The Red Filly-a Novel in the Making

FyrestormRunning

So I started the Coursera course, Write Your First Novel, to hopefully guide me through completing a novel.  Like most writers, I’ve started many and never finished one.  Anyway, since I’m working quite a bit right now (I’m a pharmacist), I’m plugging away at it on my off days.

First assignment was to create the idea for your novel. I already had the idea, but the course helped me write a better synopsis I think:

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.

The next assignment was to create a logline, which is only one sentence and has specific elements to it’s structure. I always struggle with these one sentence descriptions, but here goes:

An ostracized teenage girl captures the love and trust of wild red filly who she hungers to ride to victory before the naysayers can vanquish her dreams.

And the last assignment for week 1 was to create a dramatic question. I first came up with this, which is too vague:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite all the obstacles in their way?

So I changed it to this:

Will Chelsea and Fyrestorm achieve victory despite her mom and Strider forbidding Chelsea to ride the filly after a disastrous accident?

The course is 26 weeks long, I hope to have a rough draft of a novel when finished and I’m going to blog about my journey as I go.

For those who want to join the course here’s the link:

Write Your First Novel

For those who want to join my little writing group, here’s the link:

Scribbling Dreamers

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 Renata had insisted. At first Gina would only ride Flame if Renata were present. Renata would stay on the ground in the arena and instruct Gina. Eventually Gina gained the confidence to take Flame out on the trails and Renata 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 Renata 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 Renata 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 Renata 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 Renata 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 Renata.

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. Ya 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 the stallion.

“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?” laughed Strider.

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

“Now you listen, Gina. I know you’ve been raised on 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! 😉

Timmy and the Filly-A Timmy Tale

Timmy7.7.19

 

When Renata and her friend, Jalissa, had first spotted the black Arabian stallion, Spirit in his ten-acre paddock, his head was down as he sipped water from the scenic pond near its center. He was standing beneath a willow tree with his faithful gelding, Ambush, by his side. It was like a scene from a movie…so beautiful, so serene. Jalissa felt the moisture in her eyes and cleared her throat, just as Renata whistled to the stallion.

Spirit’s head shot up at the sound of Renata’s whistle. He was every bit as stunning as the black stallion from the movie the young women both loved so much. Spirit turned on his heel and galloped toward the two women standing at the fence. Ambush ran behind him. Spirit slowed to a trot and the bay gelding managed to catch up staying at the gallop, and then he too slowed to a trot.

As they both watched Spirit trot toward them with tail held high, Jalissa cleared her throat again and said, “He’s magnificent, Renata.”

“Thank you, Jalissa,” said Renata.

“I won’t lie, Renata. I’m a little jealous,” laughed Jalissa.

“Jalissa, I love you and I would never want you to feel jealous. I want you to share in my joy. I was so happy when my best friend called from New York and told me she was coming to Dallas to start her own law firm,” said Renata.

“Best friend? Oh, you mean me,” laughed Jalissa.

The two women hugged, both laughing. Spirit snorted, reached over the fence and pressed his lips to Renata’s head and then Jalissa’s. They broke apart laughing once more and Spirit drew back his head, snorting again.

“See Jalissa, Spirit approves,” said Renata.

Now Ambush wanted to be part of the celebration too, so he softly nickered and shoved his head toward the women. Spirit stepped aside, ever respectful of the older gelding. Renata placed both hands on Ambush’s cheeks and kissed him on the nose, “Oh sweet, Ambush, we would never forget you,” she said.

“C’mon Jalissa, let’s go to the house, I want you to meet my protégé, Gina Targoff. And then I have a surprise for you,” said Renata. She then whistled three short bursts in the direction of the stallion barn and two Anatolian Shepherds appeared from deep inside it. They must have been napping because they stretched their legs for a couple of steps and then came running with tails wagging.

“Meet Ralph and Lauren,” said Renata.

“Jalissa laughed, “Of course that’s what you named them. Still missing your days in Paris, at Louis Vuitton?” asked Jalissa.

“Those were good days, Jalissa, but this place is my destiny,” answered Jalissa in a serious tone, but still smiling.

The two women looked at each other for a moment and then Renata, turned and headed toward the house with Ralph, Lauren and Jalissa falling into step beside her.

 

“Gina,” Renata called out as she opened the back door leading to the kitchen and she with her entourage in tow stepped in.

“I’m here,” said Gina, stepping around the corner hopping as she pulled on her other boot.

