Horses and Farms For Fiction Writers by Horace Ponii
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jim MacLachlan was one of the first friends I made on Goodreads. Since we both live in rural areas and work in IT and love Roger Zelazny, we hit it off pretty well.
Once upon a time, I was writing a fantasy story and had a question about horses, specifically how long it would take one to go 200 miles. Jim was my go-to guy since he has horses, including one that's the grandson of Secretariat. Not only did he answer my question, he gave me a lot more helpful information about horses. I like to think my fairly innocent question played a small part in Jim writing this book.
Apart from reading about them, I don't have a lot of experience with horses, although I've ridden a few and my grandpa has a photo of a couple horses he owned in the 1970s in his wallet where his grandchildren's should be. Jim gives a good overview of horses and the culture of horse owners here.
"Horses aren't cars with hooves" is a quote from the intro and something important to remember when writing about horses. Jim covers a broad range of horse topics the average person doesn't give much though to, like shoeing, dentistry, the difference between a horse and a pony, and many other subjects, like how horses deal with other animals and politics within the herd.
Jim's style is very accessible and often hilarious. I did not expect to read a story about his daughter taking her horse to school, only for it to sport a massive erection in front of her classmates. In addition to horses, Jim covers a lot of related topics, like life on a farm, other livestock, and things of that nature.
Much like the time I asked Jim how far a horse could go in 200 miles, this book provided much more information than I originally wanted but it's better to have it and not use it than need it and not have it. Horses and Farms For Fiction Writers should prove to be a good resource for writers wanting to include accurate depictions of horses and various horse-related things in their writing. Four out of five stars.
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