Leann Harris – Equine Therapy

I want to thank Tracy for inviting me to blog.  My latest book, Second Chance Ranch, is about equine therapy and how it changed the lives of both the hero and heroine.  I read in our local paper a human interest story about an Iraqi veteran who lost his leg in a road side bomb and how equine therapy is used to help veterans.  The instant I read that article, it called to me.  I knew I had to do a story about it and thus was born my book.

I normally write suspense (12 books), but this time the story turned into a romance.  Well, I didn’t that stop me, so I started on my journey.  I read everything I could get my hands on concerning veterans and equine therapy. I ran across several articles in NARAH Strides about how horses are used to help people who’ve lost their limbs regain their balance and rebuild the muscles used in walking.  http://narha.org/resources-education/resources/narha-horses-for-heroes  I discovered a new world of the benefits of horses and what wonders they work.  Children with physical problems can use this therapy, emotionally troubled youths benefit from the responsibility of caring for a horse.  I went out to my local equine therapy ranch and spent the day with them, seeing how the therapist works with smaller children.

I also went down to Shiner’s hospital and talked to the head of the prosthetics department.   We spent time going through the department and he explained how to fit an artificial limb and the process the patient goes through.

Now, I have the background, but who are my hero and heroine?  That’s the exciting part of writing.  Finding your hero and heroine and discovering who they are.  I am a westerner and any story I do is set in the mountain west—Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana (it sneaked in).  My hero, Zach, was raised on a ranch in New Mexico and rodeo all his life.  When he loses his right leg below the knee, he doesn’t know how to deal with his life.  And my heroine is an army medic, but also a horse person and ridden all of her life.

As I was researching this story, I talked to a friend who grew up in West Texas and always had horses.  She tells me of her mare who when she sees my friend trots across the pasture and follows my friend around like a big puppy.  Who knew?   When I got to know my horses, Prince Charming, a big black gelding, and Brownie, a little mare who the children ride, they were full blown characters.  I could say that Charming is a wonderful counselor and helped both my hero and heroine work out some thorny problems.  My characters blogged this last month and will probably continue to blog for probably another month.  Kind of the story behind the story.  It’s the characters view of what happened.  I’m tempted to do the horses’ view. I hope if you’re interested you visit my websites, www.leannharris.com and www.barbharrison.com

I also just got good news.  Zach McClure has a brother and sister.  I’m going to get to do those stories, too.  Thanks for having me.

Readers, in honor of her visit, Leann is giving away one copy of SECOND CHANCE RANCH. Just join the conversation with Leann to be entered in the drawing–and be sure we have your email address with your comment.

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20 thoughts on “Leann Harris – Equine Therapy”

  1. “I’m tempted to do the horses’ view.” LOL. Now THAT would be interesting reading!
    “When I got to know my horses, … they were full blown characters.” That’s a nice way to put it.
    I am looking forward to reading all of their stories. Thanks for sharing!
    seytype at hotmail dot com

  2. Hi Leann! This story wounds awesome and I can’t wait to read it. My husband and I live next to a farm for retired racehorses. I’ve never had much experience with horses (my brother is the cowboy), so getting to know these animals has been fascinating. They really do have personalities!

  3. Hi Leann, thanks for coming to the junction today and sharing your research with us. I have never been around horses much but have always loved them. I can see how they would become attached to you. Can’t wait to read your books.

  4. Good Morning Leann,

    That is an amazing story. It opens up the heart for we do not think about if we had a missing limb. Thank you for doing such a wonderful thing.
    I must get my hands on your book, all of them.

    The cover of “Second Chance Ranch” is so beautiful. I love horses and they do help the injured.

    Here is my email just in case I were to win

    Again thank you for such a wonderful and endearing post

    Walk in harmony,

  5. Thanks, ladies, for the warm welcome. I am so excited to be here. As I researched for my book, I was amazed at how wonderful horses are, and the amazing things they can do for humans.

    I am also grateful to our men and women in the military who serve.

  6. Animals are so special… it is amazing how much they help people heart and soul. Your book sounds like a wonderful wonderful read, thank you for sharing your post with us today!

  7. Hi Barbara aka Leann! Welcome to the Junction. We’re so happy to have you here. Hope you enjoy it so much that you want to come back. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you for quite a while and am glad to be able to reconnect. You have amazing talent, no matter what genre you write. Congratulations on the new contract for other books in this series!

    I’m sure watching those wounded veterans with the horses puts a lump in your throat. It would me. They deserve every bit of TLC they can get. I’m glad you were able to write a story about them. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

  8. Loved your post, Leann. I grew up riding horses in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. We had such rich experiences, and as you say, each had a distinct personality. We still talk about Sammy, who had the hardest head! He’d head for the barn and NOBODY could stop him. Otherwise, he was a great kid horse. Three-wheelers have replaced horses in the Sandhills! Who knew?

  9. Lovely post! Animals and especially horses can do a lot for a wounded/sick person. I’ve seen it myself with mentally and physically disabled children who were working together with German shepherd dogs, and their abilities to do small things improved so much by this!
    Good luck with your latest book!

  10. This sounds like such a good one, I love books where animals play a pivotal role, they bring such a wealth of emotion, without having to say a word.

  11. Horses are wonderful people. I have been around horses and mules all my adult life. North of where I live is a horse therapy ranch. They cater to children and adults, both. And also if you just want to learn to ride. Our County and the neighboring County have a Wounded Warrior program for Veterans–summer sports and skiing. Animals are wonderful for healing. They don’t talk back and love you no matter what.
    These are great programs. Thanks for sharing.

  12. What a fantastic topic, Leann, and timely for me as I want a therapeutic riding theme in my current wip. Thanks for the great info. AND i SO ECHO mARY J…AINMALS ARE WONDERFUL DON’T TALK BACK AND LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT. Welcome to Wildflower Junction today! This sounds like an absolutely awesome read.

  13. Leann – I always enjoy your books and this one sounds absolutely wonderful! Can’t wait to get my hands on it. And it’s so cool that you have the go ahead to do more books in this series. Congrats!

  14. What a beautifuly inspiring post. I have seen first hand what an animal friend can dd.
    Looking forward to reading your book!

  15. Hi Leann and WELCOME! So glad you joined us. I know how close this subject is to your heart. I thoroughly enjoyed Second Chance Ranch. And horses can be as protective as a guard dog, as a friend discovered.

    Congrats on SECOND CHANCE RANCH!

  16. Thanks for visiting today, Leann. This story
    sounds just wonderful and I look forward to
    reading it!

    Pat Cochran

  17. I laughed when Audrey said her horse, once he decided it was time to go to the barn, no one could stop him. I really got to know my horses. Prince Charming, or Charmin’, was a great counselor. He did more listening and helping both hero and heroine work out their problems.

    I’m writing Zach’s, my hero’s, sister story now and the ranch got a new horse, Dusty. I haven’t got to know him yet, but I will.

  18. We have two equine therapy centers here in NE TN and SW VA. The deal with the mentally, emotionally, and physically disabled. The programs have been in existance for many years and are quite successful.
    Sounds like this will be a good book and series. Good luck with the release of SECOND CHANCE RANCH.

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