girls, they’d talk and talk and talk.

    He loved it. He said it was the best one on one time he ever got with the girls. So he’d try and get a ride in with one of them every week.

    My daughter Wendy was the one who was wild for horses. She and Ivan would just ride along the country roads and he’d learn all about her life, thanks to a horse. 🙂

    AND, Wendy (she reads this blog sometimes and comments on my posts) ended up on the Equestrian team in college. She really got good and she still loves horses.

  10. I’m a country girl and I do LOVE horses! I’ve owned 3 or 4 in my life and ridden off and on since before I could walk.

    I traipsed the race tracks as a teen and even rode race and show horses, but only for fun. Those I owned weren’t “show” quality but we sure had a lot of fun.

    Although I love all horses, I really think Arabians are some of the most magnificent and those Lippizan Stallions — do they even have those travelling horse shows anymore?

    Love this discussion!

  11. Hi Sherry – I remember Francis the Talking Mule! Was that Donald O’Connor in those movies? Gosh, I hadn’t thought about those movies in years. I’ll have to look them up and see who came first, the talking mule or the talking horse. I thought Flicka was a great movie, good acting (Tim McGraw fan here) and the horse was beautiful.

    I think Little Joe’s horse was a Paint (piebald in color). That was my favorite horse on the show.

  12. I am actually terrified of horses. I just haven’t been around them much, which is funny since I have lived in places where most of my friends had farms. My best friend trained horses and made me go in there corral once. It really wasn’t to bad and I did kinda fall in love with them. They were yearlings and just what to be scratched. I have also rode a horse so I’m not really sure where to fear comes from. My kids got to ride the horse from the movie Man from snowy river and the horse was also the Marlboro man horse. She is very old and very sweet. I never knew horses could live that long. I think if I was around them more I wouldn’t be so scared. They really are beautiful animals. They have so much personality.

  13. Oh Taryn – your story brought tears to my eyes. It’s hard when an animal is separated from it’s loved one the way you were with Midnight Lady.

    I recently saw a video clip of two men who raised a baby lion, but had to give it up to a wild life sanctuary when it got older. They sent it to Africa, and a year later when they decided to visit, they were told it wouldn’t remember them. Well, the fully grown immense lion came running toward them and jumped on them, licking and playing, hugging and embracing the two men (on hind legs). I watched it three times and cried each time.
    Oh and it wasn’t until I became a writer that I found out that a pony isn’t a young horse. Ponies are breeds of their own. I even had a copyeditor try to change that in my story when a little girl asked for a pony. I told the editor, that little girls and most adults, think of ponies as being young horses, so to say the little girl asked for a “younger horse” wouldn’t work. I think we compromised on filly or colt. I can’t recall. 🙂

  14. Melissa D – I never did get my own horse, but I did take riding lessons as a child. I REMEMBER the sore tush after getting off the horse. I guess regular riders get used to it and toughen up, just like any other form of exercise. In my childbirth class, one of my students owns horses and she has incredibly strong legs. So much so, she weakens her husband when they work on exercises together. She told me her thighs are super strong from steering her horse with her legs! A nice bit of research I stumbled upon.

    I agree – horses are majestic animals especially with a hunky cowboy sitting astride!

  15. Hi Kathleen – Too funny about the horse that went in reverse! Sometimes, I think they rebel against being ridden by inexperienced riders. They must know … and decide who’s boss and it’s not the young rider! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Hi Lorie – I can just picture you sneaking out of your house to sleep in Gypsie’s stall and taking her out for those midnight rides. I think horses are extremely intelligent too. I often write about them, even in my contemporary stories – because I beleive them to be regal and spiritual animals.

    I have to say I envy all of you who had a horse while growing up. It was my dream, thus my parents agreed to very expensive riding lessons. But I only did that for a short time in my life. My parents really couldn’t afford it much less buy me a horse. We didn’t live on horse property anyway, and it was a small fortune to board a horse somewhere.

  17. Hi Zaharoula – I’m going to look for that Cowboys and Indians magazine this month. It would be a real treat for me to see wild running horses in real life. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Hi Elizabeth – Yep, I’ve bounced and gotten sore too when I was younger. I’ve often thought of taking riding lessons again. I think you should definitely go for it!!

