Hello again, and my thanks to all the fine authors at Petticoats & Pistols for inviting me to visit today and pimp my latest release, WHERE THE HORSES RUN.
In part, I dedicated this book to my husband’s and my two mares—Missouri/American Forxtrotters and full-blooded sisters. They were often cranky, contentious, and hardheaded—in kindness, we said they had well-defined personalities and strong awareness of self. But they were also kind-hearted, mostly cooperative, sure-footed, beautifully gaited, and loved chasing cows across this beautiful country. Knowing them greatly enriched our lives (and diminished our bank account), while giving us wonderful memories. We miss them still.
So I decided to write a book about a horse, (plus all that romancy stuff, too). Despite being a western historical, and the fifth Heartbreak Creek book, WHERE THE HORSES RUN is mostly set in England. Where else would an ex-Texas lawman go to purchase English Thoroughbreds and Hanoverian warmbloods? But in addition to securing excellent breeding stock, Rafe Jessup also found a traumatized horse and a woman desperate to make him well.
Pembroke’s Pride is a Thoroughbred stallion who was injured in the Grand National Hunt (steeplechase) Race in England in 1870. Pems is fictional—the race isn’t. The obstacles I’ve described in the book are true to the course, including the most dangerous of the thirty jumps. Although the hedge at Beecher’s Brook is only five feet high, the landing is lower than the take-off side, which confuses many horses. In addition, on the other side of the hedge and hidden in the approach is the brook—not particularly wide or deep, but with a horse’s limited straight-down vision, it can be a real shocker. Many horses and riders have been injured at this jump, several fatally. In my story, just as Pems pushes off, another horse bumps him and sends him into the brook. Several horses pile on top of him, penning him under the water. Although he heals from his physical injuries, he is terrified of water thereafter.
Sound farfetched? It isn’t.
We had a horse that wouldn’t cross water. Not because of an injury, but because he was a nitwit. Or maybe a liar. The water in his trough didn’t scare him at all, and in fact, he dearly loved to play in it, drenching himself and anyone in the vicinity. He eventually learned to cross water. And we learned that you can lead a horse to water, but you sure as hell can’t make him cross it if he doesn’t want to. Instead, you have to break through that fear, convince him to put aside his instincts, and trust you enough to do what you ask. If you can reach him, you can teach him. This takes a lot of time and patience and hard work. Luckily, I had just the right guy to help Pems.
Do you have horses? Are you afraid of them? Do you still nurture a childhood dream of having a horse of your own? Share your thoughts, and you’re in the hat for one of two copies of WHERE THE HORSES RUN that I’ll be giving away to two commenters. Good luck! And thanks for chatting with me today.
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