Gina stopped in mid boot pull when Jalissa stepped from behind Renata. Gina had always thought Renata was beautiful, but Jalissa was breathtaking and at least ten years younger than Renata. Her black hair tumbled down past her shoulders in loose waves. Her skin was the color of mahogany and her eyes were emeralds. Her tiny t-shirt which bore the name of Renata’s fashion label, bigshotcowgirl, exposed the slightest midriff. She wore jeans that accented her hips and a very fit, gluteus maximus. A pair of red leather boots engulfed the lower part of her jeans to finish out the ensemble.

“Hello, Gina. I’m Jalissa Green,” said Jalissa.

Gina managed to regain control of her jaw and said, “Hello, nice to meet you.”

Suddenly, they heard a shrill whinny. Ralph and Lauren ran to the back door, whining and scratching at it. Renata opened it and the dogs blasted out the door toward the sound. The whinnying continued…more frantic. It was coming from the paddock nearest the front pasture, northwest of the house.

“That’s one of the broodmares!” said Renata as she bolted toward the gunrack in the hall and grabbed her shotgun. “Let’s go Gina!” she said as she headed out the side door to the garage.

“I’m coming too!” said Jalissa, running out the door behind them and jumping into the back of Renata’s jeep.

“Gina, you drive!” commanded Renata as she jumped into the passenger side, shotgun in hand.

The key was already in the ignition, so Gina started the jeep and shot out the back of the open garage.

The tires squealed a little as she put the jeep in drive and peeled out of the driveway. They sped over the cattle guard and then Gina wheeled the jeep a sharp right toward the commotion in the front pasture.

They all gasped. “My god!” said Jalissa.

At the top of the hill, they saw a baby black horse surrounded by three coyotes and her frantic mother, a chestnut, Arabian mare, running along the other side of the paddock fence, screaming. The baby was crying too, but could barely be heard over the mother’s frantic cries. As they sped toward the calamity, they saw Timmy, the golden pony, gallop up and start kicking one of the coyotes and then as if on cue, Ralph and Lauren burst onto the scene. Those coyotes didn’t have a chance. They were outgunned and they knew it. So as if they were connected telepathically, all three of them sped off at once. Ralph and Lauren took off after them, but Timmy was standing with the baby as they arrived at the scene. Renata jumped from the jeep, shotgun at the ready before Gina brought it to a complete stop. She strode toward Timmy who stood protecting the trembling filly. Mom was still running the fence line whinnying frantically.

Gina and Jalissa were now by Renata’s side. Gina put her arms around Timmy’s neck, and he nuzzled her while Renata ran her fingers over the baby, checking for injuries. Finding no injuries, Renata stroked the baby’s neck and said, “You’re okay, little Sapphire. That was a close call.” Then Renata called out to the mare, “Rose, your little girl is okay.”

The chestnut mare, continued to trot along the fence, upset that her filly was not by her side.

Gina and Jalissa were now consoling the filly too, as Timmy sauntered off into the pasture, grazing again as if this had all been a normal day in the life of a plucky, little pony.

Renata stood up and said, “Okay guys, help me herd this little girl back into the paddock and reunite her with mom. There’s a small gate just a little down the fence row, we’ll get her back in through there. Renata began to coax the filly toward the gate, while Gina and Jalissa brought up the rear, tapping the filly’s rump from time to time. The process wasn’t too difficult because the filly was drawn to her mother’s cries.

As they watched the filly trot toward her mother’s side after encouraging her through the gate, Jalissa said, “She’s beautiful, Renata.”

“I’m happy you think so, Jalissa. She’s yours. She’s the surprise I was talking about,” said Renata.

The filly trotted back toward the fence as if to thank them. Jalissa bent down to touch her face and as she was tracing the star on Sapphire’s forehead with her finger she said, “Renata, this is too much. I can’t accept this gift.”

“She’s not a gift,” laughed Renata. “You have to work for her.   You have to help Gina and me at the ranch, when you’re not too busy with your law firm, of course,” Renata winked as she said it.

Jalissa stood up, tears in her eyes, and faced Renata. The two women embraced as Gina looked on. “I love you, Renata,” said Jalissa.

“I know,” said Renata.

“Gina, come join this love fest,” said Jalissa, reaching out to her with one arm.

Gina joined their embrace. She shed tears too because she had never felt such love before in her life.

“We three are a team,” said Renata. “Team Olympic Spirit, in honor of the legacy of our beloved black stallion!”