  19. Hi Mary – I can see why breaking an arm at the age of five would cool off your passion for riding. How did that happen? Did the horse run off and throw you?

    How neat to have a daughter on the equestrian team in college! You must be so proud of that. How touching about your husband’s one on one time with your daughters. I imagine that bond they shared will make for some wonderful memories for all of them.

  20. Hi Pamela – I’m amazed at how many of you have owned horses! And even if you weren’t professional, how neat that you rode in races and shows. My cousin who lives on a large property and boards horses, owns a few Arabians. They are glorious animals. He actually “rescued” one from Wayne Newton’s Ranch. The singer had too many and needed a good home and my cousin got him.

    I would imagine you are a talented rider!

  21. When i was growing up my dad used to show horses and I had one as a pet all the way up until I got married then she met her end. I love paints and appalousa’s (may have spelled that wrong) but my favorite horse is one that is free..free to run wild and has an uncatchable spirit. If I were to ever be reincarnated..that is what I would be, a free wild mustang!
    Great blog by the way sweetie! Hugs, Crystal

  22. Hi Rebekah – Who really knows where are fears come from? I’ll tell you one thing, I stood next to a Budweiser Clydesdale one time and looked up and kept looking up. That horse was immense and probably stood eight foot tall. I found myself backing away from him. One little misstep and he could’ve crushed me. But oh, he was gorgeous. And probably very calm and tame, but his size alone intimidated me.

    How great that your kids got to ride a famous horse! That’s a memory that won’t forget. Thanks for posting today!

  23. Hi Crystal – I’m glad you liked my post. I DO love horses and I love learning about them. There’s so much to know. Must have been hard to lose a horse you’d grown up with. Did you go with your dad to those horse shows?

  24. Charlene, I fit in the citified girl category. I’ve never owned a horse and only have ridden a time or two way back yonder. I’ve always wanted one. I love watching them and seeing how they react to things. I don’t think any western would be complete without the relationship between hero/heroine and horse. They usually form such a strong bond. Horses add so much to a story or movie. I wish I knew more about horses so I could write more convincingly. Reading just isn’t the same. I think it needs hands-on research. lol Now, where do I go to learn to ride?

    Excellent subject! I wish you tons of success with your new book. I know it’ll do good.

  25. I grew up a city girl but was a country girl at heart. I’ve only ridden a horse a few times but loved it! My mom and I both love horses, that’s part of the reason we watch westerns! Mom has a thing for pintos, she loved Little Joe’s horse too and I seem to have a thing for palominos. When I was a kid Mom said I could get something with some of her S&H green stamps and I got a plastic statue of a palomino. I still had that statue until about two years ago when Mom gave it (with my permission) to a coworker who collects horse stuff.

    I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to see horses all my life. There was a farm on the corner on the way to my elementary school that had horses and we’d sometimes have to run because we’d be petting the horses over the fence when the first bell rang. My hometown is in horse country, I go right by a horse farm on the way into town to visit Mom. Someone also owns a bunch of ponies on that same road and I’ve seen them out with carts, training them. They still have harness racing at the fairgrounds and I always hit the horse barn during the fair over the 4th of July. Even my dog is fascinated with horses, he ignores Cows and pigs but tell him there’s a horse and he sits up and stares. I have no idea what he’d do if he actually got face to face with a horse, probably come hide behind me like a little kid because he’s a bit of a pansy.

  26. Great post. I learned a lot. I think horses are beautiful. I have never ridden but my husband likes too. My favorite horse story is Black Beauty.

  27. Hi Linda,
    If you ever get a chance, you should get acquainted with riding. Even though I don’t own a horse, my cousin is an expert. They board 12 horses, and I’ve learned so much about them from feeding them and seeing how much work they are. Truly, if not in the wild, these horses require so much time for grooming and feeding and exercise.
    The last time we were in Arizona we “rented” horses and went on a guided tour in the canyon. But I’ll tell you , I’ve also learned a lot from chat rooms with rodeo riders, if you can believe. They are passionate about the subject and have been very generous in giving me some first hand knowledge and also have pointed out my errors!

    Thanks for posting today!

