Thursday, August 11, 2016

WHAT AM I DOING WRITING ABOUT HORSES?




By Ada Brownell



You'd think because I have a couple of Western novels on Amazon I’d be an experienced cowgirl.

I have ridden a few ponies in my younger years. But the animals knew and I knew I was a tenderfoot.

Cindy, the horse I rode as a kid, probably picked that up the first time I climbed up on her back. I probably only weighed about 75 pounds, but I rode her bareback and that was the only way to go because I bounced with every step she took. I used a saddle a time or two, but discovered landing on the fat horse was better than the hard saddle.

Cindy didn’t belong to our parents. My aunt and uncle boarded her and their beautiful buckskin in our pasture. Joe, my brother, and I were allowed to ride them. Joe did all of the work, put on the bridles and I think helped me make it from the cellar roof to the horse’s back.

One time, though, Joe took off riding the Buckskin and I hadn’t mounted yet. I stood beside Cindy a moment too long and she stepped on my foot. Not a soul stood within ear shot to hear my yelling. I beat on Cindy’s big white belly and screamed, “Get off! Get off! Get off!”

The hoof never moved. A riding horse can weigh from 800 to more than 1,000 pounds. I nearly panicked and then wisdom popped into my brain. I bent over, ran my hand down Cindy’s leg and pulled on a tuft of hair right above the hoof, as I’d seen Joe do. Cindy lifted it, and I was free. Praise the Lord—no broken bones in my foot.

I let a horse step on the foot of a 12-year-old boy, Stuart Ripley O’Casey, in my latest book, Peach Blossom Rancher, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive. Of course he did what I did to lift the hoof.

I went horseback riding with friends on different ponies and one or two of those critters bit. I had no idea horses would bite. One of them bit my horse and then aimed for my arm or leg. My friend thought it was funny and kept putting her horse’s mouth close to my side.

“Get that…” My friends occasionally used profanity and one of those words shot into my mind. That was one of the few times in my life I was tempted to cuss, but I swallowed the exclamation.

I was more mature the last time I rode a horse. I told my husband’s nephew to give me an “old nag” to ride. Well, he told me the horse he gave me was the gentlest mount he had, and he had a quite a herd of them.

The horse took off walking. Everyone else’s trotted, galloped and loped ahead of me. My animal wouldn’t go, In fact, she stopped every few steps and looked back. I kicked her sides, wiggled the reins, and “Tuk, tuk tukked,” with my tongue. She ignored me. By the time I went a short distance, everyone else headed back. I turned the horse around.

Big mistake! She took off like she had gone through the gate at Churchill Downs.

“Whoa!” I shouted and pulled on the reins.

I pulled and she tried to scrape me off under a tree. I ducked, held on, and kept pulling on the reins, screaming and yelling, “Whoa!”. In no time we returned to the barn, the animal in a sweat and panting, everyone else left behind.

“Sorry,” Max, our nephew, said. “I forgot she has a colt in the barn.”

That didn’t end my education on horses, though. As a newspaper reporter I covered horse shows. The first one I was blessed when our pastor, an expert, sat down beside me and pointed out the differences between breeds, their various capabilities, and training involved.

 I also wrote about horses during the state fair. I dug into the diet of top performing breeds. “While the horses are here can owners order a bale of hay and a side of oats?” I asked.

The Bible is full of horses, but the scripture I remember most refers to a bridle on the tongue and another says if you bridle your tongue you can control your whole body. “If anyone among you thinks he is religious but does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, that man’s religion is useless” (James 1:26 NKJ). James 3 3 uses the illustration about horses being controlled by a bridle and ships guided by a small rudder.

Although horses can be tough to tame, they could teach me more about gentleness and obedience. A fine horse is a wonder to behold. I’m glad God made them.



Dear Reader Friend:
What do peaches, an asylum, and dead bodies have to do with inspirational romance?
In the Peach Blossom Rancher these things are as important as baking powder in a cake. Baking powder might not taste so great by itself, but it adds the chemical balance that makes baked goods great.
To help you understand, here’s the Summary of Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive, released Aug. 1:
A handsome young man inherits a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor is confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.
John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the peach and horse ranch and he eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who is an attorney. But will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor that he constantly fusses with?  Edwina has a Peeping Tom whose boot prints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or will he be hanged for the murder? Is it possible for the young doctor to be released from the asylum?
Available now on Amazon http://amzn.to/2arRVgG. Elk Lake Publishing says you will be able to buy paperbacks on Amazon and order it from bookstores, probably by Aug 12.
I think you will enjoy Peach Blossom Rancher, and love the characters. The story is entwined in suspense, humor, and a great historical experience that has roots in my background covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, as well as growing up in peach country in Colorado.
Then there’s the inspirational side. One of my  editors, Deirdre Lockhart of Brilliant Cut Editing said, “By the way, I want Polly to live near me. Not just for the food, which made my mouth water, but she made my spirit sing too. I feel my absolute faith a little stronger after living with her and Abe this week.”


 NEWS UPDATE:
The novel enjoyed by teens through adults, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, is free August 11-14. Get it here https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell