I can easily recall counting horses (from a backseat window that I could barely see out of) on family road trips, frantically scribbling numbers in notebooks. Of course, that was back when horses in roadside pastures were more commonplace than strip malls or office complexes.
I spent my days lying on the floor surrounded by crayons and colored pencils writing about (and drawing) my four-legged pals over and over again. I had them all – every My Little Pony, all the Breyer Horses. I never wanted to play with the dolls. I only wanted their loyal equine friends.
Until everything changed on my 10th birthday ...
Meet Missy: My Childhood Horse
A purple halter wrapped in a brightly colored package was given to me by my parents. I didn’t have a horse of my own to put it on, but I loved it anyway because it was purple (my favorite color), and it was an item for a real horse, not a plastic one.
Unbelievably, that halter turned into a birthday road trip that brought me to Eternal Heartlight (Barn name = Missy). Missy was my mount, not to mention, my teacher, my partner, my best friend through my adolescent years.
On Missy, I was crowned my county’s 4-H Horse Queen and we won the coveted Palomino Western Pleasure class at the World’s Largest All Breed Youth Show. I’ve been lucky enough to own horses most of my life. Missy was my first horse and the best life coach a young woman could ever ask for.
I am ever indebted to my parents for that generous gift when I was just a little girl. It wasn’t always easy to afford her, but they did it anyway … because they knew that I loved horses, and it wasn’t just a phase. It was forever.
Meet Sissy: My Adult Horse
Im Gonna Kiss You (Barn name = Sissy) is my adult horse, and the one I always dreamed of owning. She is a registered Paint mare, and we’ve found our way west to Arizona where I ride her against a backdrop of mountains and experience the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen. I am one lucky cowgirl.
Sissy is the inspiration behind the In the Reins series. She's taught me that good horse(wo)manship is a journey, not a destination. Sissy keeps me on my toes and perpetually teaches me something new, even after all of these years.
I became Sissy’s owner when she was young and did a lot of her training myself (with the help of a good coach and a lot of horse training books) so the lessons learned through those experiences helped bring Faith’s training to life in my book, In the Reins.
Sissy and I share a very close bond much like my leading lady, Devon Brooke, and her horse, Faith, do. Sissy is a lot like Faith because she is forever forgiving of my equestrian mishaps and loves me unconditionally.
Ironically, I didn’t give either horse their barn names (Missy or Sissy). I like to think there’s something about the similarity that implies these two horses were meant just for me. I will own horses until I take my last breath. I love them that much. There is nothing more peaceful to me than the quiet bond between a woman and her horse.
I think my history with horses is a reason why other horse lovers have been drawn to my book. I know what it feels like to enter a show pen and be nervous. I know what it feels like to be stuck with my horse’s training. I know what it feels like to swoon over a cute cowboy. Ha!
I hope that sort of authenticity comes through in my writing. I’m a horse owner. I’ve shown competitively most of my life. I write about my lifestyle, not something I’ve researched, but what I do. From a rocking horse, to a stick horse, to a Palomino-Quarter Horse, to a Paint — the saddle has always felt like home.
What's your favorite childhood horse memory? Let me know in the comments. It would make my spurs jingle to hear all about it!
Watch Sissy Star as Faith in this Video
If you’ve taken a tour of my website or followed me on my Carly Kade Creative Facebook page, you’ll notice Sissy stands in as Faith in my promotional videos for In the Reins. I do all the marketing for the book so it helps to have my own horse to stand in as I film the footage!
About Equine Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author from Arizona. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her ... crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
About Equestrian Romance In the Reins
In the Reins, Carly's novel inspired by the equestrian lifestyle has been an Amazon bestseller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The book is available now in Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.
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Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade