Posts Tagged ‘horsemanship’

MISTY

May 3, 2018

Misty (2)

After the loss of my first horse, I was afraid I’d never find as good a friend as Sugar. I was so wrong. This amazing black gelding came into my life: MISTY.

My Misty was the sweetest, most wonderful horse a kid could have. We were never sure of his breed, but I always considered him a Morgan. Misty had a Morgan’s calm, trustworthy nature and good sense. We bonded instantly. I could ride him bareback the first day, barely signaling turns and gaits, as if he could read my mind. In the mornings, I’d open my window, and Misty would stick in his beautiful head to say hello. I could hardly wait until school was over so I could see my friend again.

4-H Horsemanship came to town, and Misty was the perfect horse to teach me the tricks of the trade. He was a natural, getting the right lead before I even knew what that meant (leading with the inside leg at a canter). He rode as well with an English saddle as he did with western gear, so I was able to learn both.

In the first book of the new series, Horse Gentler in Training, from Winnie the Horse Gentler: The Early Years,  young Winnie teaches a horse o say yes and no.  I really did teach my horse to say yes and no, much as Winnie teaches Royal Princess in this book. Misty proved over and over that a horse can definitely be a kid’s best friend.

 

SUGAR–HORSE #1

April 3, 2018

sugar-3

Yep–this is me at 3 years old, riding Sugar, my first horse, a Pinto of unknown origins. To those who know me, it’s no secret that I like horses. I mean, I love horses and always have. I love to ride. But I also love to simply brush or be with a horse, to feel that fuzzy winter coat, or the sleek summer sheen. I love the smell of horse. Seriously, someone should bottle that scent and sell it as perfume. And I love to write about horses.

Right now I’m working on writing a prequel series to Winnie the Horse Gentler. Writing about this younger character, who understands (and feels understood by) horses, keeps bringing up my own early horse memories. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of those and introducing you to the horses I’ve loved. Sugar was the nearly perfect first, a bomb-proof horse, just above 14.2 hands, not a pony. My big sister, Maureen, rode her first, until I took over. I remember being confined to ride in our little pen by the house and how awesome it was when I got the freedom to ride Sugar up and down our road, then around the block, then all over Hamilton, Missouri. I got stepped on, and I fell off–always my fault. Once, near Main Street, she slipped on the ice, and I fell directly under her. Sugar stopped and stood still, with me huddled between all four hooves. Then we waited until somebody gave me a lift back up. You never forget your first.

WRITER JOE & COWBOY JOE (sort of)

March 8, 2018

I’ve written a lot about myself, our kids, and our grandkids; but I haven’t given you a good picture of my husband, have I? I am the luckiest (most blessed) woman in the world to be married to this guy, Joe Mackall. And our kids and grandkids would testify that he’s an amazing father and grandfather. He’s an excellent writer, co-founder of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, “where great writing and facts matter.” He’s author of successful books, like The Last Street Before Cleveland and Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish, which the starred Booklist review called “a wonderful and enlightening book. He’s also my first editor.

But he’s much more than his official bio. When Joe and I met, the man wasn’t crazy about horses and hadn’t ridden one since he sat on a pony for a picture-taking opportunity when he was 4 or 5. But he dove right in and learned to ride on Moby, one of our two horses at the time. Since then, we’ve ridden on trails wherever we’ve gone. Horse rides are a major ingredient in all family vacations. Above is one of our best rides, in Monument Valley across Navajo lands, and later to Four Corners, where Montana, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet.

Finally, just look at that face. Can you tell he’s a very witty and funny fellow? We make each other laugh.

MY FIRST HORSE

January 9, 2018

Sugar (3)

This is Sugar, my first horse. She was so trustworthy that I was riding by myself when I was 3. I remember brushing her, though I couldn’t reach much more than legs. Once I was riding her on a snowy-icy road. She slid, and I slid off, landing directly under her. She stopped, in the middle of the road, and didn’t budge as she kept me safely boxed by her four hooves. After a minute, a passerby gave me a boost back up, and I rode on my way. I just found this photo and decided I’d use it to remind any interested e-reader that the first book in WINNIE THE HORSE GENTLER series, #1 WILD THING, is on sale for 99 cents through January.