They tell me I have more than a little horse blood running through my veins and it no doubt started when Santa delivered Herbie on Christmas. If I moved forward and back in the saddle, much like on a real horse, Herbie would move down the road at a child-safe speed.
Eventually I grew up and joined the ranks of the thirteen million adults in the US that the American Horse Council’s survey said considers themselves to be “horse people.”
Make note of this, writers. If you catch the attention of this large group, you stand to make some serious hay. Just because you’ve never sat on a horse, don’t walk away from this group of avid readers.
Sure, I can see you shying away from a topic you may know little about. Many writers’ sole experience with horses has been confined to merry go rounds.
It’s a fact that horse people are avid readers. They have to get down off that horse sometime and after the stall is mucked out and the tack cleaned, they’re usually too tired to do much else. Curling up with a good book is most enticing.
We all know there’s lots of good books out there to chose from. But for the thirteen million horse people, it’s a plus if that book has a horse or two trotting through it.
But you hardly know a mane from a tail, you say. Not to worry. I can guarantee that when horse folks are not actually on their horses, they’ll spend hours “talking horse” to anyone who will listen. Ask around, most likely there’s a stable in your neck of the woods. Perhaps a place that specializes in lessons. Or a stable that specializes in training young horses.
Hang out for a while. Observe what characteristics play a major role in those who have invited horses into their lives. Soak up the ambiance of a stable full of well-kept horses and the people who adore them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out the names for all the straps attached to a horse. Learn the lingo of how horse people talk among themselves about their horses.
There are lots of good stories in the makings at the other end of the equine spectrum as well. Volunteer at a therapeutic riding center. Stop in at a horse rescue. Dozens of potential stories…or background for stories are there for the taking.
I’ve amassed a sizeable file of horse-related stories. But one true-life story still gives me goose bumps.For my thirteenth birthday, I was given a horse that had been an Army Calvary horse. His brand on his neck was 1248. When I married fifteen years later, my husband was a horse trainer and judge. When I handled paper work for the horse show association, I had to write in his horse show number….1248.
Horses are not key characters in my novels set in the horse world. Rather they are the setting that adds richness to the story. Instead of being set in a teeming city or wild sea, mine settings are horse farm. Released two months ago, is my latest, Blood Hoax, a page-turning mystery with as many surprising twists as a country road.
www.PattiBrooksBooks.com Horse Powered Mysteries For the Read of Your Life.
Need some help to introduce horses in your next work? Let me know and perhaps I can get you started in the right direction.