One of my favorite parts of writing a historical is the research. I can easily get lost in it (which can sometimes be a problem when I’m supposed to be productive). Most recently my wandering has taken me to the workings of a western essential: the livery stable. Why, you ask? My next release, Copper, is book three in my Heart of a Miner series set in the ghost town of Silver City, Idaho, where the main character, Mac Walley, is the owner of the town livery.
Most of us probably know that a livery stable was a place where one could find horses,
wagons, and other means of conveyance for rent, as well as board a horse short-term. Mac would be tasked with providing shelter, water, feeding twice a day, mucking stalls, and even turning a horse out for exercise. Mr. Walley, however, has his eye set on breeding a very special type of horse, one that you may have heard of or even recognize: The Appaloosa.
This unique spotted horse has a distinct heritage, as its ancestors were highly coveted, versatile intelligent, hardy, and courageous. Carefully bred by the Nez Perce tribe in Idaho’s Kamiah Valley, these horses gained the attention of attentive cowboys and breeders in 1877 during the flight of the Nez Perce. Led by Chief Joseph, the tribe gathered 2,000 of their prized horses and fled 1,500 miles northeast over rough, unfamiliar terrain without rest, the horses surviving solely on forage.
Despite the impressive feat, the herd’s numbers declined until only a few hundred remained. Efforts to save the faithful, reliable horses resulted in today’s Appaloosa, well-favored for their spotted coats and easy-going dispositions. The breed has its place in the American West even still, making excellent working ranch and cattle horses, pleasure and family mounts, and even sport and racing horses. The Appaloosa has become one of America’s best-loved breeds and has truly endured the test of time.
Mac Walley, recognizing their strength and beauty, can hardly pass up the chance to buy a pair when they turn up at his livery – but they don’t stick around for long. You’ll have to read the story to see what happens to his cherished horses, and whether his bride-of-convenience, Joan, can help him get them back!
Copper is scheduled to release later this month (March 26), and in celebration of its release, I’d like to send a paperback of the book to one winner here today (Giveaway guidelines apply). To enter the giveaway, tell me about your favorite horse breed or a characteristic you admire.
You can pick it up on pre-order here, and it’ll also be available with the rest of the series on kindle unlimited.
Krystal’s website/newsletter sign-up: https://www.krystalmanderson.com/