The Red Filly on Channillo

I recently added the second chapter of The Red Filly, on Channillo.com. Remember all proceeds from subscriptions to the series benefit Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue.

I’m having a lot of fun writing this story, which is inspired by a favorite book from my childhood, The Black Stallion. Although, my goal is not only to write about a girl and her horse, but address social issues as well. I hope to entertain with my writing as well as have a positive impact on society. I am very open to constructive criticism, as I continue to grow and learn as a writer. Thank you guys!

Here’s the link to the series: The Red Filly

Marwari-The Desert Horse of India

The Marwari is a rare and ancient breed of horse that originated in the Marwar region of western India. The breed is easily recognizable due to its inwardly curved ears. The Marwari is believed to be descended from the warhorses of the Rajput warriors of the Marwar region.

The origins of the Marwari horse are uncertain, but the breed is likely to have been influenced by Turkoman type horses brought to the area by Mughul invaders, as well as the Arabian horse. There is an Indian legend that seven Arabian horses of good breeding were shipwrecked off the shore of the Kachchh District and were taken to the Marwar region to be used as foundation bloodstock for the Marwari. Like the Arabian, the Marwari is know for its hardiness and also like the Arabian they were bred as warhorses. They were renowned for their courage in battle and loyalty to their riders. It was said that a Marwari horse would only leave a battle under three conditions; victory, death, or carrying its master to safety.

Maharana Pratap on Chetak, Moti MagriUdaipur, by Ankur P

Chetak was a legendary Marwari horse. The grey stallion purportedly carried Maharana Pratap to safety after he slayed the last of the Moghuls in the battle of Haldighati. The courageous stallion was said to have been brave enough to take on an elephant and reared so that Pretap was able to kill the Moghul who sat atop the war elephant. Chetak was mortally wounded by the elephant’s tusks, but he carried his master to safety, traveling many miles before dying near a river.

The Marwari were almost eliminated during the British rule of India during the early 1900s. The British preferred their thoroughbreds and polo ponies and ridiculed the horses with the inward turning ears. Even after independence from Britain, the Marwari horse was still endangered because war horses were no longer needed and many of the Indian nobleman who bred them had lost their land.

The Marwari horse was on the verge of extinction until Maharaja Umaid Singhji stepped in to save them and his work was continued by his grandson, Maharaja Gaj Singh II.

Later in 1995 a British horsewoman named Francesca Kelly founded the group, Marwari Bloodlines. Then, along with her husband, Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod, they led a group in 1999 that founded the Indigenous Horse Society of India which helps promote and preserve the breed.

Ashwarya aka Rae Rae

Ashwarya who is named after a Bollywood actress is currently residing at The Kentucky Horse Park and she was donated to the park by Francesca Kelly. She’s the only Marwari horse in the U.S. presently as far as I can tell due to the fact that India does not allow the export of the breed at this time. According to my research, Francesca Kelly has since moved the rest of her Marwari brood to the UK. If anyone is aware of others in the U.S. I’d love to hear from you.

The Red Filly-Chapter 2

ApolloMarwariPic

“So how was it? Did you have fun?” asked Helene as she pulled their old pickup onto the two-lane country road at the end of the long gravel driveway.

“Yes, I had fun,” answered Bethany.

“How about some details?” Helene again prodded.

“Mom, I had fun. I wish you wouldn’t interrogate me.”

Helene sighed and then said, “My new boss, Mr. Singh, invited us for dinner tonight.”

“Mom, I just want to go home. I don’t want to go anywhere,” Bethany whined.

“Bethany please, this is important to me. I really love my new job. You’ll like him. I promise.”

“Okay. I don’t have a choice, do I?” said Bethany.

Helene laughed, “Not really.”

Bethany didn’t respond and just looked out the window as they drove down the country road into town.  Her view consisted of field after field of mostly cows, occasionally horses and wood frame houses.  Many of the houses needed repairs and a new coat of paint.  There wasn’t a lot of money in Dale City. Most people lived off the land or paycheck to paycheck, except for the lucky ones that worked at James Corp, the best employer in the small town.

As they pulled into town, some of that prosperity could be seen.  There were better houses, even brick, ranch style types, which were popular among the rural, middle class.   Over the years several businesses had cropped up in town, including several chains like McDonalds, Burger King, and such.  Helene slowed the rambling truck to 35 mph as she pulled into the old downtown.  She pulled into one of the angled parking spots in front of a shop which bore the sign, Singh’s Antiques and Curiosities.  At first Helene had been a little worried about coming to work for a “foreigner”, not because she was xenophobic, but because there were rumors of white supremacist groups still operating in the small, Texas town.   Helene was well read and had dreamed of traveling the world, so she welcomed the chance to get to know Amir Singh. But she had been working at the shop for a month now, working on the daily operations and helping with the books and had seen no sign of racism from the townspeople who frequented the shop.  Maybe the fact that James Corp was owned by a black family had had a positive impact on the town.

Amir stepped out onto the walkway in front of his shop to greet them as they exited the truck, the heavy metal doors of the old truck screeching as they slammed them both shut.  Amir Singh was Helene’s age, but unlike her, he was fit. His black hair was cropped short, but was full and a bit wavy, complimenting his olive skin.