AV Olympic Spirit
AV Olympic Spirit-The Black Stallion
Ambush
Ambush
Rose
Rose
Ralph and Lauren
Ralph and Lauren

“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):

IMG_5026

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

Timmyoutontheland

 

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!

Timmy and the Girl-A Timmy Tale

Just for fun I’m going to write a series of short stories centered around my little rescue horse, Timmy. Here’s the first one, and some characters from these stories will end up in my Fyrestorm novel. Timmy is just so cute I felt compelled to write stories about him too! Hope you guys like it!

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Timmy

 

Gina shimmied under a low spot beneath the white, pipe fence separating the front pasture of Kuhaylah Arabians from the road, and the pony trotted right up to her as always. She pulled the carrot from her pocket and, not wasting any time, he took the entire treat in his mouth before the rest of the herd noticed. The pony was the smallest of the bunch and not a purebred, like the rest of them. He was a cutie though, a beautiful coppery, golden color, with a dishwater blonde mane and tail and a jagged, white, blaze running the full length of his face to the tip of his nose. And on this lovely Spring day, his slick coat glistened in the sun. The pony didn’t leave after he finished the carrot, but stayed with Gina. She was drawn to him because she was an outsider in her circles too. And, like him, she had dishwater blonde hair, although it was cuter on him in her opinion. Gina felt less than cute with her skinny body, flat chest and long, stringy, often tangled, hair.

Gina spoke softly to the pony, rubbing his neck and scratching his cheek, the way he liked. “I love you little boy, I wish I could stay here with you,” she said as she started to cry. She hugged his neck as the events of the previous day came crashing back into her brain.

 

“We have to add Gina Targoff to the list,” Chet whispered.

“Of course! She should be at the top!” responded Carrie, in a louder whisper. Chet, Carrie and their minions all giggled.

Gina was keeping her head down, pretending to read whatever textbook she had opened in front of her. She refused to cry; she would not show them weakness. Even though Gina knew they were whispering loud enough for her to hear on purpose. Dale City High School was almost a daily exercise in humiliation. She fought back the tears though…

“Yeah Gina is definitely the ugliest girl in the school,” said Chet.

They all laughed again.

 

The golden pony put his head on Gina’s shoulder as if he was trying to comfort her. She hugged him tighter and just let the tears flow until there were no more, but she continued to hug him, just taking in his horsey scent and allowing it and the quiet to calm her mind.

“Timmy has really taken to you,” said a voice behind Gina. One with the slightest hint of an accent, an accent from another country though, not rural Texan as Gina had grown accustomed to.

Gina straightened and jumped back a step from the pony in one quick move.

“I’m sorry. I know I’m not supposed to be here,” said Gina looking up at the woman astride a black, Arabian stallion, solid black save a small white star on his forehead.

“Come closer girl,” said the woman.

Gina walked toward her and saw that she was probably around her father’s age. She was attractive, with an exotic look about her. She had her long brown hair pulled back with a black velvet scrunchy. But then Gina’s eyes were drawn back to the horse. So much like the black stallion she had read about, except the one in the books was solid black. But this stallion before her had the same wild look of the one in the books; thick black mane, forelock blowing in the breeze about his face, and a thick, flowing tail. He pranced about a bit and snorted a couple of times. The woman said something to him that Gina couldn’t quite hear, and he settled down.

“What is your name?” asked the woman.

“Gina…Gina Targoff,” Gina answered. “Please don’t have me arrested. I’ll never come on your property again.”

The woman laughed. But in a lilting way, not in a, you’re damn right you’re going to jail, kinda way.

“I was actually thinking of offering you a job. I’ve watched you with Timmy. You two have formed quite a bond.”

“Timmy, a cute name, for a cute little boy!” said Gina.

The woman laughed again. “My name is Renata Silva and I am the owner of this ranch. So, what about the job?” Renata asked.

“I don’t know anything about horses or ranches,” Gina answered.

“Do you know how to drag a water hose or carry buckets?”

“Umm, yes…” answered Gina.

“Okay, good. We’ll start with that.”

Gina jumped when something firm and soft rubbed the small of her back. She spun around and little Timmy nuzzled her chest.  Gina reached out and stroked his face.

“He loves you and trusts you. You’re a natural with horses,” said Renata.

“He’s so sweet. May I ask how he came to be here among…” began Gina.

“…among all these purebred Arabians?” said Renata finishing her sentence.

“Well…yes. Is it rude to ask?” said Gina.

