Talking the talk about writing about riding

I'm excited and looking forward to speaking at the DFWWW conference in February. Starting with Candy Havens as their keynote speaker, they have an amazing line-up of talent and I'm honored and humbled to be included. Forget all those other people, come see me!

I'll be talking about _Horses in Fiction: Writing about Riding_ But rather than go over all the usual stuff that's so easy to Google, I'm going to focus on some common errors and mistakes and try to offer some answers to those questions you didn't know you needed to ask.

This won't so much be geared to the author who's writing a character that is a horse trainer or breeder, or who has a horse as a main character, but more toward the author who has horses in their backdrop. Lots of authors have characters that ride, but have never given the poor beasts much personality. Real working horses and true companion horses have an amazing way of reflecting the thoughts and moods of their people, even more than many pets who spend a lifetime at the sides of their people, because a horse can truly be a partner and a helpmate through hardships in ways that other animals and pets sometimes can't and I hope to be able to help people bring some of that through in their stories.

Catching up - again

Time has gotten away from me again, but I'm going to try to get back on a more regular schedule. Of course, there is always plenty going on here for me to ramble on about.

November went by in a blur. I had an intense personal writing goal of finishing a round of edits on a finished novel and I got that done. Which I was very pleased about.

And then tragedy struck. Toward the end of the month, our beautiful black mare, CIMMI was euthanized in the wake of a horrific accident. I've been trying to work on a post but I've been consumed not just by her death but by the circumstances surrounding it.

At this point, I can only say that no matter how many horses anyone has, or has known, each one is special and leaves a gaping hole in your life and in your heart when they go.

Horses tend to keep a unique place in our lives and in our hearts ~ Carl Raswan wrote of Bedouin legends and in _The Arabian Horse as Your Friend and Companion_ (an article in Western Horseman) he wrote of the spirit of the high caste Arabian mare:

"The gift of an intelligent spirit was bestowed upon the mare of Ishmael and an intuitive soul to dwell within her beautiful, strong and symmetrical body. Psychic powers of her animal spirit were gifts of God, but her conscious mind developed through her intimate human association."

and he wrote that the Bedouin say: "Upon an unseen but not totally abstract pattern of beauty and perfection the spirit of God has created a harmonious animal and endowed it with a gentle and intelligent soul which has the capacity to understand his mission in this world as a companion to man. What obligation to man himself to understand such a divine creature which has been sent for his supreme joy and to delight his spirit as well as his heart and to share the fortunes and adversities of this illusory world."

He went on to follow the thought of how so many people only 'handle' the horse's physical form and mind rather than seeing the horse as something more, and how as his bond developed with his own mare, how her mood tended to reflect his.

Raswan also writes that he was told: "To the degree that an Asil (high-born) horse possesses thy heart, will she respond to thee. She will humble thy enemies and honor they friends. Willingly she will carry thee upon her back but she will consent to no humiliation. She is at once aware whether she carries a friend or an enemy of God. The mare that lives under divine orders, as a mute and obedient companion of man, has an insight into the mind of her master whom she may even prefer to her own kind."

So here is to CIMMI, who was indeed intuitive and carried many friends. And to all the good times from the wild galloping down the trail -- the tough trails and the easy -- the round and round the arena walks, the snipe hunts and all the fun, silly, just hanging out times.