A Jules Quote in a Surprising Place

I was looking for book quotes the other day for some project or another, when I saw my name pop up. Now, I was a good five pages into the Google search at this point, digging a lot deeper than most people will ever bother, so I’m not entirely surprised that I never saw this quote before.

I am a little surprised no one ever told me about it (maybe the person who lifted the quote from my book?) but I confess I don’t know the protocol in these situations.

Anyway, I click this link and it’s a full PDF of the October 2014 issue of America’s Horse. 

Now, I’m sweating a little. America’s Horse is the publication of the American Quarter Horse Association. My first horse was a quarter horse, but I’ve been writing about Thoroughbreds and their basic superiority to all over creatures on earth for a while now, and I’m trying to think if I’ve said anything too pretentious about quarter horses in any of my books. I think Jules might have gotten cute about them at some point.

I am hoping she did not get too cute.

So I flick through the pages of this magazine and find a section devoted to equestrian quotes. There’s a very pretty line from Tolstoy, Anna Karenina. There’s a sage paragraph from D. Wayne Lukas, who started out in quarter horse racing before he moved onto completely reshape the face of American Thoroughbred racing. And then there’s some of the opening lines from Ambition.

Right in the middle, sandwiched between old Tolstoy, a Western Dressage person, and Mr. Lukas.

What an odd place to find not just a few lines from your book, but a few cute, introductory sentences…. nothing deep about the emotional state of a horsewoman in crisis, nothing introspective about the inexplicable bond between horse and human as they gallop together through an uncaring world… just a little moment as Jules regards the horse she loves.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 9.51.06 AM

I like those lines. I like the way they reflect how precious Dynamo is to Jules — so precious she keeps him in her sight as much as possible, not even allowing the darkness to invade his paddock at night. I like to think about his prickly whiskers scratching at her neck, and the goosebumps that would raise along her upper arms in response. I like to think about all the times I’ve sat in front of a horse’s stall, leaned my head back against the wall, and just dreamed.

I like that someone at America’s Horse thought the same way.

 

Heart Horses

I was messing about on the Internet (like we’re all doing, all the time, it seems), and stumbled upon the Kindle pages for each of my books. This isn’t the sales page, but a page where readers’ public comments and highlights show up. It’s a collection of everyone’s favorite lines and scenes.

Most of the books had a few different passages highlight, but Turning For Home, my 2015 novel about retiring and retraining a beloved racehorse, had just one passage highlighted — over and over again. I was struck by how many people found that one sentence so relatable.

The most-highlighted passage in my novel Turning For Home

The most-highlighted passage in my novel Turning For Home

The phrase “heart horses” turns up a lot nowadays. These are the horses who grab hold of us even when we’re trying to make business decisions, or trying to move on with our lives. The heart horses are the ones we can never, ever forget — our connection was too deep. I’ve definitely had two horses who meant the world to me, out of the dozens whom I simply enjoyed, or rode, or made friends with.

Looks like a lot of you have had heart horses, too.

5 Posts on Every Equestrian’s Facebook Wall

If you’ve ever mentioned your equestrian hobby on Facebook, you know that every post, meme, and article to ever mention a horse is coming your way. Five year old article about Budweiser Clydesdales? You’ll get it every three months. That picture of the Australian soldiers formed up to make the shape of a horsehead? At least semi-annually.

People love us and they want to show they care about us by sharing information about our obsession, and that’s sweet, and I do appreciate it, really. But every now and then, you see that one ridiculous post for the forty-seventh time and you…. 

…you write a blog post about it.

Here are the top 5 posts appearing on my wall (and your wall!) year after year, without fail.

Number 1: THE 52 FREE THOROUGHBREDS!! It has been so long since the 52 free Thoroughbreds were rehomed, most of them have probably died of old age. Even the ones who were only foals of the time. And yet like lovebugs in April and a panic about frost in January (I live in Florida, remember?) the 52 Free Thoroughbreds post returns from its hibernation to haunt us again and again.

A version of the original 52 Free Thoroughbreds post.

A version of the original 52 Free Thoroughbreds post

I believe the 52 Free Thoroughbreds found shelter within a few days of the original post, thanks in part to the incredible efficiency of the Facebook share and the passion of certain social media-savvy equestrians, who are always ready to come forward and step up when horses are in need of help. But while Thoroughbreds surely still go through every Sugarcreek auction, the Internet remains on the alert, ready to save these 52 horses of history.