“Helene, so happy you and Bethany could make it for dinner,” he greeted them with a smile.

“Hello Amir, this is Bethany,” Helene said as she waived an arm toward her daughter as they both stepped onto the sidewalk.

“You call your boss by his first name?” Bethany blurted out.

“We’re informal around here,” said Amir with a smile as he extended his right hand toward her.

Bethany looked at his hand for a moment, then reached out and took it. She shook it firmly as her Dad had taught her before he left them. It was the only thing she ever learned from him.

Helene sighed as her body relaxed from her tense posture, which did not go unnoticed by Amir. He smiled toward Helene as if to say, “See, I told you everything would be fine.” She smiled back and the three of them headed inside.

They walked through the shop, which was full of the standard antiques found in any small, Texas town. There were old wooden dressers with chips and scratches, ancient looking garden gnomes, decorative plates on little metal stands depicting women with big, old fashioned dresses, and ceramic figurines in the shapes of cats and roosters and the like.

“Everything is so old in here!” said Bethany.

“Bethany!” Helene admonished.

“It’s ok Helene. She’s right, everything is old,” said Amir.

“Well why would people want to buy old things? Asked Bethany.

“That’s an excellent question, Bethany. I think sometimes old things, comfort people. They remind them of a simpler time, I assume,” Amir answered.

“That makes sense,” said Bethany as they reached a door in the back that Amir opened and led them through.

“It smells funny in here,” said Bethany.

“That’s because you’ve never smelled Indian spices before. I’ve made us some butter chicken and some naan,” said Amir.

“Just chicken with butter? And what’s naan?” asked Bethany.

“Come I’ll show you,” said Amir as they followed him to the back of the apartment to the kitchen. On the stove there was a large silver, metal pot that Amir walk toward and then lifted the lid. “Come look,” he invited.

Bethany and Helene obliged, and they could see chicken covered in a brownish sauce inside the pot as they peered into it. “Oh, I like chicken and gravy,” said Bethany.

“And here is the naan,” said Amir as he lifted a thin, white cloth from a plate on the counter.

“Oh, it’s just flatbread. I love bread!” said Bethany.

Amir placed the cloth back over the bread and as he did that, Bethany was distracted by a photograph on the wall just past the stove and near the kitchen table. It was a picture of Amir, although younger, smiling and standing next to a beautiful golden colored horse, with a blaze running down the length of its face. Bethany walked closer to the photo and said, “What’s wrong with that horse’s ears?”

“There’s nothing wrong with Apollo’s ears. He’s a Marwari horse, their ears are supposed to curve inward.”

“Mahr-wahr-ee? How do you spell that?” asked Bethany.

“M-a-r-w-a-r-i,” Amir answered.

“Marwari,” said Bethany softly to herself. “Apollo was beautiful, he was your horse?” asked Bethany.

“It’s a long story. Let’s discuss it while we eat supper,” said Amir as he began to scoop the butter chicken onto three plates. He handed one of the plates to Bethany and he carried the other two to the table. “Helene, could you get the water pitcher from the fridge and fill three glasses for us?”

Helene retrieved the Britta water pitcher from the fridge and poured water into the three glasses that Amir had already placed on the table. Amir placed the plate of naan on the table after having microwaved it for a few seconds to warm it.

The three of them sat down at the table, which had already been set with forks and napkins. Amir reached for the plate of naan and removed one of the flat breads before passing the plate onto Helene. He then ripped off a small piece of naan and used it to pick up some of the chicken and then began eating.

Bethany asked, “You’re not going to use a fork?”

“I’m eating in the traditional Indian way, but sometimes I use a fork too. I set the table with forks because I know that’s what your used to.”

Bethany copied his technique and used a piece of bread to eat the butter chicken. “I like eating this way,” she said.

“Well, I hope you two won’t be offended if I use a fork,” said Helene, smiling.

“Suit yourself, mom,” said Bethany.

Amir smiled at Helene and then turned his attention to Bethany. “Your mother tells me, that you got a job riding horses. I used to work on a horse ranch in India,” said Amir.

“You did? Is that where you met Apollo?” asked Bethany.

“Yes, he was a prized Marwari stallion in those days. I miss him very much.”

“What happened to him?”

“He left this world some time ago. That picture was from another time, many years before you were born. Tell me about your job,” finished Amir.

“Oh, I’m going to exercise racehorses for Orion Racing Stable. But I’m most excited about the beautiful filly, my mom and I saw running in the pasture today! No one has ridden her because they said she can’t race because she’s half Arabian. But Mr. Castillo said if I can win her trust, they’ll let me ride her one day!”

“Why can’t she race because she’s half Arabian?” asked Helene.

“Mr. Castillo says that the Jockey Club won’t allow horses that aren’t full Thoroughbred to race,” Bethany answered.

“That’s too bad because Arabians are excellent racehorses. They possess both speed and stamina. Marwari horses were infused with Arabian blood early in their history. According to legend, an Arabian ship containing seven Arabian stallions wrecked off the coast of India and were taken to the Marwar region to be used as bloodstock for the Marwari breed. The Marwari and Arabian horses are the most ancient breeds in the world, and both carried warriors into battle,” said Amir.

