One of my favorite peeves is the hero always riding a stallion but I found the most delightful character of Lass in Patricia Brigg's The Hob's Bargain.

Lass is a mare, slender and elegant but stronger than she looks and mean as a snake. She bites, she kicks and is generally most unpleasant to be around. But it's her job to take care of her man. And she's really good at it. She's so wonderfully marish, I can't read her without giggling. Now - of all things, I know horses can't be allowed to have bad manners, but some mares have a natural tendency to be 'in charge' of "life, the universe and everything" and those are the ones you want on your side or at your back when the going gets tough.

We have an ongoing situation here with young

TELPE. She's big for her age and typically awkward and energetic. She has an injured leg from being kicked and we're working her back into the herd after a period of confinement. WITNESS isn't going to put up with any of her silly-half-grown-baby carp.

What WITNESS has done is to herd TELPE to the corner and hold her there. Look this 'snarly' face. See how tight her muzzle is, how she has her nostrils pulled back and flared? And TELPE's listening. Look at that ear pointed straight out sideways on WITNESS.

But the more interesting interaction happened after WITNESS decided that TELPE had properly submitted and would be allowed to play nice with the other girls.

Little MIREE, most definitely her mother's daughter, took the opportunity to practice being in charge.

First she put TELPE in the corner...

You can see she's working on her snarly face, it's pretty good, but not perfect and TELPE is questioning her to some extent.

TELPE didn't stay in the corner so MIREE had to 'get tough'.

What she's done in this photo is get in front of TELPE and start backing up. If you've ever tried to back up a short wheel base trailer, you know what a hard task she's set herself -- but she's getting it done. Can you see the combined look of concentration and irritation on her face, and TELPE's surprise?

Here you can see she got her in the corner, but that durn leg is sticking out. TELPE's not standing square and quiet... she is. Much better -

Oops. TELPE got tired of being good and decided to walk off.
MIREE is nipping her to try to put her back in the corner. Look at MIREE's legs, you can see how she's stopped and turned TELPE and is swinging around to get in front of her.

WITNESS finally got fed up and put them all in the corner. The arrangement in the photo looks casual, but it's not. WITNESS has them boxed in the stall and is guarding the gate.


who am I, what am I doing in this box

I've been working on , among other things, the presentation I'll be giving at the workshop in February and realized I need to update (finish) my profile.

So who am I and why the heck do I think I have anything special to say about horses?
Well, I have to admit, I don't know that I have anything really different or astounding to say that you haven't heard before, or that you couldn't find elsewhere. The world is full of horses and horseman, and most horseman, like me, are more than happy to ramble on about their horses. Typically, the problem is getting them to shut up once you've got them started.

I think there are two things that make my input valuable. Not that my words more valuable than other horseman's, but simply useful in their own way.

One is that I've had horses a long time. Nearly 40 years now and while I've had some formal training, most of what I've learned has been through the school of hard knocks. Read that as - if there is a mistake to be made, I've probably made it. My parents were loving and generous, but not horseman and bought me a yearling stud colt when I was in the first grade. He lasted almost a year before he got dangerous enough they traded him in on the mature Welsh Shetland cross who is the one who raised me. ... fast forward to now: I've been riding AERC Endurance for 21 years this year, that is long distance (up to 100 miles) cross-country races, although it isn't PC to actually call them races. So I know something about galloping in an undisciplined crowd and also about being alone in the woods with a horse, and being on horseback for a long time.

And I've dabbled in a lot of different stuff, from arena shows to dressage to cowboy type stuff like rodeo and speed events. And we've done some medieval and western reenactment, so most of my horses are 'weapons' trained to some extent. I've used a lance and a bow and a gun from horseback.

And, because I trained professionally for years and because I'm a breeder have a reasonable sized herd, I've done a lot of this stuff on a variety of horses. Which is a lot crazier than doing it all on one or two horses, but it gives a slightly different perspective. And I've worked with lots of beginner riders, both child and adult

How this applies to writing?
* I can provide lots of fodder for all the mistakes and issues that make such wonderful conflict.
* I know the kind of things that can go wrong, some silly, some really horrific. I know simple ways to frustrate your hero.
* The basic stuff and the bigger issues are easy to Google. But I can answer the questions authors didn't know they needed to ask to help layer the details with believability.

My mission: should I choose to admit one. Is to get authors to characterize their horses instead of using the typical cardboard cut-outs.