In this 30th Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with fellow equine author Heather Wallace. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth — writing, books and horses! In the interview, you'll learn about this fascinating woman, author and equestrian entrepreneur. Her passions run deep — running her own business, being a mom, owning a horse, practicing equine/canine massage and aromatherapy, commitment to her blog The Timid Rider, adventures in Mongolia for the Gobi Desert Cup, and writing non-fiction horse books. You'll find the inspiration for her award nominated Equestrian Handbook of Excuses and bestselling Confessions of a Timid Rider honest, real and inspiring. Happy reading!
About Equestrian Author Heather Wallace
Heather Wallace is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist (ESMT), Certified Canine Massage Therapist (CCMT), and Aromatherapist.
An overachiever by nature, Heather is always seeking to learn more to help animals of all kinds. She has a keen sense for what each animal needs and communicates, especially the more sensitive horses and dogs.
As the writer and photographer for her blog, The Timid Rider (formerly Bridle & Bone), Heather is working diligently to reveal to the world the benefits natural therapies for animals. Her blog was started to address the variety of concerns had by her client’s owners and “fur parents”.
While Heather is confident at work, she struggles with confidence in the saddle. She left riding due to anxiety as a teenager and returned as an adult after having her first child. With no less anxiety, but determination to pursue her passion and time to herself, follow Heather’s journey while she struggles to let passion be greater than her fear.
Heather has written for a number of publications including Holistic Horse Magazine, Sidelines Magazine, Good Dog Magazine, and Equine Info Exchange. Her first book, Equestrian Handbook of Excuses was a 2017 Literary Selection for the EQUUS Film Festival and her second book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, which was released June 2018, is an Amazon best-selling book in three equestrian categories.
Nice to meet you, Heather! Let's PRANCE into your interview.
What is your involvement with horses?
I am a certified equine sports massage therapist. My days revolve around improving the quality of life for horses of all ages and in all disciplines. There is nothing more satisfying than using my hands and my instincts to bring relief to these amazingly sensitive animals.
Through my massage experience and freelance writing, I have the benefit of attending horse shows on behalf of the press throughout the year. This year a highlight was attending Longines Masters New York and Jersey Fresh International 3-Day event to write and photograph for EquineInfoExchange.com. Then, last August I was the official Media Consultant for The Gobi Desert Cup, a 480-kilometer endurance horse race in Mongolia! I lived in Asia for two weeks working with Mongolian horses and riders from all over the world.
As if that isn’t enough for me, I spend as many days as possible riding and playing with my Welsh cross, Ferrous either on the trails or in the ring.
What would your dream horse be like?
I have multiple dream horses, and fall a little in love with every animal I ride or provide massage therapy. Each horse has such a unique personality and something to respect and learn from. That being said, for a long time I thought my dream horse was Delight, a young off-track thoroughbred owned by my trainer. He’s smart, dependable, and challenged me in all the best ways. Unfortunately, he was not the right fit for me long term or for my young children to learn to ride.
I was so lucky to have found Ferrous. He was a favorite lesson horse in my barn. I rode Ferrous for two months as a confidence builder after I broke my ribs last year. Very quickly I learned to appreciate him! He was so cute! He has so much personality, which I completely appreciate. I love a horse that talks to me and tells me what he thinks, but is willing to listen also. He is pokey in the ring until he jumps and then he gets a little bounce in his step. He loves trail rides as much as I do. And he will jump around with me, and then give my daughter’s a bareback ride in only a halter, looking to me the entire time for guidance. I am so lucky to have found him, and he means so much to me. I couldn’t ask for anything more from a horse.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
I wrote a memoir based on my life experience with horses. Confessions of a Timid Rider is my story about confidence in and out of the saddle, and the need to push myself out of my comfort zone. There is something that kept working its way through my brain and it wouldn’t leave me alone so I had to include it in my book, “Let your passion be greater than your fear”. I think a lot of equestrians and readers in general will relate, and I hope it helps to motivate them.
Why do you write?
I write because I need to. When I was a child I would spend all my time writing short stories involving horses or other animals, and sometimes even poetry. I was very introverted but I had a wild imagination. It wasn’t until 2016 when I was in my late 30’s that I felt comfortable to make my writing public. It was terrifying but liberating at the same time. I've grown so much already as a writer, and wish I didn’t wait so long. In finally pursuing my passions and taking a risk, I’ve reaped the most amazing rewards, my readers coming to me and telling me how my words affect them positively. That makes it all worthwhile.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
The benefits of owning my own business is I get to make our own hours. Unfortunately, that often results in my working more than I should.