  28. Oh, every summer I go visit the Budweiser Clydesdales who come to our county fair. They are glorious! And I admire anybody who can ride…haven’t sat on a horse since city-girl riding at Girl Scout camp last century. Each new year, I resolve to learn how to ride. A resolution I never keep along with losing weight. I am also fond of donkeys, IMO a most underrated critter, smart and sure-footed but deemed stubborn because of it…and I support three “adopted” abused donkeys at a sanctuary in Israel.

  29. I didn’t even know there WERE Equestrian Teams until Wendy joined one. And there was a western one and an English one. Wendy was western. She really looked great in her hat and chaps and huge belt buckle.

    Did a lot of traveling with the team, too. So horses helped her see the world (well, more of the mid-west anyway)

    One of the things I do on my books, while they’re in progress, is make a note at the top of the document saying (example)
    Red rides a buckskin gelding named Buck
    Wade rides a chestnut gelding
    Abby’s horse is a pinto mare.
    Tom’s horse is a huge, dangerous, highly admired black stallion.

    Because what they’re riding is important for continuity and it’s one of those things I tend to forget because it’s not mentioned that often. Although that stallion of Tom’s because a character that I didn’t forget. And Red’s buckskin actually had a fairly developed ‘character’ role.

  30. Hi Lynn/Elsandra – I had lots of plastic horses too and a few statues made of fake bronze. I’m sure I still have them somewhere. You’re lucky your mom loved horses too. My mother shied away from all animals and it took her a long while to warm up to our beloved dog, Charger!

  31. I have ridden a horse once and sat in a sleigh… And one of our neigbours used to have a Finnish work horse while everyone else around here had a tractor.
    I love all kinds horse stories, although right now I can only remember Jolly Jumper from the comic series Lucky Luke.

  32. Mary – You are so smart to list who rides what horse. Often times, I forget and have to go back through my story to remind myself of the name, kind, color and personality. I’m going to be better about making lists.
    When I took riding lessons I got talked into learning English, but I really wanted to ride Western. I was just a kid, I guess I didn’t have much say so. Still, I’m impressed that Wendy enjoyed the team and traveled to places she may not have ever seen otherwise. What a great experience!

  33. Hi Crystal B — I read and reread Black Beauty many times in my youth! At the time, we had Fury on television who was also a black stallion I was enthralled with all of it!

  34. I’ve always loved horses – such glorious animals! I remember them especially from watching Westerns back in the 50s with my dad.

  35. Hi Tanya — We should plan to take riding lessons together. Twould be fun, don’t you think? I know how fond you are of donkeys. They are such sweet animals. Oops, I wanted to say such sweet
    ani-mules, but refrained. Or did I? 🙂
    Thanks for stopping by today!

  36. Hi, Charlene,
    I’m definitely a city girl, but have always enjoyed reading about horses. Thanks for the cool post today–I learned a lot! I finally rode a horse (briefly!) for the first time just last month–I can totally see how people love it and love forming a relationship with one horse! They truly are magnificent animals!

  37. Oh my YES, I’m a Nebraskan, and my Mom’s entire side of the family had horses. My uncle still does and really has an incredible touch when it comes to them. He gets a lot of calls from folks when they need help breaking them. I remember once when myself and my little cousin J.D. were riding, and for whatever reason, the horse that I was on started bucking, well, I couldn’t get the darn thing under control, and flew out of the saddle, about a minute later my uncle comes back up out of the pasture yelling what happened and my little cousin says “Well I tried to catch her Dad, but she went right threw my arms like this.” He had made this big circle with his arms to show how I had gone thru. Looking back now I laugh uproariously, because he was probably 6 and I was probably 14. You bet, went right thru his arms. My hero though tried to catch me. You know I’m not afraid of horses though and right now my uncle has one named Whiskey that he is working with. Big brown and white paint pony that is so friendly. I just love to have him snuffle my neck. *G*
    Yes, I love horses. Wow that was a long answer!!!!
    Amy…LOL

  38. Hi Amy – Don’t worry I enjoyed your long answer. What a cute story about you and your cousin! Does your uncle ride the horses to break them, just like our western heroes from the past?

  39. Cher – The book also shows a horse’s anatomy and points to all their parts (this is really helpful) and explains about almost every breed of horse with beautiful pics. If you ever need anything specific, I can send you the pics you need.

  40. Um, yep… that part was a bit sad–we rode for maybe half an hour tops (it was just a short trail that looped near the ranch) and I was sore for days after. Clearly discovered muscles I don’t typically use!

