Tag Archives: horses

How horses shaped this author’s life

horse4
“Kisses are nice, coffee is better. Now go. Leave the coffee. And turn off that camera!”

Writing and horses are two passions that traveled with me from childhood to adulthood.  I was the pesky kid who bugged her parents for a horse every Christmas and every birthday. I got a Breyer model horse instead (haha, not funny mom). Then around age 13 I got a Saturday job at a nearby stable in exchange for riding lessons. I found my bliss. I wrote my first “book” about a girl and her horse around that time. Bliss struck again.

Both have been a huge part of my life ever since.

horse6
“Yes this jacket IS too big but watch me rock it like a BOSS.”

I got to wallow in my two passions writing my latest paranormal romance novel, Omega Rising.  It’s about a stable owner and the unusual group that surrounds her. The fictional Sky Blue Farm is based on a stable where for years I lived and breathed and worked horses (minus the sexy shapeshifter wolves and bears and magic and murder. There was drama there but not that kind of drama 😀 ).

Horses need care 24/7 no matter the weather. In winter we bundled up in long underwear and held hot packs in freezing hands and hand-walked horses indoors when the sub-zero temps made it too dangerous to ride. In summer we sweated through our tank tops under the hot August sun in jeans or breeches with leather boots because riding in shorts is something you only try once (sweaty skin + leather saddle = omg-it-hurts-so-bad burns).

horse2
“Is that a carrot? I smell carrots. Do you have one?”

I’ve called vets for injured or sick horses. Scary.

I’ve called ambulances for injured people. Scarier.

One of my horses (a clever, handsome bay TB/Quarter Horse cross) was so quick sideways that he once left me hovering in mid-air for a split-second, during which I literally thought holy crap I’m in a Road Runner cartoon before I hit the ground in a heap. I’d have used it in Omega Rising but readers would’ve snorted in disbelief unless they were riders, too. In that case they’d nod yes, been there, that does indeed suck.

I’ve had young horses, tall horses, lazy horses, and spooky horses, learning something with every one. Grays and bays, mares and geldings, skinny chestnuts and fat ponies. I’ve been stepped on, knocked down, bucked off, bitten, kicked, and yes, sailed over a fence or two without my mount. But I loved them all.

In Omega Rising the opening scene shows the heroine and her mare, Peeka Booyah, jumping fences in a field. I based her on my own lovely mare except for the talent at jumping fences thing.  Fiction is awesome 🙂

I wouldn’t trade my experiences at that farm for anything. Some of those memories made it into the book, some will NEVER see the light of day. Yeesh. But the camaraderie, that sense of family and belonging ran deep,  overcoming the hurt feelings and squabbles and allowing us to survive when things went sideways. Much like it does for the Sky Blue Farm family in Omega Rising.

Our barn family isn’t together anymore; we peeled off one by one after the farm was sold but I’m in touch with some of them. My forever horse and I are at a different barn, one filled with good people, but I look back on those years at “my” barn with so much love in my heart. They changed me, shaped me; as a writer, as a rider, as a human being.

horse1
“I’m sweaty, tired, and smell like a horse. What a good day.”

My heroine in Omega Rising, Cass, is funnier than I am, certainly ballsier, but we share an enduring love of and respect for all horses, small and tall. Oh, and we both have a passion for sexy, shapeshifter wolves *cough* Nathan *cough*

Omega Rising (book one in the Wolf King series) and Skye Falling (book two) are available at all online retailers. Happy reading!

WRITE ON;

AND LOOK AT THIS FACE BEFORE YOU GO

20160724_093029
“Again with the camera? Don’t forget to include my ears this ti–dammit.”

New release by Sydney Scrogham

ArielFull Cover-1 (800x604)

I’m happy to spread the word about indie author Sydney Scrogham’s latest release, Ariel, The First Guardian. Last summer I enjoyed her first book in the series, Chase, which I believe was classified YA. This new one is adult and set in the same fantasy world named Agalrae which is filled with horses, or alicorns to be precise, and the humans protecting them. Here’s the info:

ARIEL: THE FIRST GUARDIAN TAKES SCROGHAM’S READERS THROUGH A STORY OF RESTORATION

Are you ready to gallop back to Agalrae? Sydney Scrogham released Chase in August 2015 and now it’s time for the second installment in the Guardians of Agalrae series. Fans may recall mention of a character in Chase named Ariel. Take one guess at who’s going to be the next lead character.

“I’m writing my series somewhat backwards,” Scrogham says. “I wanted to go back, write the story before Chase, and then do a sequel or two. Ariel: The First Guardian is so far my favorite that I’ve ever written.”

Ariel Harte is a raw, real character with a troubled past involving sexual abuse. Scrogham was wary at first about crafting a story about such a sensitive topic, but she is hopeful that readers will identify with Ariel’s happy ending story of true love and restoration.

