As a long-time horsewoman and dressage rider, I’ve wanted to write a novel that revolved about dressage and horses. I pictured a romantic mystery, and I wanted it to be different. Killing horses for insurance had been done before. I needed something new.
I also wanted to cover a topic that had been bothering me for a long time. When money enters the picture, how far will a horse trainer go to win ribbons? Will she compromise what’s best for the horse? Will she choose the horse over money or achieving her goals?
When I conceived the idea of The Gift Horse, I wanted to make the horse a secondary character. Equestrian-related fiction often misses the boat on this. They don’t give the horses personalities or allow them to play a part in the book other than being a cardboard animal that appears in the background. My horse character needed as much personality as my human characters. So I turned to my own Hanoverian mare, Gailey, as my model, and believe me, she has a lot of character. Gailey’s sweet mare act will charm the pants off you if there’s a treat involved or if she’s looking to win you over. If she’s not, she puts on the alpha bitch-mare face and makes sure you understand that the princess is annoyed. Gabby is essentially my mare with a little more ambition. My mare wouldn’t buck, as it would be too much work. Gabby bucks with enthusiasm, which often sends her rider flying.
I loved writing about Gabbie, her quirks, her crush on the hero, and her opinions on horse shows, love, and ribbons. I even put a few scenes in the horse’s point of view.
The Gift Horse was released today in ebook format. You can read the first chapter here, and purchase the book here. I hope you’ll check it out. Please let me know what you think, as I’d love to write a sequel if there’s enough interest.