  41. Charlene,

    Loved the teaser to your blog. Too cute!

    I’m a city girl who’s just a teensy-bit afraid of horses. A girlfriend took me with her to a local stable and gave me a chunk of apple to feed her horse. Just as he opened his big lips to take it, I squeaked in fear and dropped the thing. I was sure he was going to bite my hand.

    sigh . . .

    That said, I love to watch horses run. I love to watch the cowboys who ride them, too.

    And . . . shameless plug coming . . . my upcoming June book, KIDNAPPED BY THE COWBOY, is about a thoroughbred who takes up with a herd of mustangs.

  42. I remember Mr. Ed! He was so funny. My husband does a mean Mr. Ed imitation. I think horses are such beautiful animals but I never had the opportunity to spend much time with them.

  43. Horses are beautiful animals and I love reading about them, but I’m a little afraid of them. I live nearby a stable and I love watching all the small girls (seldom boys)riding, but I’ve never been a horse-girl….

  44. Hi Pam – Well, you’re story reminds me of the first time I fed a horse. But my cousin taught me to keep my hand open wide and let the horse take it. He was amazingly gentle and truly only wanted the food, not my hand. Feeding carrots is easier, just put it into the side of their mouths. 🙂

    Your story sounds great! Where did you get all your research?

  45. Hi Eva – Glad you stopped by today. I think we all agree how beautiful horses are.

    Hi Maureen – Would love to hear you’re hubby’s imitation, but that would be a man doing a horse’s voice, who’s really a man. 🙂

    Hi Fedora – I can sympathize with your sore bottom. It takes a while to adjust and then not walk like you’ve got a saddle between your legs.

  46. oh that’s really interesting. I’ve always loved them to. As a child I entered a naming contest and was so sure I was going to win. Of course I lived in the suburbs so no place to put it lol. I talk over the internet with a girl that does show jumping and she has taught me so much since I knew nothing. But I loved your pics and explanations because some were new to me. thanks.

  47. I grew up with horses. My father logged with a team of horses.
    All I can say is What’s not to love about horses.
    My favorite horse story is My Friend Flicka.

  48. Hi Jeanne – great to see you here. I love learning about horses too – there is so much to know.

    Hi Estella – How fascinating that your father logged with a team of horses. Flicka was a wonderful story. Did you see the remake?

  49. I am most definitely a city girl – born and raised
    in Houston, Texas. Being born in Texas does not
    make one a horse aficionado, so glorious no, love
    no, and ridden no. I do like horses, just not mad
    about them! I’ve always been amazed that those
    slim and slender legs can carry so much weight!!
    I do love reading western novels, is that a point
    in my favor? In fact, westerns were among the first books I read: Lamour and Grey to be specific. John Wayne movies are also big for us!

    Pat Cochran

  50. Hi Patricia – Yes, it counts that you love westerns! That’s why we write them! It’s funny when we hear TEXAS, we automatically think of ranches and cowboys and wild west. But Houston and Dallas are very metropoliton cities. I think Ft.Worth is more rural and rustic. Thanks for posting!

  51. Who doesn’t love horses. We all do they are very beautiful animals. I road some ponys when I was in my young teens, but no horses still love them. I also love to watch movies with horses and love to read books with them.

  52. Well I finally made it. I was curious about the which came first the talking mule or the talking horse.

    Francis the mule was in the 1950’s, Mr. Ed premiered in 1961. Francis the talking mule had 7 movies. How awesome is that.

  53. Sherry- Thanks for checking out Francis the Talking Mule. I didn’t have time … had an tax appt with our accountant, ugh! But I’m surprised to learn that Francis had 7 movies – who knew!
    I think Mr. Ed was on the air for 5 years.

    Pam – Thanks for clearing it up, but it’s still neat that you got to ride one time race and show horses!

  54. My gparents’ IA farm neighbor had horses so I rode a couple of times. When I wanted to feed them an apple, the teen boy said I could approach from the rear/between mare/foal. I knew that wasn’t right but he insisted it was OK. She kicked me in the groin; fortunately she wasn’t shod! But I am not scared of them, just respectful. Black Beauty and National Velvet favorite books; all Zane Grey my 13th summer (learned the word bastard, thought it was calling you a chicken!)
    Thanks for all the info from authors AND readers.

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