“All of the people I shared this story with in its early stages told me they laughed and cried,” Scrogham says. “I can’t ask for anything more than a story where readers feel their way through the highs and lows of a character’s journey. While I was writing, I kept telling myself that there are people out there who’ve lived through trauma similar to Ariel. Her journey isn’t to make light of that pain, but rather explore a way to find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.”

Here’s the back cover copy:

Abuse survivor Ariel Harte doesn’t need anyone. Ever. But her companion animal is infected with a dark, magical force. Only an ancient purification ritual, the mind link, performed with another human can cure this infection.

Ariel must ask her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Tracey, for help.

But she’s racing time. She’s infected, too. All the walls will have to come down so Ariel can heal or she will lose herself to the darkness forever.

Ariel:  The First Guardian is a story of true love that wins over time, the power of second chances, and redemption from abuse. This is a prequel to Chase in the Guardians of Agalrae series but can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

About the author

Scrogham loves creating happy endings. When she’s not writing, she’s at the barn with her horse Snowdy or catching up on reruns of the best TV show ever – Castle. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia with an adorable dachshund named Zoe. To learn more, visit her website at sswriter.com.

You can find her at:

Blog/website: http://www.sswriter.com
Instagram: Sydney Scrogham
Twitter: @sydney_writer
Facebook: Sydney Scrogham
Pinterest: @sszoewriter (Story boards)

 

Horses taught me everything

me and P I am lucky enough to have been around horses most of my life. My mom used to say I got the bug from one of her relatives (great-uncle maybe?) who rode in the Calvary way way WAY back in the day.  As a kid I worked on Saturdays at a nearby barn in exchange for riding lessons. Money? I spit on money. There were HORSES!  

As an adult I don’t spit on money. Gross. No. I scrimp on other things like driving an old SUV and limiting my craving for fast food to pay for my horse. 

I’ve got the bug and it’s been life-long. This journey has taken me to the highest highs and the lowest lows but it’s been worth every second and changed me for the better. I cannot even imagine what kind of person I’d be if I hadn’t hung out with horses.

My current horse is a Thoroughbred mare (my cousin calls her the lovely Miss P and you can see by the photo why) I’ve had since she was 3. She’s 12 now. I absolutely adore her. But holy hell we went through some trials. 

She wasn’t my first horse, thank heavens. Before the lovely Miss P (aka Dolly, Sweet P, or “mare” in a growly voice when she’s being fractious) I rode, bought, trained, and sold a lot of horses. Each one taught me something. For example, a little bay polo mare stopped my habit of leaning forward while asking for a canter because whenever I did that she bucked my ass off. LESSON RECEIVED!

I learned a lot, picked the brains of trainers, went to clinics, studied anatomy, and became better (I hope) with each horse I trained. Perhaps all those other horses were preparation for my eventual forever horse.

In the lovely Miss P’s young days she was spooky and afraid of every noise. Next was her balking phase, where in the middle of trotting or walking or leg-yielding she just stopped and wouldn’t move. That was followed later by bolting and then a long stretch of halfheartedly trying to buck me off at every canter depart, ears pinned and head shaking.  

Yeah, I made some mistakes but then I fixed them. And my horse forgave me. That’s another thing about horses that amazes me; they don’t hold grudges.  If someone tried to put a saddle on my sore back I’m not sure I’d be so nice.

Horses can feel happy, playful, sad, angry, annoyed, bored, and PMS-y. I can read those expressions on my mare’s face; the tightening of her nostrils in irritation, the droopy lip of contentment, hear it in the soft nicker of hello, the sharper whinny of demand. Dumb animal? Far from it.

It’s been a long journey for us and one that’s been filled with ups and downs, as life usually is. Today, when we ride outside the sound of gunfire in the distance only makes her twitch an ear. She’d still prefer to walk around puddles rather than through them but sighs and does it when I insist. Canter departs are vastly improved – usually :). Balking – gone. Bolting – gone. 

It’s like we’re partners. She trusts me to keep her safe and I trust her to do the same.

This is not to say she doesn’t have her whirling/spinning/ohhellno moments because she surely does, they’re just much rarer. Like my own ohhellno moments.

She’s taught me patience and humility. She’s made me laugh in delight and cry in frustration and breathe a sigh filled with awe when we’re so in sync that it’s perfect. It’s hard to describe, this relationship one can have with your forever horse. It changes you. It changed me. 

I look before I leap (usually), think before I act (mostly), and pause before reacting (tough one but I try). All because of my horse. 

We’re both settling into our years pretty damn nicely, I must say. I don’t get to see her as often as I’d like – life interrupts – but this spring I am squeaking in more barn time wherever I can get it. Because the lovely Miss P – and horses in general if you’re lucky enough to hang with them – reminds me that sometimes blasting off in the pasture with a tail held high because the sun is shining is reason enough.

Life is short – I plan to blast off across the pasture more often.