“Warriors! That’s so cool!” said Bethany.

“Very cool, indeed. My ancestors were Rajput warriors, so I believe I was born with a love for the Marwari horse,” said Amir.

“So, what is the filly’s name and why did a Thoroughbred ranch breed a half-Arabian in the first place?” asked Helene.

“Her name is Fyrestorm with a y, and Mr. Castillo said her mom jumped the fence and got bred by the black Arabian stallion next door,” answered Bethany.

“So, it was fate, that she was born and that you came into her life. I believe great things are on the horizon for you and Fyrestorm,” said Amir.

Timmy’s Best Friend

TimmyinfrontoftheRedBarn

 

            “Of course, I’ll help your little sister, Lucas,” said Antonia.

            “Thank you, Antonia. I knew I could count on you. Kobi will be so happy! She’s already in love with this horse.  I know you’re not running a boarding facility, but I’ll pay any monthly fees you require.”

            “Lucas, you’ve helped me on so many occasions, I owe you,” said a smiling Antonia face raised, looking into his hazel eyes. “I’ll expect some work out of her though,” Antonia continued, still smiling. 

            “Of course,” said Lucas looking down at her and smiling too. 

            Antonia reached out and took Lucas’s right hand in hers.  There was a strong bond between the athletic, bronze-skinned deputy and the lovely dark-haired lady from Brazil. Antonia broke the moment by stepping back and asked, “So when can I expect my new border?”

            Lucas cleared his throat and said, “I’ll call Strider and let him know you agreed, and they can go pick up the horse. They purchased him at the auction last night to save him from the “killer buyers.”

            “What breed is the horse?” asked Antonia.

            “He’s a thoroughbred. He apparently has a minor injury and was therefore deemed no longer useful by your neighbor, Kirk Robertson,” answered Lucas.

            Antonia frowned and said, “Horses are a lifelong responsibility. Just because they can’t be ridden anymore is no excuse to betray and abandon them.” Antonia’s fists tightened as she said it.

            “I knew you felt that way Antonia. You keep old Ambush around and even Timmy, who’s never been ridden. It’s one of the many things I admire about you,” he said smiling.

           

            It was late evening when the truck and trailer pulled into Kuhaylah Arabians. School was out for the day, so Gina was at the ranch and standing next to Antonia as they watched the truck pull the trailer up the long drive.

            “Let’s meet them at the small barn,” said Antonia as she started walking toward the small red barn on the corner of the property.  There were no horses in it at the moment. They had just been using it to store hay. 

            Antonia and Gina arrived at the front of the barn just as the truck was reaching the bend in the driveway right in front of it.  Antonia signaled to Strider to stop the truck. Strider had been driving the rig at a snail’s pace, but it was very dry and there was a slight breeze on this cool, crisp, autumn evening, so a little cloud of white dust wafted over them. Strider stepped out of the truck and was immediately joined by a slim, brown-skinned girl with black hair in braids as she slid out right behind him on the driver’s side, shutting the door behind her.

            “Hey Antonia,” said Strider as the new girl looked on. “This is Kobi Remington, Lucas Remington’s younger sister.”

            “Nice to meet you, Kobi,” said Antonia smiling.

            Timmy, the ever-curious golden pony, came trotting up from the big pasture to check out the new arrival.

            “Nice to meet you too,” answered Kobi. “And thank you so much for doing this. I really love this horse!”

            “I’m always willing to help a fellow horse lover! We are kindred spirits.”

            “Hi Kobi, nice to see you. How’s your friend, Bethany?” asked Gina.

            “She’s fine, I guess, I’m not really speaking to her right now, but I don’t want to talk about it,” said Kobi looking toward Gina, but she then turned toward Timmy, “What a cute pony.”

            “That’s Timmy, he’s the head of the welcoming committee at Kuhaylah Arabians,” laughed Antonia.

            As if on cue, Timmy walked straight up to Kobi and nuzzled her neck as she giggled.

            “He likes you,” said Antonia, “and he seems to like your charge too. Let’s get him out of the trailer.”

            The trailer was a small, white, two-horse affair. The horse was on the left, so Kobi opened the right rear door after lowering the ramp and stepped inside.  “It’s okay Charlie Brown, you’re safe now,” she said to the horse. He softly nickered to her as if he understood.

            Strider opened the left rear door after she reached the head of the horse.

            It was obvious Kobi had a bond with the horse because she just tugged back on the lead rope a little while lightly tapping on his chest and he began to slowly back out as she talked softly to him.

            He was a sight to see as he stepped out of the trailer into the evening sunlight. He was a well built, bay thoroughbred with a blaze running down his entire face. Kobi turned him around to face the group and said, “His name is Charlie Brown.”

            “Charlie Brown? What a weird name for a horse,” said Gina.

            “His sire is Big Brown, the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner,” said Kobi.

            “But unfortunately for him, he didn’t take after his sire. Too slow,” said Strider.

