Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Cross-posted from my personal blog because a) I'm excited and b) because it's somewhat writing-related and relevant.

Mostly, I just had to share the latest adventure that's beginning over here in Omahatropolis. As I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog before, I grew up riding horses. Somewhere between driver's licenses and adulthood, life sort of intervened, and I didn't ride so much anymore. Then I got married and moved away, and have never had the means to have a horse since then. I did briefly ride a friend's horse in 2005, and showed him once, but that was the last time I got on a horse.

It's been almost eight years, y'all. When horses are in your blood like they're in mine, that is a long, long time.

So last week, I was poking around at some ads for horses, and had an epiphany: I could afford to get (and maintain) a horse.

After some prodding from some enablers -- er, friends -- I decided to just do it.

I went to visit a farm yesterday where there were several horses available for lease. A few of them seemed nice enough, but didn't really pique my interest.

Then I saw this face looking back at me.
And I was a goner.

Long story short, I am now the proud lessee of Jesse, a 6 year-old Appendix Quarter Horse gelding. Though I'm not 100% convinced of his breeding. He has no papers, after all, so we're just sort of guessing. What I do know is that he runs like a thoroughbred, stops and turns like a quarter horse, trots like an Arab, and gets into everything like a Morgan.  So he's probably just a big ol' mutt.

I don't care. I adore him.   
He's got a lot of crappy training that needs undoing, but with some time and patience, he'll get there. I'm not looking to show him (though I might take him to some small local shows next year just for the hell of it), and he's not mine to sell, so I'm not in any hurry. We'll just take it easy, and a little at a time, fix the bad habits he has on the ground and under saddle.

It feels so good to literally be back in the saddle after too many years. Now, horses are time-consuming, of course, especially those that need some training. There's also the 35-minute drive each way to visit him. Chances are, working with him will cut into my writing time. I'm already figuring on reducing my daily quota to 4,000 words on the days I work with him.

But I'm okay with that. I've been running myself into the ground, and have been spending too much time at my desk. Jesse will be that balance I so desperately need. Will stories come out a little slower? Probably. But I think they'll be stronger because I will have a clearer mind, not to mention the exercise which I sorely need. Just being around a horse, especially one like him, is insanely therapeutic for me. The simple act of walking into a barn calms me down.

So in the end, between Jesse and traveling, I think there will be fewer words this year, but they'll be better words because I'll be in a better state of mind.

If anyone needs me, I'll be at the barn...


  1. I am a horseperson too, with three of my own, so I totally understand the irresistibility of that face and the allure of the barn (mine too is 35 miles from my house), and couldn't resist commenting. It's a great reason to make us wait a little longer between books. Enjoy every minute with him!

  2. The time you spend with Jesse will not be lost time, even for us readers! I can't believe how prolific you've been,and I'm sure you need to take care to avoid burn-out. Riding will refresh you body, soul and mind.

    (And anyway you'll probably find yourself working out plot points while you're driving, and being inspired with ideas while you're out on Jesse!)

  3. I am very happy for you! I didnt know you liked horses so much. I took riding lessons about 40 yrs ago, but I still remember that time fondly. I encourage you to take the time to train and ride Jesse as needed, but then you better get back to writing! LOL
    Now I have a little more understanding on a certain trio of boys I know and love.

    Have fun. And feel free to stop by here in your travels, even if you are just changing planrs.

    Cathye C