Confessions of a Horse-Obsessed Author

- by Patricia Rosemoor

I was a horse-obsessed kid but only got near one once back in those days. That was in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. We were visiting relatives in New York and my uncle took me riding. I didn’t get to ride again until I was in my twenties, this time on vacation in Playa Blanca, Mexico. I rode the beach with my teenage cousin and then we agreed to take a long ride back into the interior the next day, and my Mom, never on a horse before, insisted on going with us for protection. I always wondered what she thought she could do if there was some dark plot against us. The guide put her horse on a lead and my cousin and I rode free–including up a narrow path along a river, and then crossing the river. A thrill I remember to this day.

After I got home, I decided to start riding for real and signed up for weekly lessons in “equitation.” My riding was cut short by a major knee surgery, and I (still limping badly) asked my surgeon when I could get on a horse. He said never. Two months later, I ignored him, and at my six month check up, he was amazed I wasn’t limping and asked me what I’d been doing. Horseback riding, of course, is great to develop the quads which protect the knee.

I went from group lessons both in English and Western to frequent riding at the old Double J in Michigan–an adult riding vacation camp. I shared board on a horse and started riding alone three times a week. And then I got a trainer and switched to hunt seat. And jumping. Every time I went over a jump, I felt the same thrill I got on a rollercoaster. I couldn’t get enough, even when I had an accident that had me carried off the field on a stretcher. I messed up my neck for a while, but the moment the collar came off, I was back on a horse.

No wonder I like writing about horses. It all started with a 3 book contract my then writing partner and I were asked to develop by the publisher. We took a research trip to Lexington, Kentucky, and visited various horse farms for private tours and interviews.

That project didn’t sell–Desert Storm hit and publishing seemed to panic that year– but by then I knew so much about horses, I wanted to write about them, the reason so many of my Intrigues have horse ranches and rodeos and races. I’ve been back to Kentucky, went to the Oaks and the Derby. Have been to the Arlington Million here a bunch of times. And I even took two other horse research trips with my late husband Edward–one to a mustang refuge in South Dakota where we slept in a “Dances with Wolves” teepee, and a winter visit to a New Mexican ranch where we learned to move cows on horseback.

Great memories that make me smile and want to write about horses some more.  BRED TO LOSE in progress for 2012, is a story set both at a breeding farm and racetrack. And BRAZEN, on the shelves now, is definitely a book I love, both because it’s a horse story and because it’s one of the most romantic stories I’ve ever written. I got the idea when I saw Wild Horse Redemption, a documentary on the horse gentling training program in a correctional facility in the Southwest. I wanted my hero Clay to be part of that program. There he overhears a couple of the convicts talk about Siobhan McKenna’s ranch and knows there is a threat against his first and only love, so of course he has to protect her.

I may not ride any more, but I can always live out my horse-obsessed fantasies through story.

3 comments

  1. Patricia, your horse experience leaves mine in your dust even though my mother, sister, and I owned a couple while I was growing up. Apparently I kept telling my mother that I dreamed about horses every night and when a government bond matured, she bought a three year old, green broke mare. Boy were we in over our heads. I learned the hard way not to lead a horse while wearing flip flops. Anyone wanna see my still-mashed toes?
    For some insane reason, my sister and I decided we were going to own a thoroughbred ranch once we’d made our fortunes. Maybe that’s indictitive of how far fetched my imagination was and still is.
    Unlike me, my characters are fantastic horsepeople when the book calls for it. That’s one of the wonderful things about being writers, right? There’s nothing we can’t do, vicariously at least.

  2. Must buy this book! I, too, grew up horse-mad — went through the Walter Farley books, and on to Black Beauty, graduated to the Flicka movies, and finally talked my parents into giving me riding lessons when I turned seven (they were worried I was too young — even though I’d been up behind my mum when I was three, and had already stolen my brother’s rocking horse).

    Once up, never looked back — and, yes, riding is great for what ails you. It’s hard to feel back looking at the world from the back of a horse. And I’m going to be back in the saddle soon (but I’m moving from hunters/jumpers to trail horses these days). However, once horse mad, always horse mad.

  3. It’s fun hearing about other women’s horse backgrounds or wishful thinking. :)