            Timmy walked up to Charlie Brown and they touched noses. They immediately bonded, no squealing or pawing at each other.

            “Looks like Timmy found himself a best friend. Let’s take him into the small barn and check him over,” said Antonia.

            Kobi began to lead Charlie Brown toward the barn and he limped a little on his front right leg.

            “Stop a moment, Kobi, so I can check out his leg,” said Antonia.

            “He has a suspensory ligament injury,” said Strider.

            Antonia walked up to the horse, bent down and placed her hand on his leg. “His leg does feel warm and there is a little swelling. It’s a common injury in horse racing, but it seems minor. Just a little stall rest, anti-inflammatories, and support bandages and he should be fine. Why was he sentenced to certain death?” asked Antonia.

            “Like I said, too slow. Orion Racing Stables has no room for a slow racehorse,” said Strider.

            Antonia’s body tensed with anger as she straightened back up. “Ridiculous! This horse would make an excellent dressage prospect. He’s young and healthy. Besides, animal ownership is a lifelong commitment!”

            “We knew you would feel that way,” said Strider with a smile.

            “What’s dressage?” asked Kobi.

            “It’s an elegant style of riding that this beauty would be well suited for. I used to compete on horses like this when I lived in Paris,” said Antonia.

            “Paris, Texas?” asked Kobi.

            Antonia laughed, “Paris, France.”

            “Paris, France?! Wow! Could you teach me dressage?” asked Kobi.

            “I can,” said Antonia, smiling and continued, “Let’s take Charlie Brown into the barn and get him settled for the evening.”

            Gina opened the white, metal gate to let Charlie and his entourage through to the small paddock area in front of the little, red barn. Timmy tried to bring up the rear, but Gina gently pushed him back and closed the gate. “Sorry buddy. You can see your new friend later,” she said as she rubbed his nose.

            Timmy stood guard at the gate as they all went inside the barn to help their new resident settle into his forever home.

           

Timmy and Charlie Playing Video

Pictures of Timmy and Charlie Brown:

 

 

 

Hard at Work on the Next #TimmyTale

WritingaTimmyTale

On the surface, writing seems like it would be easy. I mean, you just sit there in front of a computer or relax in a chair while you write in a spiral notebook… How hard could that be? It’s not like laying concrete in 90 degree heat after all.  Yet so many of us writers seem to find it so hard to do.

When I was in my twenties, I couldn’t understand where writers got their ideas. But now in “middle age” (I’m 54), I have more ideas than I can possibly put into book form in one lifetime, so that shuts me down.

too-many-choices-paralyzes-progress

Too many choices paralyses progress.  Here’s a good article on the subject:

Too Many Choices: Problems With Searching for an Extraordinary Life

And for me, it’s not just writing, but being interested in so many things (like I think a lot or writers are), such as; astronomy, artificial intelligence, physics, it goes on and on…

Unlike the guy in the article, I didn’t have a childhood with choices or support, in fact, I mostly just had to survive my childhood.  But now, I do have choices, which has become a problem.  So because I can’t choose, for now, I’m going to keep writing Timmy Tales or other horse related short stories and horse related articles, because one constant in my life has always been horses.  Not that I had them growing up, but I read everything I could get my hands on about them, fiction or non-fiction and I watched every movie and tv show that had horses whether or not I liked the show itself.

So for now, I choose horses (and all my other 4-legged loves).

Joey and Chandler approve of this post:

JoeyandChandlerwriterhelpers

Timmy and the Red Stallion

Timmyinthepasture (2)

 

            Gina and Flame galloped around the inside edge of the arena as if they were one.  It had taken several months for Gina to gain the confidence to even ride the magnificent red stallion, but Antonia had insisted.  At first Gina would only ride Flame if Antonia were present.  Antonia would stay on the ground in the arena and instruct Gina.  Eventually Gina gained the confidence to take Flame out on the trails and Antonia would ride her trusty gelding Blaze, so Flame would stay calm.  Flame and Blaze had a close bond because they were born within a month of each other at their original home in Dubai.  The half-brothers were a gift given to Antonia by a sheikh she had met during her time in Paris working for Louis Vuitton.

            Gina slowed Flame to a canter and reached down to pet his neck.  The summer sun reached through the open sides of the arena and caressed the crimson stallion’s coat, making his neck almost sparkle in its brilliance.  Gina had been so enchanted by Flame that she hadn’t noticed Antonia escort a man and teenaged boy into the barn.  She looked over to see the gate open on the barn side of the arena as she slowed Flame to a trot on the opposite side.  She tensed up when she saw the teenager was her classmate, Chet.  He followed along behind Antonia as she led Patriot, the gray son of Spirit, their resident black stallion, into the arena, while the man leaned on the outside of the red pipe fencing and watched.  Chet saw her at the same time and smiled.  Not a friendly smile, but more like a sneer.  He held is phone up and the sun reflected off it.  Flame was already tense because he reacted to the tense signals coming from Gina’ body.  Gina wasn’t prepared when Flame bolted, so when Flame ended up on the other end of the arena, she was left in the dust in their last location together.

