Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Horses Sneak In

by Linda Benson

When you're a certified horse nut, horses sneak into everything, don't they? When I was younger, a visitor to my house once remarked that every. single. picture. on my walls had a horse in it. Really? I hadn't noticed. That just seemed normal to me.

When I got interested in Jamberry nails (love them, great for outdoor girls like me) one of the first things I looked for was to see if they had a horse design (they do.)

If I'm looking for anything: books, fabric, furniture, clothes, I will always gravitate toward something with a horse theme.

So it's only natural that as a writer, horses tend to sneak into my stories also, even if it's not a horse story.

Case in point: In my very first Cat Tale, called The Winter Kitten, Brianna moves in with her dad in Portland, Oregon, after leaving the horse farm where she lived with her mom, who has died.

Yes, it's true. Horses are mentioned, or are part of the plot, of several of my Cat Tales (a series about Cats!)

My novel Six Degrees of Lost, a coming of age novel told from two different viewpoints, was just re-released after the original publisher closed its doors earlier this year. It's now available under my own imprint, Seven Trails Press, and it features David and Olive, teenagers from different backgrounds, both searching for their place in life. It's filled with rescue dogs and foster animals, and *cough* even a couple of horses.

In this case, the horses that sneak in are not show horses, or a girl's dream ride. No, they are skinny old rescue horses named Shakespeare and Paintball. Here is the scene where Olive (a city girl, staying temporarily with her aunt) attempts to ride one of them. In Olive's own words:

" I feel like a total idiot, sitting up here on Paintball holding onto the saddle horn while Swede leads me around like a baby. David probably thinks I’m a complete chicken.

Paintball acts antsy, shuffling his feet, which rocks me off balance. “What’s he doing?” I ask. “Is he going to run off?”

“Olive, this horse never even flinched when we saddled him,” says Swede. “He’s so old he couldn’t spook if he tried. Nothing to worry about.”

Paintball begins to dance underneath me and turns in the direction of the barn. He raises his head and lets loose a long neigh and his whole body shakes. “Why did he do that?”

“Oh, he’s just missing the other old codger back there,” says Swede. “I’ve got a firm hold on him. He’s not going anywhere.”

“Can I just get off now?” I feel like a baby the minute I ask, but the horse is making me all jittery and nervous.

“Sure,” Swede says, bringing Paintball to a halt. “Let’s walk him back to the barn where he can see his buddy, and you can get off there.”

My insides turn over. “No, I want to get off now.”

“Okay,” says Swede. “No problem. Whoa there, old Paintball.” He takes a firm grip on the horse. “Now swing your right leg back over the cantle, kick your feet out of the stirrups, and let yourself fall to the ground easy.”

I land with a hard thump and almost fall on my butt. I look around to see if David is watching. He is. My face turns pink and I feel about three years old instead of thirteen.

From the barn behind the house, Shakespeare lets out a long plaintive neigh of his own, and Paintball whinnies back. “Whoa there, you old crowbait,” says Swede. He jerks on Paintball’s halter a few times as he walks him back toward the barn. “Behave now.”

“Maybe it’s a good thing you got off when you did,” David says.

“I don’t really know how to ride,” I mumble. I barely know David, and I feel like I just had the most embarrassing moment of my life. "

Here's the link to Six Degrees of Lost, if you'd like to know more: http://www.amazon.com/Six-Degrees-Lost-Linda-Benson-ebook/dp/B00XM2U2L0/

So yes, horses tend to sneak into every aspect of my life, from choices in living situations to decor to thinking, dreaming, and writing.

What about you? Tell us! Whether you are a horse lover, owner, aficionado, rider, writer, reader, or horse admirer, how do horses sneak into your life?

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