A Partial Telling of My Personal Horse Saga
My mom loves horses. She had this spectacular large piece of horse artwork (I think it was a single-line drawing) in our living room when I was in middle and high school. When I was young, she liked to send us to camp–it was always horse camp. I learned to ride early (also around six), and I learned to have a relationship with the animal I was riding. I was often afraid, and I learned to override that fear in order to keep my horse calm…..
When I was nine, my parents arranged to board two horses over the winter for a local camp, and that began a whole new relationship with the animals. I learned that if I didn’t muck the stable every day, it would be a whole lot more work the next day.
My sister, who is three years younger than me, was assigned the sweetest animal. Her name was Kissy–it was a name that truly fit! My horse was named Bosquet, and she was not at all kissy–she was pregnant and cranky. I’m pretty sure she hated me, as her favorite thing to do seemed to be to throw my from her saddle as quickly as possible. Because of that, I also learned to hang on tightly, and to roll away as quickly as possible once I hit the ground. Most of all, I learned a healthy respect for horses, and I came to understand the relationship a human can have with a large animal.
Bosquet and Kissy came to our home the week my older sister died. I spent many hours that winter wading in the creek that ran through the small pasture, staring down the crawdads and talking to Kissy. I often rode Bosquet through the woods, jumping creeks. It was a gift of the Lord to me–perfectly timed. That’s what I remember most of my ninth year. Those two horses, and spending time in the woods and the water.
How I Met Lauraine Snelling–and What I Learned
It was seven years ago that I attended my first Oregon Christian Writer’s conference in May. I was so nervous, just like when I was very small–riding those horses through the woods and jumping creeks. I felt a strong calling (burden, desire–however you’d say it) to write for children, specifically about the Bible and Christian history, and I knew the obstacles to that were nearly insurmountable. It was like staring down a steep embankment to see a large tree fallen over the stream Bosquet and I needed to cross.
Author Lauraine Snelling spoke that day at OCW. I remember she was freshly out of a significant surgery and using a cane, but she came and shared her heart. She spoke about how there hadn’t been a market for middle grade horse novels when she started writing for the Christian market, but a more mature writer challenged her to keep going if that’s truly what God laid on her heart. Now? She’s published over 80 novels. Not all are middle grade horse novels, of course, but a number of them are.
That’s what God impressed on my heart that day. If He’s truly called me to something, He’ll equip me for the task. He’ll open the doors to publication, and He’ll bring the readers. And He has brought you–right here, today. He’s allowed me to write and publish two books for children so far. He’s sovereign over all things, and I trust Him–without fear.
OK, sometimes with fear. Sometimes a lot of fear. (Let’s just be honest–I’m a timid-hearted lady.) But still, I trust Him. The Lord will never throw me off the saddle into a freezing cold creek. Life is hard, but He is faithful.
That’s my story of why I love horses, what I’ve learned from them, and why I will forever feel a bond to Lauraine Snelling, a truly sweet lady who loves Jesus.
A Read & Play Kit for Your Middle Grade Horse Lovers
Do you have some horse lovers in your home?
I put together a Read & Play Kit for 8-12 year olds (which may be helpful over the summer months!), and I’ve also assembled a fun $55 giveaway for a tween reader (though you’ll have to enter for your child). Sound good? You’ll find the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
“Sixteen year old Tricia Evanston and her father share something very special: their love of horses. With Tricia as jockey and her father as trainer, the two have big dreams of winning the Triple Crown. Tricia has other pressures, too, like declining grades, a strained relationship with her mother, and the constant worry about her father’s failing health. But Tricia’s faith in God always gives her the strength to push her limits.”
My kids love the Dover coloring series, and Horse Anatomy is the perfect way for kids to color their way to an anatomical knowledge of the horse. The Tedco 4D Vision Horse Anatomy Model gives young people a hands-on manipulative tool to enforce that anatomical knowledge with 26 removable organs and body parts, and the Breyer Horse Family Painting Kit is a fun art project.
The components of the Horses Read & Play Kit can all be found at Amazon:
Golden Filly: Collection 1 by Lauraine Snelling
Golden Filly: Collection 2 by Lauraine Snelling
Horse Anatomy by John Green
Tedco 4D Vision Horse Anatomy Model
Breyer Horse Family Painting Kit, Stablemates (There are other Breyer horse painting kits available.)
Giveaway ~ Ends June 2, 2016 ~ $55.97 in value
I want to thank Bethany House for the copy of Golden Filly: Book 1 for the giveaway!
Everything else is a gift from me. 🙂
The giveaway winner will receive:
Horse Anatomy by John Green ~ $3.99
Reminder: This is an electronic raffle system. Every entry gains you more “tickets”. If you aren’t able to participate in one of the entry points, no worries! You still have a chance to win. Entering all entry points just increases your chances. Enter below:
Giveaway open to residents of the U.S., age 18 and older. Winner must respond to email within 48 hours. Giveaway will end on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 11:59pm PST.
More Read & Play Kits
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is the author of When Lightning Struck! The Story of Martin Luther (Fortress Press, 2015), Wonderfully Made (CF4K, 2016), and Bible Road Trip. Her work has been featured in internationally-recognized children's magazines over 150 times.