            Chet started laughing.  Laughing at her, the way they always did at Dale City High… 

           

            A week had gone by and during that time the video had gone viral, well, viral among Dale City High students anyway.  Gina found herself where she often did after being subjected to the almost daily humiliation that was Dale City High.  She was crying into Timmy, the golden pony’s, neck while he silently consoled her.  She felt something press into her back and turned to find Flame offering his muzzle for a kiss.  His best friend, Blaze, watched the trio from a short distance away.

            Timmy was in the paddock with the two chestnut Arabians recuperating from an eye infection.  The brothers loved the pony because he had been their caretaker when they first arrived at the ranch to help them get adjusted.  Timmy had a knack for calming other horses and was often utilized for his “nursemaid” capabilities.

            “Gina!”

            Gina looked toward the paddock gate to see her friend, Strider Castillo. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and waved as she headed for the gate.

            Strider hugged her when she turned toward him after closing the gate.  Then he stepped back and looked at her face.

            “You’ve been crying.  Are you okay?” he asked.

            “I’m fine,” Gina lied.

            Strider wasn’t fooled.   He had known Gina all through high school.

            “It’s those bullies isn’t it?  That video going around Facebook?” he asked.

            Gina started crying again.  He held her again and said, “You have to stop this Gina.  When you let them get to you, they win.”

            Gina took a deep breath, stepped back and looked Strider in the eye and said, “That’s easy for you to say.  You’re starting college this year, so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.”

            “Exactly my point.  They’re nobody to us.  You just have one more year to deal with those losers,” said Strider.

            “I thought at least I’d get a break from them in the summer, but it seems like they’ll always be in my life.”

            “They won’t,” said Strider. “Trust me.”

            Strider and Gina walked into the barn to find Jalissa and Antonia feeding the horses. 

            Gina’s entire demeanor changed, and she called out, “Jalissa!” as she ran to her and swept her up in a big hug.

            The expression of pure joy on Gina’s face at seeing Jalissa was not lost on Strider.

            “Gina, why don’t you and Jalissa take the wheelbarrow and get some hay.  I’ll finish graining the horses,” said Antonia.

            Gina practically skipped off with Jalissa.

           

            The next morning Gina and Strider took Flame and Blaze out on the trails at the ranch.  They had been enjoying the clear, crisp morning trotting and loping the two brothers along the flat parts of the trails.  Now they rode side by side, talking as they headed back to the barn.

            “Gina, I’ve noticed the way you look at Jalissa,” said Strider.

            “What do you mean?” asked Gina.

            “I mean, it’s obvious you’re attracted to her.”

            “She’s beautiful.  Anyone would be attracted to her,” said Gina.

            “You know what I mean,” said Strider.

            “Look Strider, I’m happy for you. You know…that you’re out of the closet and all, but believe it or not some, no, most of the world is straight,” said Gina.

            Flame took a couple of high steps because he sensed Gina’s tenseness.  She relaxed a little, “Sorry boy,” she said to Flame as she reached down and rubbed the stallion’s neck.

            “Yeah, most of the world is straight, I guess.  But not you,”

            “Strider, just because I notice someone is pretty…well, it doesn’t mean anything.  And besides, I don’t want to go to Hell.”

            “So you think I’m going to Hell?” Strider laughed.

            “No, of course not.  You’re too nice, but I would…”

            “Now you listen Gina. I know you’ve been raised in this holy roller religious bullshit, but this is what I think.  God made me this way, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”

            Gina sighed and said quietly, “That’s beautiful.”

They rode the rest of the way to the barn in silence.  When they reached the outer, arena gate, they stopped and watched as Chet cantered Patriot around the arena.  Patriot rounded the far end and was then heading toward them.  When the graceful, gray gelding drew near their position and saw them, he slammed on the brakes.  Chet wasn’t ready for that, so he was launched in the air over the front of Patriot’s lowered head and landed on the floor of the arena hard.  He started crying.  Then he shouted, “Shut off that camera, faggot!”

            Gina looked over at Strider and saw his hand raised with phone in hand, obviously videoing the incident with a broad smile spread across the width of his chiseled brown face.

            For a moment Gina smiled too.  But then she reached over and pulled Strider’s arm down.

            “I don’t want to be like them, Strider,” said Gina.

            “But…,”

            Strider saw the sincerity in Gina’s eyes.  He put the phone in his pocket.

            “I love you, Gina,” said Strider.

            “I love you too,” said Gina.

           

           

         

BlazeandFlamePaddock
Blaze and Flame
Patriot Headshot
Patriot

 

 

Book Review-Joey by Jennifer Bleakley

Joey Book Cover

Joey is the biography of a horse, but not a famous horse like Man O’ War or Seabiscuit, just a regular horse that was saved from bad circumstances and in return rescued his rescuers.  Everyone who ever meets Joey can’t help but fall in love.  Joey had been a show horse early on, but after an injury ended his show career he was passed from owner to owner and eventually ended up in a neglectful situation, which often happens to horses who are considered no longer “useful”.  At some point during this time he went completely blind, which was probably due to malnutrition.