I put time aside while my children are in school and find that I do best if I start first thing in the morning. Otherwise I get caught up in client sessions and barn time. We all know how barn time can suck you in and not let you go!
Over the summer with the kids home, I will sometimes bring my computer to the beach and write there while my daughters play in the sand. I can think of worse offices. But it does make concentrating very difficult, so often I work late in the evening when they are asleep.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
When writing for my blog, The Timid Rider, I usually just sit down and write the personal stories because they clamor in my brain. In fact, I wrote For the Love of a Thoroughbred and the Dramatic HIghs and Lows of Horse Shows in a mountain lodge, sipping hot chocolate, while my daughters were in ski school.
Those personal journey stories come quickly to me and are easy to write although not easy to share. Confessions of a Timid Rider was born from my blog and inspired by the engagement my readers would provide about how reading them made them feel like they weren’t alone, or helped to motivate them. Incentive to continue writing to be sure.
I heavily research the educational articles and my product reviews are only done from personal experience and my honest opinion. With longer work, such as the book I’m currently writing, I have to have an outline. It allows me to see the flow and make sure I didn’t have any glaring holes or overlapping topics.
By nature, I’m very organized as I would never be able to accomplish anything in chaos. Of course, chaos is relative and the dishes may pile up, but my desk looks spectacular!
What do you think makes your book (or any book) stand out from the crowd?
I published the Equestrian Handbook of Excuses in 2017. Lack of motivation is something that has come up a lot recently, with equestrians and with everyone else. So I wanted to put together a tongue-in-cheek booklet that drew attention to it in a funny way. We all love horses or we wouldn’t be equestrians. But sometimes we just don’t feel like riding. I think it is very relatable and the book has received positive feedback, especially as a gift to boarders or trainers. Like me, the booklet is short and a little sassy. “Keep calm, there’s an excuse for that.”
Confessions of a Timid Rider is really special. It is a diary of anxiety, passion, fear, and perseverance. This is something that anyone can relate to whether they are an equestrian, writer, mother, wife, entrepreneur, or someone else entirely. Most people feel we aren’t good enough from time to time. Hopefully that is something we overcome, but often we need a little boost. My book is a reminder to myself that I am stronger and braver than I think I am. I hope it does the same to my readers! I’m basically revealing myself entirely to the world. It's terrifying but liberating at the same time.
Any amusing story about writing this book?
The Equestrian Handbook of Excuses actually started out as a blog post idea on The Timid Rider. I'd reached out to an equestrian Facebook group and asked for some suggestions of excuses they’d used when they didn’t want to ride.
The feedback was overwhelming! There were a lot of common themes, and the horse trainers out there had some of the funniest ones. I figured that if this small percentage of equestrians had such a reaction that the world may appreciate it!
Since its publication in 2017, it was a literary selection for the EQUUS Film Festival. I’ve since released a photography edition as well.
What’s next? Future goals for your writing?
I’m so proud of Confessions of a Timid Rider, and still find it unbelievable it was an Amazon bestseller in three equestrian categories and a #1 Hot New Release in Equestrian!
I have another “Confessions” book coming down the pipeline, but this one is decidedly for a wider audience: moms! I’m working diligently on my new book about another very important job I have. Writing about my own experiences with three young daughters being raised with horses and being quite sassy myself, this is a memoir in the very best of ways: honest, humorous, and very sarcastic. So please keep an eye out for this next year.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough I spent much of August in Mongolia documenting and photographing The Gobi Desert Cup, a 480 kilometer endurance horse race on Mongolian horses in six days. As a result, I think my experiences there would make an exciting book, don’t you?
More about Heather Wallace and her horse books!
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @timidrider
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/heatherwallace
Book Trailer: Equestrian Handbook of Excuses
What a spur jingling interview!
A BIG thank you to Heather Wallace of The Timid Rider for participating in my Equestrian Author Spotlight series. I enjoy these interviews. I learn so much from other authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys are. I love that all the authors featured in this series are linked through our creativity, passion for writing, and love of horses. I think it is so important to support each other. I appreciate the support of a fellow author. Thanks for giving me the gift of your time, Heather! #authorsunite
I LOVE HORSE BOOKS! If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you, too. Sharing about fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page to fill out a request: https://www.carlykadecreative.com/contact.html
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Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!