Listed below are the accepted stories for the anthology that I have submitted to the publishing editor. Stories still need to go through this final acceptance process as well as a copy edit.
Thank you again for all who submitted. It was a pleasure reading your stories as you shared with me the importance of horses in your lives.
Number One Son
"When we finished this course, it has been a single thought with different aspects that are all connected and a single feeling from beginning to end, counted out by the rhythm of his strides. It is like a piece of music or any other art object that presents itself as a whole rather than a bunch of separate parts—it has a defined beginning, a defined end, and a sustained dynamic in which every good stride builds on the last good stride and all the strides are good. Unlike other works of art, though, it cannot be re-experienced. In a few seconds, it has come and gone."
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
"The horses were my family and the racetrack was my home."
CONTRIBUTORS (alphabetical by last name):
Painted Christmas Dreams
“Because you wanted her from the beginning. I wanted to be the one who made your dreams come true.”
"I led Splinter up and down the yard, pointing the microphone at his feet as they clip-clopped on the concrete. It felt a bit crazy but I was convinced the key to Mum’s recovery lay with Splinter. I played the recording, praying for a miracle. The hoof beats sounded unreal and I watched Mum for any sign of change. Did her finger twitch? Maybe her eyelid moved? I was willing it to be. I felt certain something would happen. But then nothing did. I was out of options and Mum was out of time."
"When I stopped to ask Ken how I was doing, he asked, 'Are you still in the saddle?'"
"Every time I rode her I came up against my own limitations as a rider. Every time I rode her I came up against the possibility of losing control and the possibility of getting hurt. Mia taught me the measure of who I am. I have found myself, more and more, year after year, saying "yes" to possibility. And in teaching me that, Mia also taught me this: I am not a "no" kind of girl."
Kiss and Tell?
"My whole life changed irrevocably by one fateful kiss."
Getting Back on the Horse
"I let a horse stand between me and my father. But, even worse, I let a horse stand between me and myself."
Stop and Eat the Flowers
"I knew enough to linger and watch the sun set behind the mountains."
"He strained against the bit, hollowed his back and stiffened his neck in defiance as he pranced sideways around the arena. Some days I was frustrated with him. Some days I was frustrated with myself. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t surrender. I was confused about why nothing was working. But I knew deep down that if I was doing everything right, Bear would too. I knew he was telling me that I was over-riding with my hands, and under-riding with my seat. I just couldn’t make the transition with him."
Jacklyn Lee Lindstrom
Journey of a Champion
"My son learned that even though he had a talented horse who loved to perform, it was the hours of practice at home that led to trophies in the ring. I learned just how easy it was to get too caught up in the chase for the ribbons."
"Like roller rinks and Chick-O-Sticks, I’d always assumed my horse crazy years were a thing of the past."
"I noticed my mind had wandered, sometimes just slightly, to watch other students, or to problems at home. When I returned to Tucker, he returned to me."
A Horse of a Different Color
“It's not what's on the outside that counts. It's what lies deep in the heart."
The Pros and Cons of Bombproofing
"As Rusty and I learn to trust one another, we can let more of ourselves go. The story will eventually stop being about my fears or his history and we will start with a blank page together. That’s the sense of freedom I’m starting to feel in the saddle, it’s one similar to writing the first sentence: possibility."
A Man Like My Horse
"I have a vision for my life that includes a 50th wedding anniversary with a loving husband, and is filled with the joy of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
It Always Happens One Summer
"My parents joked that I lived in the barn, but the truth is, the horses lived in me."
"Rule number one when working with horses is to never let your guard down, or get too cozy with the status quo. This applies to life as well, which can sometimes seem terribly unfair. Just because you’ve been through something hard doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when the impossible comes calling."
The Billy Dal Gang
We would giggle at my dad’s silly antics, but once we were up on our horses it was a different deal. "Okay, girls, we got three bad guys, and I mean bad guys on the run. They stole a lot of money from that there bank." He’d point to our house. “Now we gotta go find them and arrest them, and bring ‘em back."
Learning to Love
"I still have a faint scar that runs the length of my finger and provides a daily reminder of that time I was ready to give up on Lily and myself. Had I sold her and bought another horse, I’m sure that horse, too, would have revealed her imperfections over time."
Kate St. Vincent Vogl
"I was four and didn’t know that horses don’t usually travel with hooves planted firmly in the back footwells of a car. I’m not sure my dad knew either."
Rearranging the Furniture
"After my lesson, I drove home with a dumb grin on my face, singing to an oldie on the radio, like a girl in love. I approached my house with all its imperfections. Weeds sprouted between the stones leading to my front door. Inside, books would still spill from the bookshelf and pictures remained against the wall. And I cared a little less."
Samantha Ducloux Waltz
"I turn and see Ray smiling that crooked smile. Only this time, I know exactly what lurks behind it. He isn’t afraid of the horse. He’s afraid if he doesn’t love the horse, I may not love him as much."
"He moves recklessly beneath me down the face of the crag, his hooves clattering over the scree in the last of the light. By the time I see the kinks of the barbed wire, he's walking straight through it, shaking his head, taking me with him, my knees slashing through molasses grass, high as his withers, taking us to the trail that leads to the road. And I let him. Or I don't know how not to let him. Or I don't want not to let him. Because it's what he wants. And I love that he knows what he wants."
It’s All In The “T” – or perhaps the “D.”
Sometimes I feel that, with the reins in my hands, it’s like playing a concerto, each muscle in my body teasing out the melody. And there are days when my fingers glide across the keyboard, words I’ve never even spoken before tumbling out onto the page to create a scene, an image, a stepping stone in the story that I know really works. But as my dressage trainer said on a particularly challenging day, “You can’t expect yesterday’s ride today. It’s another day, the horse is the same horse, but different today, and you’re different too.”
"That night, Nonna blazed a new trail for us, and reminded us that we can run as far, as fast, and as near forever as we wish."
Outsiders in Navajo Land
"We were a team. I was not alone, and his ability to be in the present was a reservoir of strength. The past was the past, the future had not yet arrived, but here in the present we had greeted what emerged with all the grace we could muster."