Along comes Kim Tschirret who has a dream to unite troubled horses with troubled kids and Hope Reins is born. Joey along with another Appaloosa, named Speckles, arrive together at the fledgling therapy horse ranch to be among the first group of horses to help troubled kids.  The volunteers at the ranch, along with Kim, learn as they go and have to face special challenges brought on by a blind horse like Joey.  The book is inspiring because they learn and adapt to Joey’s needs as well as the needs of the children entrusted to their care.

There is a strong Christian theme to this book, which I thought might be off-putting for me because I am not particularly religious; although I do believe in a higher power.  But, it’s actually heartwarming following the main players and how each of them addresses their individual faiths and hope in God and the miracle that is Hope Reins.

Warning; tears will be shed in the reading of this book.  Sometimes the tears will be because of sadness, but mostly because the book is heartwarming.  Reading this book strengthened my belief in the something more that all of us can have faith in and the ability of some people to truly access the goodness with themselves.  I highly recommend this book for horse lovers and anyone who wants further evidence that there is true kindness to be found amongst the humans.

This book was a gift from my beloved Franch horses:

Joey Inside Book Cover

Pretty sure my dear friend, Julz, helped them pick it out! 😉

“Good Writing is Hard Work”

good-writing-3Snoopy Comic

I think I have like twelve loyal followers and I love you all, so I wanted to let you know that I haven’t stopped writing, just been redirecting a bit. I am currently working on the third Timmy Tale, which will be titled “Timmy and the Filly” and I’ve officially started writing my novel which was originally going to be called, Fyrestorm, but I’ve now decided on, The Red Filly, to pay homage to the original Arabian horse everyone fell in love with, The Black Stallion. Here is a picture of my copy from the 1968 printing, complete with Half Price Books sticker (that I can’t get off without ripping the cover):

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So before I get back to work, here’s the revised synopsis for The Red Filly:

The first time Chelsea Resmon sees the red filly, Fyrestorm, galloping in the green pastures of Wisdom Ranch and Racing Stables, it’s love at first sight.  But Fyrestorm is an outcast at the ranch because of her bad bloodlines.  Half-Arabians aren’t suitable for horse racing Chelsea is informed.  Chelsea is an outcast at her high school, because she too is different. She can’t help but be drawn to Fyrestorm. Chelsea forms a bond with the filly  and begins to ride the magnificent filly in secret.  For the first time in her life, Chelsea feels empowered and like her life has meaning, but then an accident threatens to separate Chelsea and Fyrestorm forever.

Timmy Goes Missing-A Timmy Tale

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Gina loved the weekends because her mother often allowed her to stay at Kuhaylah Arabians from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. So instead of waking up on this Saturday morning to the sounds of her mom and current boyfriend arguing, she awakened to the smell of chicken apple sausage cooking. At her own home, she would have been lucky to find a decent brand of cereal and milk that was in date.  After her usual morning ritual of face washing and such, Gina wandered into the kitchen just as Renata was scrambling the eggs.

“Good Morning, Renata,” said Gina as she retrieved a couple of plates from the cabinet and carried them to the table.

“Good Morning,” said Renata.

The morning news was playing in the background on the small television on the kitchen counter as Gina finished setting the table and Renata finished cooking.  Gina helped Renata make the plates with eggs and sausage and Renata set another plate on the table with toasted English muffins that were already dripping with butter.  Renata turned to shut off the TV because she preferred talking during meals, when a breaking news story announced a missing boy.

The local news reporter, Nancy Hill, appeared on the screen.  All blonde hair and blue eyes…a walking cliché.

“A boy has gone missing,” she announced maintaining her serious reporter face as she continued.  “I’m here at Connie’s Creatures, a local petting zoo, where the search is underway for a five year old boy that disappeared from his church group who were here to visit the sweet farm animals as part of the Mother’s Day Out program that the church runs for single mothers.  The boy’s mother has just arrived,” said Nancy with a gleam in her eye.

Seconds later, Nancy Hill, was shoving a microphone in the face of the distraught young mother.

“That woman has no shame,” said Renata as she turned off the television.

“You know her?” asked Gina.

“She used to cover horse shows and the like.  She always loved it when someone was injured.  The more serious, the better.” Renata continued, “That animal farm is near here.  We need to help with the search after we feed the horses.”

Renata walked over to a side counter and picked up her iPhone.  “Go ahead and eat. I’m going to call Lucas.”

“Lucas Remington, the sheriff’s deputy you’re friends with?” asked Gina.

Renata nodded as she said, “Hello Lucas.  Yes, I heard.  We’re going to help with the search after we feed the horses.  Gina’s with me.  Okay, I’ll call you as soon as we’re done.  Let me know if you need horses to continue the search,” said Renata and then she clicked off the call and slid the phone in her pocket.

Gina had finished eating and was starting to clean up, but then Renata said, “We’ll clean up later.  Pull on your boots and let’s go.” She grabbed a chicken sausage with one hand and ate it as she opened the back door with the other and strode toward the main barn which housed the mares.  Gina came flying out the door behind her just after slipping her feet into her steel-toed cowboy boots, her barn boots as she called them.  Even in a hurry, Renata looked graceful in Gina’s eyes as she scrambled to keep up.

Several scoops of feed later, the mare’s barn was done, and they headed to the smaller stallion barn.  Spirit and his son, Flame whinnied in unison as Renata and Gina arrived at the barn.  Renata walked straight to Spirit and held the beautiful face the black stallion offered over the stall door in her hands, placing her forehead to his.   He became a kitten in her hands. It always looked to Gina as if they were communing telepathically.  She couldn’t help feeling jealous every time they did it.  Flame nickered softly to her.

“I know.  You want your feed,” Gina said quietly.  She walked to the feed bin, lifted the lid with one hand and grabbed a scoopful with the other.  She closed the lid after retrieving the scoop and then crossed the narrow barn aisle and entered Flame’s stall.  He immediately attacked the feed after she poured it in the corner feed bucket.  The sun was peeking through the small windows up high in the stalls and Flame’s bright red coat glistened with spots of gold and copper.  Gina couldn’t help wishing he was hers and she could one day share the same bond with him that Renata shared with Spirit.  Flame lifted his head from the feed, turned toward Gina and nuzzled her, but quickly returned to the feed bucket.

“He’s bonding with you,” said Renata, as if she were reading Gina’s mind.

“What do you mean? He just turned for a second,” said Gina.

“When a horse stops eating feed, one of their favorite things, to greet someone, that means they care about that person,” said Renata.

Gina took one more look at Flame before stepping out of the stall and allowed herself to imagine for a moment that he was truly hers.

“Ok, let’s go feed the retirees.  They’re already gathered up front,” said Renata, breaking Gina from her reverie.

Gina loved how Renata called the front pasture horses retirees.  They earned their retirement she always said.  The feed buckets for the pasture horses hung on the fence just east of the stallion barn, so they didn’t have far to walk.  Renata had poured feed into a wheelbarrow that she rolled over now as they walked toward the fence.  They both grabbed a scoop of feed and emptied them into a couple of buckets before wasting no time to scoop up some more feed.  This was a process that had to be done quickly to minimize the breakout of fights.  A few minutes later, all the horses were happily munching away in their individual buckets, but then Gina noticed one of the buckets had no one attending to it.

“Oh my gosh, Renata! Where is Timmy?!” Gina exclaimed.

“I just noticed that too,” said Renata.  “I’ll saddle up Spirit, you get Freedom from the other barn and we’ll ride out to find him,” said Renata.

Gina ran to the mares’ barn to get Freedom.  The seasoned mare had finished her feed and was happy to see Gina to take her out to the paddock as per the usual routine.  Gina slipped her halter on her in the stall and as she exited the stall, she turned right in the barn aisle to head to her paddock.

“Sorry girl.  We have to find Timmy first.  You’ll get to hang out with your paddock buddies later,” said Gina as she patted Freedom’s neck and then turned her the other way toward the saddling area.

Just a short time later, Gina met up with Renata outside the gate that led to the front pasture.  Renata on her black stallion, Spirit and Gina on the dependable chestnut mare.  Freedom was the first offspring of Spirit.  And like all his children, she was beautiful; fiery chestnut coat, flowing tail, blaze and all.

“Ok, let’s check the pond out front first,” said Renata and they cantered out together toward the pond.  What a sight they would have been to anyone watching.  Two petite women riding magnificent Arabian horses, running with tails held high.  One glistening black in the morning sun and the other flaming red.

Timmy was not at the pond, so they headed toward the gate that led to the back pasture.  It was open this time of year, so they cantered through single file, Renata leading the way on Spirit.  Kuhaylah Arabians was over two hundred acres in size, so the search was cut out for them.  They rode side by side on the main trail, walking now and watching and listening.

They both stopped in their tracks.  They heard the faint whinny at the same time.  Gina’s heart leapt into her throat, “Timmy’s alive!” she said out loud because she had feared the worst.  She loved that little golden pony so much.

Renata held up her hand, palm facing toward Gina.  She was listening intently.  Nothing.  So, she called out, “Timmy!”  There was another whinny in response to her query and this time stronger.  It came from in front of them, off to the right, deep amongst the trees.  Renata urged Spirit straight into a gallop from a dead stop.  Gina urged Freedom to follow.  The red mare wasn’t as fast as Spirit, but she willingly followed at a good clip.

They slowed to a trot as they left the trail to enter the thicket.  Halfway into the trees, Timmy came trotting up to them.  He seemed perfectly fine, so Renata said, “Timmy, you gave us a huge scare.  Come here!” Timmy looked at Renata and just as it was with Spirit, it appeared that they were communicating telepathically.  They continued to stare at each other for what seemed to Gina like several minutes, but in reality, was only seconds.  Timmy shook his head, blonde mane tossing about his neck, then turned on his heels and trotted deeper into the trees.  Renata followed without saying a word, so Gina followed too.

Timmy slowed to a walk as they entered a small clearing, so Renata and Gina slowed their mounts too.  Timmy had stopped in front of a lone tree in the clearing.  Renata and Gina had both been temporarily blinded by the morning sun.  Timmy stepped sideways, head down near the base of the tree and when Gina and Renata urged their horses a few steps forward into the shade of the great oak tree, they saw what Timmy was looking at.