A PSA

A PSA

Number 2: It spells HORSE! We all have our taste in horses. Some people like spots. Some people like plain bays. I’m in the plain bay camp, although I’ll drop everything for a flashy red chestnut, too. This horse immediately gets a pass from me because of his all-pink nose and that disdainful hint of white sclera in his eyeball — hey, I’m picky, it’s a personal preference. However, that’s not what most people look at…

That would be weird markings for any horse, even if there weren't letters on its side.

That would be weird markings for any horse, even if there weren’t letters on its side.

No it doesn’t. Somewhere in between the 52 Free Thoroughbreds and “That moment when you realize it spells ‘horse,'” I learned to start checking every meme I saw for truth. Which is how I found out it doesn’t spell “horse.” It’s just a paint horse.

It doesn't say "horse," according to Snopes.

It doesn’t say “horse,” according to Snopes.

I actually see the appeal of the real-life version of the horse, although I still wouldn’t want to scrub all that white after he’s had a lie-down in his messy stall overnight. That moment when you realize it says “urine,” more like.

Number 3: The Horsehead Wreath. Who originated the horsehead wreath? This little piece of craftmanship is a prime example of the Internet’s penchant for petty theft, because if the original creator of this bundle of evergreen and ribbon had somehow watermarked their photos, copyrighted their design, and started a website selling them, they’d be rich. I assume. Because when you google horsehead wreath, it’s everywhere.

I never even have time to hang up a round wreath, but if you have the time to make this, go for it.

I never even have time to hang up a round wreath, but if you have the time to make this, go for it.

It’s not a subject for Snopes or anything, I mean, it exists, I just find it funny how many times I get tagged in this and similar photos every Christmas.

Number 4: The Horses Under Table and Chairs. First off, this is a terrible horse shelter. I has no walls. What if it’s windy? This farmer was clearly insane.

Horses under Table and Chairs

Horses under Table and Chairs, Theoretically Because Their Farmer Outsmarted Local Government, Those Buffoons! 

Second off, it gets posted under some song and dance about a farmer needing to build a horse shelter and getting denied a permit, so he built a table and chairs. This little piece of libertarianism brought to you by the Internet. It’s not a political statement, it’s just an unusual billboard for a lumber business. Thanks, Snopes.

You probably do need a permit to build an advertisement made of a giant table and chairs in your pasture, anyway. And it’s probably harder to get than a regular run-in shed permit would be. Just thinking as I type here.

Number 5: The Most Beautiful Horse in the World. Ai-yi-yi. Where do I even start with this mess. Let’s look at the horse (you’ve all seen it anyway).

The So-Called Most Beautiful Horse in the World

The Most Beautiful Horse on This Industrial Dock

I know Akhal-Tekes are special and ancient and the greyhound of the Spice Road or whatever, but this… special, special, special horse… is not the most beautiful horse in the world. Its strange Soviet-Bloc-photo shoot was picked up by Buzzfeed and their hyperbolic-by-design writer called it that because oooooh shiny gold horse! And while I cannot deny the genetic genius of a metallic-colored horse (how did the Cossacks do that??), this is about as far from my ideal (a big-boned mahogany bay, about 16.2 hands high, with no socks and a nice big star, thanks for asking) as a horse can be.

That’s my list (for now). Don’t get me wrong, I really love that people see a horse and immediately think “Natalie would love that!” But I do find it hilarious what keeps showing up, again and again. What post do you keep seeing on your Facebook wall? Is there one you particularly love (or hate?) seeing over and over again?

 

Update: The Horseback Reads Book Club and Blog

I have two great updates for you from the Horseback Reads website!

The first is that today I have a blog post up entitled Still An Equestrian. As I’m sure some of you know, I’m an equestrian author without a horse. But it gets worse. I don’t even take lessons… or go on occasional trail rides with friends… I don’t have any (real-life) horse time at all!  So am I still an equestrian? You better believe I am, and I explore the reasons why we never lose that status here at Horseback Reads.

The second update is for our Horseback Reads Equestrian Book Club. We’re so excited to launch in the month of November! This is the perfect month to carve out a little “me time” with a good book. November gets crazy fast. Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, holiday decorating… it can get overwhelming quickly. Taking twenty minutes to relax and read will go a long way towards your overall peace of mind. And of course you want to read about horses!

Falling for Eli

Our November book club selection!

Our first title selection is Falling For Eli: How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse, by Nancy Shulins. This is an absolutely lovely story about an off-track Thoroughbred, and I’m so excited to read it again. I actually wrote a review of Falling for Eli when it was first released… I’ll have to see if I can find the file and post it here! Still, I think the cover photo just speaks for itself — a silly chestnut Thoroughbred with a heart of gold.

