Middle Grade Mondays
For the Love of Horses
by Natalie Bright
I love horses, and they rarely even tolerate me.
Horses are hyper-sensitive to everything and everyone around them. They are super-smart, skittish, mystical, magical, and they like things calm. If they have a job to do, they want to do it. They are not fond of dallying around on something that doesn’t make sense to them.
Every summer as a kid, I’d visit my cousins and the first thing my dad would say before he left, “do not get on a horse.” Of course we did on occasion. Just so you know, if you’re riding along and you laugh really loud at something your cousin said, you’re eating dirt quicker than you can spit. It happens that fast.
So I learned early on that I’m loud and hyper and spastic and horses do not roll with that kind of person. I also discovered that horses have personalities.
Many years ago, a friend gave me a tour of his stable and introduced me to all of his horses. He explained how their names are unique to their personalities and physical traits. I feel in love with those beautiful animals, never imagining that I’d write middle grade books where these animals would need to play an important role in the plot.
As a ranch owner, I’ve discovered that ranch horses are highly trained, cowboys are very passionate about what they do, and they have the ability to talk horse all day long. And although I wished to have a horse more than anything when I was younger, I’ve never really had a special connection with these majestic creatures.
Writing the West
As a western writer, there’s no doubt that horses have to be a part of my stories. The challenge is in giving them a personality. I want them to be more than just livestock or a part of the setting. I want them to be larger than life characters with humorous traits and behavior habits. I rely on all of you horse people to tell me why you love these amazing animals so much.
Cheers to horses, and thanks to those of you have shared your experiences.
Keep them coming!