Friday, January 3, 2014

Conversations With Horses

Introducing a guest post by my friend Trisha Wooldridge, who has a great new Middle Grade book out.

Conversations with Horses and other Adventures
By Trisha J. Wooldridge

I'm not sure which of my many equine-related injuries prompted my mom to send me a scan of this old photo with an email saying how I was always "horse crazy."

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.


The Kelpie is available through all online and brick & mortar bookstores, big box or your favorite independent store.

About the Book:

The Kelpie on Amazon
The Kelpie at Barnes & Noble
ISBN: 978-1-937053-78-9
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-937053-79-6

Appropriate for ages 11 and up
Price: $7.95

About the Author:

T. J. Wooldridge is a professional writing geek who adores research into myth, folklore, legend, and the English language. Before delving full-time into wordsmithing, she has been a tutor, a teacher, an educational course designer, a video game proofreader, a financial customer service representative, a wine salesperson, a food reviewer, an editing consultant, a retail sales manager, and a nanny. While infrequent, there are times she does occasionally not research, write, or help others write. During those rare moments, she enjoys the following activities: spending time with her Husband-of-Awesome, a silly tabby cat, and two Giant Baby Bunnies in their Massachusetts home hidden in a pocket of woods in the middle of suburbia, reading, riding her horse in the nearby country stables and trails (not very well), reading Tarot (very well), drawing (also not very well), making jewelry (pretty well), making lists, and adding parenthetical commentary during random conversations. She also enjoys dressing up as fey creatures, zombies, or other such nonsense at science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions.


  1. Horses are beautiful animals. We used to own a few quarter horses. Race a couple of them. Our middle son was a jockey for a while and he was injured and had to stop riding. Sometimes he talks about having horses again. I wouldn't complain. :) A horse has even appeared in a couple of my novels. They are intelligent animals. Love them. Your book sounds great for young horse fans. Best of luck to you, Trisha.

  2. Thank you, Beverly! :) Horses are fun even if you can't ride them...I still regularly do ground work with my Calico, especially in the current crappy weather, and it's still an amazing experience!