Tag Along on Photo Walk to an Equine Farm as This City Girl Researches Horses for her Middle Grade Tale
What I know about horses:
I also spent a weekend at Tanglewood, a working horse farm in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Join me on easy hour’s drive down US1 from my writing den to explore that unique equine community and discover juicy factoids for Rosie’s and my WIP.
Horses are BIG animals.
They can sense energy from humans around them.
Horses often wear
for protection from pesky insects that plague them.
Mischievous horses even figure
out how to remove those masks!
Horses don't like to be petted
on the front of their faces.
Would you like it if somebody pat you on your nose?
Since horses can't see your hand if you pet their nose,
you will startle them, too.
And caring for them
labor of love.
Putting it All Together
Now for the synthesis of researching and writing!
Have a peek at how Rosie and I
weave our discoveries
into this draft scene from our work in progress:
Our protagonist, Olivia, and her friend, Isabella,
introduce new girl Candace to Olivia’s horse, Lucky.
“I was explaining the best way to pet a horse,” Isabella said, “but before I could finish, Candace reached over and petted Lucky in that small blind spot in front of his face. It startled him, so he bucked sideways.”
“There now, boy,” Olivia crooned, moving to Lucky and stroking him gently alongside his neck. “Candace is just trying to be friendly.”
“Your horse doesn’t like me,” Candace blurted. “He’s mean.”
“He’s just not used to you. It’ll take time for him to know you, that’s all,” Olivia said.
“Try a friendly horse handshake like this, Candace.” Olivia suggested. She stuck out her hand with fingers held down and slightly bent. “Hold your hand like this near Lucky’s nose. That way, he can smell your hand and get to know you.”
Unconvinced, Candace kept her distance, hands clasped securely behind her back.
Draft scene excerpt from Cat and Rosie's WIP
What's your experience with farm life or horses? What tidbits might you share about rural living and equines that Rosie and I could use in our tale? Any feedback on that draft scene above? (Hey, please contact me if you'd be interested in being a beta reader once our 150-page book is done this winter.)
All photos by Cat Michaels or Hub except where noted
Most grateful to Tanglewood Farms, Southern Pines, NC, and Dancing Horses Farm, Port Orchard, WA, for generously sharing their equine knowledge.
9/6/2019 03:26:48 pm
Wonderful post and loved the way you worked it all into an excerpt from your WIP.
9/6/2019 07:52:45 pm
Thanks for riding along with me, James, and bringing an oops! and a smile with your equine adventures. I applaud your spirit in getting back on a horse after one bit you! I’m with you about admiring horses from a distance and especially through my camera lens.
9/6/2019 07:25:38 pm
I'm afraid I have very little experience with horses. I rode on the back of one when I was younger and was scared to death because I have a fear of falling. I didn't even know there was a proper way to pet a horse.
9/6/2019 08:00:41 pm
Mackenzie, I can understand why you are cautious around horses if you have a fear of falling off. They are BIG animals, and it is a long way to drop from saddle to ground! My horse whisperer explained about the horse handshake and how to pet the animals. I was quite clueless until she filled me in. Thanks for riding along with me on my equine photo walk,
9/6/2019 11:54:31 pm
Used to love riding horses as a teen. Been a few times since but not as much as I’d like. Love the photo of the laughing horse and the excerpt was great. Can’t wait to read the rest when it’s finished. Count me in as a beta reader!
9/9/2019 08:30:10 pm
There’s a magical connection between horses and girls especially, Julie. My niecelettes adore riding, too. That laughing horse photo I snapped made me chuckle and think of Mr. Ed! Thanks for your kind words. Would love to have you as a beta reader when Rosie and I finish our book in late winter/early spring.
9/9/2019 08:20:43 pm
Julie, I did not know that either before I started learning about horses for my book. Honestly, I had a chance to pat a friendly horse on my visit to the farm, but I was too uneasy to try it on my own.
9/9/2019 05:33:11 pm
Great post Cat. It's hard to overcome your fear of large animals that you don't understand, especially when you have had very little to do with them. I always had a fear of horses until we moved to the country and lived next door to two beautiful and graceful animals for the past 12 years. I have fed and patted them many times when the family has been away on holidays. Now I can happily pat any horse along my morning walk. I have even watched a fowl be born and take his first few tentative steps. They love being fed apples or carrots, just hold the fruit or vegetable flat in the palm of your hand, keep your fingers together. It tickles when their tongue licks your hand but they won't bite.
9/9/2019 08:15:00 pm
Sandra, how lucky you are to have food neigh-bors <wink>. What a joy to watch a birthing! If I could be around them more, I’d love to feed them as you suggest. I will just need to have my book characters do it. Thanks for the juicy equine tidbits.
9/11/2019 08:16:38 am
The first 6 years of my life, I grew up on a thoroughbred race horse farm. I don't remember a lot of interaction but think they are beautiful animals. For an ultimate horse trip, visit Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
9/11/2019 08:26:53 am
Rosemary, what an amazing experience for you as a young child to grow up with these amazing animals. I’d love to visit Kentucky some day so see its horse country.
9/11/2019 10:18:30 am
Loved the post, Cat. That excerpt about a girl learning about horses is spot on. Horse are good for the soul and are lovely creatures. Our old Tennessee Walking Horse used to whinny for his buddies when he was left behind while they went on a trail ride. So I would stand in his pasture with him and play with our dog. Rippy would settle right down and continue to graze. He just wanted the company. I'd be happy to be a beta reader. Sarah
9/11/2019 09:51:41 pm
Thanks for riding along, Sarah, and for your feedback. How lucky you are to have grown up with a people-loving horse! I have you down to be a beta reader when the book is ready next year. Rosie and I are most grateful.
9/13/2019 08:07:29 pm
Enjoyed the pictures and the snippet from your WIP. Keep on having fun with research and writing!
9/14/2019 03:00:52 pm
Thanks for riding along with me to the Sandhills, Carol! Writing is a lot of work, but this aspect was definitely fun.
10/15/2019 12:09:56 pm
Cat, please for give me. I thought for sure I left a comment on your wonderful post about our book. It looks like it didn't take.
10/15/2019 02:06:15 pm
Oh my! Tech gremlins at work here, Rosie. I do remember reading your comments some weeks ago. They were likely so sweet that those pesky tech gremlins could not resist a taste and snorfed them away <wink>. We’ve been busy and learning tons in the process. Delighted to have you as a writing partner!
10/15/2019 04:30:17 pm
Sounds like really fun research!
10/15/2019 07:03:24 pm
Jessica, it was delightful to immerse myself in a farm weekend. I discovered small quirks to add to my tale that can only be experienced by being there. Glad to have your company on the farm!
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