At the end of the month we’ll have a live chat with author Nancy Shulins at our Horseback Reads Facebook page, so you’ll definitely want to pick up this book (don’t forget to check your local library!) so you can jot down some questions for the author.

(I’m so excited that we’re all just going to talk horse books together at the end of the month! This book club is the most fun idea ever!)

Below is the link for Falling For Eli at Amazon, and you can also find it at all other major retailers. Be sure to check in at our Facebook page and say hello, and tell your friends at the barn! Let’s start the Equestrian Book Club off right!

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Ride with Equestrian Writers at Horse Crossings

Consider this your invitation. If you love equestrian writing and want to know more about the writers behind the books, Horse Crossings is a new blog just for you!

Natalie Reinert with Player

Player, a buddy of mine at Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds in Port St. John, FL

I’m so happy to have joined the inaugural team at Horse Crossings, along with founder Linda Benson (author of the beautiful novel The Girl Who Remembered Horses), Young Adult authors Alison Hart and L.R. Trovillion, writers Jane Badger and Milt Toby, and novelists Meghan Namaste and Toni Leland. All of write about horses. All of us are connected with horses in our daily lives. We want to share our process, our adventures, and our stories as horsemen and writers with you, our readers and fellow horsemen.

It’s really good timing for me, since I just moved back to Florida with my family, and am enjoying some much-needed horse time by volunteering at Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbred (HART) in the town where I first started riding my own retired racehorse out across the Florida wilderness, Port St. John. It’s an interesting mixture of nostalgia and ambition that’s motivating my writing these days, as I drive to my childhood neighborhood to do barn chores and work with off-track Thoroughbreds, then head back home to my desk and my work.

Since I haven’t really been able to spend any time with horses since I left the mounted patrol unit of the New York City Dept. of Parks and Recreation in 2013, the simple act of mucking a stall has been a real pleasure! Grooming a horse and taking him out to the round pen for a little work-out — bliss. I’m excited to write about the horses I meet and work with at HART, and I’m going to do a lot of that at Horse Crossings, as I explore how horses inspire my writing.

In this week’s first post at Horse Crossings, I wrote about my upcoming novel Turning For Homeand the decision to step back from the racetrack and talk instead about retiring racehorses. There are still racetrack moments in this latest installment of the Alex and Alexander series, but there are many more farm, round pen, and even dressage ring moments. As a horsewoman, Alex is doing what we all must do — travel full-circle to be her very best, and do the best for her horses.

Jane Badger of Jane Badger Books writes about getting her start in writing about horse literature. She’s the queen of pony books, and her posts will make you want to take  up a new hobby, collecting these vintage British horse stories! So read with caution!

Lisa Trovillion, author of False Gods, talks about answering that impossible question, “What’s your book about?” It’s something that makes all of us authors stumble, until all of a sudden we’re working our way through a twenty-minute dissertation on our heroine’s deepest darkest fears. None of us are particularly gifted at elevator speeches.

The Girl Who Remembered Horses - Linda BensonAnd Linda Benson started off our week with a look at the inspiration behind The Girl Who Remembered Horses, which was recently re-released with a gorgeous new cover.

So come and join us at Horse Crossings! Visit the blog and be sure to subscribe to keep up with all of us.

And if you’ve been waiting for the new Alex and Alexander horse-racing novel, you’re in luck — Turning For Home is almost here!

 

The Horses of Walt Disney World

Ponies at Tri-Circle-D Ranch

Ponies at Tri-Circle-D Ranch

Anyone who knows me even slightly knows that Disney and horses are pretty much equal in my affections. And so when I had a few days at Walt Disney World without any plans to visit the theme parks, naturally I went straight to where the Disney horses live: Tri-Circle-D Ranch.

Anyone in the Orlando area can swing by and meet Disney’s famous horses, from the little Welsh ponies that pull Cinderella’s coach, to the massive Percherons and Clydesdales who pull carriages and trolleys at the parks and resorts. They live at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort & Campground, in a guest area called The Settlement.

Just getting to the Settlement is fun — I walked on a nature trail from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (another hotel) but you can also take a ferry boat from the Magic Kingdom’s main entrance. There’s an internal bus system from a central parking lot if you really just want to drive, but where’s the fun in that?

Once you’re there — Disney horses galore! I wrote about it over at ThatDisFamily.com, where I blog about Disney and family life. Take a look, and make sure you head over to Ft. Wilderness for some horse time on your next visit to Central Florida.

http://thatdisfamily.com/2014/12/visiting-ft-wilderness-and-tri-circle-d-ranch/