Conversations with Horses and other Adventures
By Trisha J. Wooldridge
In any case, it's not terribly surprising to most who know me that my first published novel included a lot of equine content. Nor that it was entitled after a faerie horse known for eating children and being destructive. I mean, even my chiropractors consider the weird horse-related adjustments as norm, now.
Before I even started writing The Kelpie, I was a volunteer for the Bay State Equine Rescue, a non-profit that helps abused, neglected, and abandoned horses through education and direct intervention.
While the title character in the novel can "talk," the non-magickal horses who populate the world of my heroine, Heather MacArthur, also get their points across, too. Because horses do communicate. They're always communicating...they understand each other very well, and most of them do their best to learn ways to communicate with the humans who populate their world.
My experience with the rescue helped me craft the "conversations" with the equines in my stories. When I was regularly volunteering and doing barn chores, part of the responsibility was to work and handle the horses. That included all grooming and exercising. I couldn't ride the horses for a number of reasons, but I could do "ground work" with them. I hadn't even realized "ground work" was a thing. And it was awesome! Whether I was teaching them basic manners ("No, you do not walk OVER the human on the other end of the rope!"), exercising them to help build lost muscle, or even learning a few tricks from them ("Silly human, this is how you play tag!"), we were learning to communicate.
I also turned to a lot of research (a writer researching? Never!) from books, clinics, and online videos and lessons. One particular bit of research, from Monty Roberts's book, From My Hands to Yours, I learned about the unusual--and very creepy!--posture that stallions take when they threaten each other.
All of that experience funneled into my writing, right from page one, when the horse Heather and her best friend, Joe, are riding starts acting up. And the two get caught in the middle of a fight with their horse and the kelpie.
So, while my goal in working with Bay State Equine Rescue was to help horses and satisfy my own need to be around the amazing animals, they ended up helping me beyond measure. But that's the nature of a good relationship. Especially horses. Both humans and horses give, and both human and horse receives exponentially more from the relationship. Whether it was a horse I only knew for a few weeks or the wonderful horse I decided to adopt and care for the rest of her years, we teach each other well and forever change each others' lives.
While I'm spending more time with my own Calico Silver in her barn than out at the BSER barn, I want to continue supporting the rescue through my writing, so a percentage of every sale of The Kelpie will be donated to the Bay State Equine Rescue.
About the Book:
Appropriate for ages 11 and up
About the Author: