"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." ~Winston Churchill
MK here, with a look back to my younger years. This was originally a tale I told in May 2015 after my editor mentioned her sweet horse (whose name I chose for a Gallagher steed. The memories arose once again while I was writing The Case of the Copper King, set in one of my old home towns.
A wonderful, yet sometimes temperamental, Arabian horse, Abe and I enjoyed many wild adventures in the Colorado mountains. The name "Abe" came with the horse who had been a carriage horse in Durango, CO for a number of years. I have pictures of old Abe somewhere in a box of memories, but it's the memories I keep stored in my mind that mean the most.
"I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a horse." ~ John Galsworthy
My favorite memory is of my younger sister and I when we would crawl around on all fours in the pastures, walking between the horses' legs pretending to be foals. Gross, and possibly dangerous, but the animals were great about it. Of course, we had to do this without grown-ups watching. Thinking back on it, I'm sure they found out. My other siblings would sometimes join in for a round of Cowboys and Indians, or we would all ride up on the mountain trails behind the house.
That leads me to my second prominent memory of good Abe, and the one that earned Abe a dedication in my McKenzie Sisters novel. Now, to Abe's credit, he was a great horse who didn't bite, throw, or otherwise harm anyone, but Arabian horses can be hot-blooded. My family and a few friends—all adults—rode up into the mountains one day. Something spooked the horse—to this day we aren't sure what—and he took off with the others at a run. I was always good at holding on, and enjoyed a good run as much as Abe, but something about this ride was different. Contrary to training, I leaned forward just a little too much and in the wrong way. Before I realized what was happening, Abe's head leaned down and I went with it, toppling over his head and rolling onto the ground before he went over me.
I had angels on my back that day, because other than a major case of trying to catch my breath, and a few bruises, I came out of the incident unscathed. As a child, I was always taught to get back on the horse—figuratively and literally—as soon as possible. It took me a couple of days, but I got back on Abe and it was as though nothing had happened. In fact, Abe seemed more upset about the incident than I did.
“The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.” ~ Ronald Duncan
The original interview question that stirred up these memories was related to horses in my books in regards to transportation and how commonplace they were in everyday life. It made me realize how much I miss the days when I spent every day after school with my horse.
Horses are, in my humble opinion, one of the grandest creatures to ever walk this earth. I love being around them, watching them prance in the summer and exhale warm breath into cold winter air. I'm grateful for every story I write that gives me a chance to spend time with these amazing animals.
Now for a bit of trivia.
If you've read my Gallagher books, this will be easier for you, but can you guess which of the Gallagher horses, and the horse's name, is named after my editor's horse?
Until next time, be kind, be well, and always turn your eyes toward beauty.