Renata laughed again. A sound like music to Gina. “No, it’s not rude, Gina. He was my horse, when I was a young girl in Brazil. The story of how he and I came to be here in this small north Texas town is a long one,” Renata said with a smile on her face. “Spend a little more time with Timmy and then head up to the big house and I’ll show you around,” said Renata as she wheeled her black stallion around and galloped up the hill toward the house.

Gina watched the beautiful woman in control of such a magnificent animal and couldn’t help wishing that could be her one day. She turned back to Timmy and gave him a hug. “Did you hear that boy? Now I can see more of you and no more sneaking around!” One of the chestnut Arabian mares had come closer, curious about this skinny, young girl in the big pasture. Timmy laid back his ears and turning on a dime chased her off as if to say, “This is my girl!”

Gina laughed, for the first time since she could remember. It had been a long, emotional journey from Dallas to Dale City. Even though they were only an hour apart, they were years apart in cultures, and the students of Dale City High did not respond well to a newcomer. For the very first time in a long time, Gina felt like she was where she belonged.

 

 

 

 

 

Al Khamsa (The Five)

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Al Khamsa by Karen Kasper

All modern Arabian horses are said to descend from five original mares.  There are many versions of the story of Al Khamsa, but the one that seems to be the most popular is the one in which it is said that after a long journey, Mohammed released his band of horses to drink water at an oasis, but then blew his battle horn and only five of the mares stopped and returned to their master in spite of their great thirst.  The legend goes that these five mares were chosen to be the foundation mares for the Arabian breed because of their loyalty to their master.

The five strains named after these mares are, Keheilan, Seglawi, Abeyan, Hamdani, and Hadban, or various spellings there of.

In her book, The Classic Arabian Horse, Judith Forbis tells an albeit less magical story about the origin of the five mares in which several tribes from Yemen come to visit the prophet Mohammed and present him with “five magnificent mares, belonging to five different races of which Arabia was then said to boast.” In her version, Mohammed steps out of his tent, caresses them and says, “Blessed be ye, O Daughters of the Wind.”

Also in Forbis’s book she states that Carl Raswan, who was a well known historian of early Egyptian Arabians and lived among Arab tribes for over a decade, did not acknowledge all five strains.  “Raswan divided the Arabian breed into three main strains,…Saklawi was representative of feminine elegance, grace, and refinement, while Kuhaylan, signified masculinity, strength, boldness and power.  The Muniqi strain was of a racier build, usually more developed in the forehand and lighter behind.”

The Al Khamsa may be stuff of legend, but according to alkhamsa.org, “Any horse in North America that Al Khamsa, Inc. believes, after study, to descend entirely from Arabian horses bred by the nomadic Bedouin horse breeding-tribes of the Arabian Peninsula is an Al Khamsa Arabian.”

Franch Horse Spotlight-Just Touch

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The passage that follows my little intro was written by Lisa Vaughan Carter about her beloved horse, Just Touch. Touch is the oldest horse at The Franch at the ripe old age of 30, but doesn’t look a day over 9! He is a sweet boy and I love bringing him in to the barn for the evening on Sundays! I remember telling Lisa when I first met her that I liked the “cut of his jib”! He’s a special horse with a special owner, who has provided him with a wonderful forever home at The Franch!

The story of Just Touch: I’ve always loved horses. I never owned one as a child but, always wanted to. When I was 29 my boyfriend told me I needed to “get a hobby”. I thought about what I loved to do the most, I remembered how much I loved riding horses as a kid. I started taking horseback riding lessons, which gave me the bug. I got rid of the boyfriend and bought my first horse. I found a beautiful 14yo solid black, with a white star, Tennessee Walking Horse named Just Touch.  I had no idea what I was doing; I learned some very hard lessons about horseback riding and caring for a horse. He was a very good teacher and I landed on my butt quite a few times those first few years. Touch has always been a stoic solitary guy. He has had many friends who adored him but, he never seemed to care much who was around. We had so many adventures together. We traveled to Oklahoma, Arkansas and all over Texas to ride the trails together. Unfortunately, when Touch was 26 he was diagnosed with EPM. We treated him for 6 months and I made the difficult decision, for his safety and mine, to quit riding him permanently. He now loves retirement, at 30 years old. I have loved having him in my life for the past 16 years. He gives me a sweet subtle whinny when he sees me coming, not too loud so no one thinks he is too excited to see his mama. I cherish each day I have with this sweet horse.

 

Lisa and Touch:

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