The little boy stirred and placed his little hands on each side of Timmy’s soft muzzle and kissed his nose. “Hello horsey,” he said.

….

“We found the boy,” said Renata talking on her cell to Lucas. “He’s fine, just a few scratches and tired after his adventure,” she continued.

The little boy whose name was Caleb, he had informed them on the ride back to the house, was now munching happily on some leftover chicken apple sausage at the kitchen table.

“Ok, we’ll see you in a bit,” said Renata before setting down the cell phone.

Renata walked over and sat down at the table with Gina and Caleb.  “How are you feeling Caleb?” she asked.

“Great!” he answered with a mouthful of sausage.  “I love Timmy! He saved me! And I love Freedom too! I never got to ride a horse before! Can I ride Freedom by myself sometime? I mean, it was fun riding with Gina, but I wanna try on my own!” Somehow the boy was smiling, talking and eating all at the same time.  Gina and Renata looked at each other and smiled.

There was a knock at the back door.  Renata rose from the table and walked the few steps to the door, opening it and in stepped Lucas Remington, tall, dark and formidable in his deputy’s uniform.  He removed his hat as he entered, revealing the tight, jet-black, curls clipped closely to his head.  He was clean cut and smelled of leather and musk.  Gina always had a hard time talking to him because of his great beauty.

“Hi Lucas,” Gina managed.

“Hello, Gina,” he said before turning his attention toward Renata.  His face softened when he gazed at Renata, and Gina wished that someone would look at her like that someday.

“Hello Lucas,” Renata said smiling.  “It’s good to see you as always.”

Lucas smiled at her and then turned toward the boy, his face all business again. “How you feeling, Caleb?” he asked.

“Awesome!” said Caleb, now munching on an English muffin.

“That’ good to hear,” said Lucas now smiling at the boy.  Lucas reached out his hand and said, “Let’s go see your mom now, she’s been worried sick,”

“Okay,” said Caleb getting up from the table and grabbing another English muffin on his way out.

“I’ll call you later Renata and let you know how things went,” said Lucas as he turned to leave, holding Caleb’s hand.

Caleb stopped and turning toward Renata asked, “Can I come back and ride Freedom one day?”

“I would like that Caleb,” said Renata.  “Lucas, give my number to his mother, will you?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am,” said Lucas, tipping his hat and smiling warmly at her, before turning and stepping out the door with Caleb in hand.

After they drove off in the squad car, Gina asked, “Why don’t you go out with him, Renata?  He’s obviously in love with you.”

Renata had her back to Gina as she continued to look out the kitchen window even though the car was no longer in sight, but then she turned toward Gina and for a split second the sun caught in her eyes and Gina noticed a slight shimmer, as if Renata were holding back tears. But that wasn’t possible Gina thought, because Renata was always strong, never emotional.

“Gina, we need to turn out the mares,” Renata said as she turned and opened the back door, stepping out as she said it. Her voice was strong as always, no hint of sadness or longing. Gina followed her out the back door without another word.

Bargain Table Horse Books and Arabians

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It seems that every horse coffee table book I’ve ever picked up from a book store bargain table always includes Arabian horses.  I started thinking about this because I was disappointed that the book pictured above doesn’t contain one of my favorite breeds, Marwari.  But then I thought, well, I guess it would be pretty impossible to include every breed of horse in every coffee table book.  But then I thought further and realized they always include Arabians.  (At least the ones I’ve seen.)

This book even has one section completely devoted to them:

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While the rest of the breeds are grouped into categories:

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A quote from the book: “With his tiny curved ears, large liquid eyes, extravagantly dished face and luxurious mane and tail, the Arabian is the horse of dreams.”

Another quote: “This beautiful ancient breed is thought to go as far back as 3000BC and has strongly influenced many of today’s more modern breeds of horse.”

I’ve been aware for some time that the Arabian horse influenced many other breeds, most notably the thoroughbred through the three foundation stallions;

The Byerley Turk:

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The Byerley Turk by John Wootton

The Darley Arabian:

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The Darley Arabian stallion painting by John Wootton

And the Godolphin Arabian (my personal favorite):

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The Godolphin Arabian, by George Stubbs

(I’ll write more about these three Arabians in another post.)  I was surprised to learn that Arabians also directly influenced the American Quarter Horse.  Growing up in Texas, it always seemed that Quarter Horse owners and Arabian owners are of different mindsets.  It still seems that way actually. So other than a little Arabian blood coming through to the American Quarter Horse via early Thoroughbred foundation stallions, I had no idea that there were full blooded Arabians among the early Quarter Horses until I read an article in the December 2018 issue of Equus that mentioned two Crabbet-bred Arabians who were direct sire-line descendants of Mesaoud, one of the foundation sires of the Crabbet Arabian Stud in England.

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Mesaoud at Crabbet Park

The stallions were Astraled and Ribal:

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I never tire of learning about Arabian horses and their influence on other breeds and their appearance throughout human history.  I have much more to learn about the Arabian horse, but as in everything I love, I am a life-long learner.  I welcome comments and additional information as I know this blogpost just barely scratches the surface. I’m learning as I write!