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We ride to …?

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I write for very much the same reasons – how lucky to be able to combine my two passions!

TEAM UP by Elizabeth Alexanderhttps://www.amazon.com/Team-Wattle-Hill-Equestrian-Book-ebook/dp/B0749NSPZP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503299739&sr=8-1&keywords=team+up+by+elizabeth+alexander

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TEAM UP

TEAM UP by Elizabeth Alexander.  First novel of the Wattle Hill Equestrian Series for Teen readers.

Avail on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Team+Up+by+Elizabeth+Alexander

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Please feel free to share!

I dare you!

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I love this new publishing world!

Back in the day, you followed your passion, you wrote, you engaged, you edited, you worked harder, you worked smarter and at the end of it – you sent your mss out for someone else to judge. That person’s positive judgement meant your work got published and that was big.  Very big.  After all it was your career start.

But the majority of writers experienced rejection and still do, and often for valid reasons. And back then, there was little else you could about it other than vanity publish which was often expensive.  But certainly doable. Once rejected, you could rewrite and edit more, but there was little chance of a review by the same publisher.  Actually, I was once accepted by a well known publisher.  In a face to face meeting I was asked for edits which I frantically did during a Christmas holiday break and then my work was rejected without anyone even reading it again.  At the time I wished I’d had taken that much needed holiday break instead!

Today, you can take your written work and self publish it on one or many of the various platforms that sell ebooks.  It’s vanity publishing without the expense.  Now, it’s called more nicely, indy publishing.  And what fun it is!  You can get your work out and let the market decide if it is acceptable or not.  I love it!

I ride a what…?!

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As a trainer, coach and competition rider for many years I have to say, I believe we have been well served by the OTTB, especially in Australia, and I am happy to support as much information getting out there as possible about dealing with and retraining the Off The Track Thoroughbred.

In many ways they are worldly when they arrive off the track. They have done so much and seen so much and handled so much more than a non-TB horse six months in from the breakers.  Often their lack of racing ability has more to do with the industry’s expectations than their own athleticism or willingness to try, and the racing industry’s rejection is very often their loss and our gain!

OTTBs generally have a willing work ethic, love to be part of a daily riding regime and thrive on all the attention that entails. They will wait at the paddock gate every morning to greet you especially if you have a headcollar in hand, and we’ve all had other breeds who are not that cheerful about being ridden – especially “forward”!  lol…

In the days or months after their track retirement, they begin to learn to let down, to be less reactive, to have sounder bodies with less daily stress and discomfort, to look forward to quiet patient riding having new skills shown to them, to engage with their riders in a process that is often more personal. They are smart and they are tough.  They are athletic and once retrained can usually turn their hoof to many disciplines and can excel in eventing, show jumping, pony club and polo.  Those riders who’ve got one, know Thoroughbreds can be great fun.

As a horse community I’d like to think we could support the OTTBs in any way we can especially in riding and competing one if possible. Of course they’re not for everyone but it’s time the OTTB became a more popular riding horse because their alternative is less attractive, so let’s do our bit!  I support people like Denny Emerson who uses FB to promote the retraining of OTTBs – see Tamarack Hill Farm.  Please feel free to check out the following information – https://eventingconnect.today/2017/08/13/things-you-need-to-know-before-riding-a-fresh-off-the-track-thoroughbred/

 

 

 

You write what…?

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…Young Adult or teen horsey novels…yep, that’s what I write!  Very possibly I’m delusional, but I firmly believe that there is a market and it’s not small or too niche to find an entry point into despite publishers telling me there wasn’t.

I’ve put my money where my mouth is – or to be more exact – my words where they can be seen by all – which is a little daunting when you’re going up against experienced publishers, but it’s done and dusted now!  Time will tell if my unicorn and I are wrong or if there is a horsecentric YA/Teen market out there ready for some new work especially from The Wattle Hill Equestrian Series, starting with Book One – TEAM UP.

Please pass on if you know of a riding teen reader who will be interested.  TEAM UP is avail on Amazon and Smashwords.

 

 

Are you talking to me?

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Recent research has proven that horses will “talk” to their handlers.  As horse owners and riders, this is not news, we have known this for decades. Horses use body language very well and so long as we’re observant we can see it. act upon it and therefore  reinforce it.

“Do horses talk to humans?”

“They sure do,” said Rachele Malavasi, PhD, of the School of Ethical Equitation, in Moncigoli Di Fivizzano, Italy. Malavasi carried out her research in association with Ludwig Huber, PhD, professor at the Comparative Cognition Unit at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna in Austria.

“Horses are social animals which have evolved skills to maintain their social unity: affiliative relationships, protection from outsiders, social facilitation, and even social learning,” Malavasi explained. “We know now that their skill set also includes the ability to communicate intentionally with humans.”

It is up to us to listen and watch them carefully to interpret exactly what they’re saying!

 

Trouble in paradise!

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Last week the weather was great so I was busy playing with my horses and did not write much.  This week was wet, cold and miserable and although I was inside mostly, I wrote even less.  Considering it, the common denominator was – I did not write much – despite the weather, life events, the position of the planets and my cooking skills.

Why you ask, especially as I had the opportunity?  The perennial question for many writers when they can’t find the inclination to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard!  The answer is, I didn’t have anything to say.  My sequel to Team Up had been going so well at approx 40,000 words out of the 60,000 expected words to be finalised.  I suspected the problem was based around the plot.  Or maybe it was the motivation of the main characters or the conflict or the inciting incident or…  Something wasn’t clear enough or strong enough to drive the story forward.

The question then became; what did the main characters really think was worth fighting for?  Their friendship, each other, their horses, their life choices…the list went on. Once I decided what they would all fight for, against all odds, the story began to move.  I suddenly had something to say although I had to go back to the beginning.  A first draft is just words on paper after all.

And stop playing with horses!

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The weather improved a lot over the last few days so I’ve been busy playing (code for training) my two young horses which has been enormous fun!  But it ain’t getting the sequel to Team Up written that’s for sure!!  I wonder what I will call this novel – any ideas?

 

 

I learned …

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What I learned in my two writing courses was enormous fun, very thought provoking and provided amazing skills. As an educator and writer I thought I had a pretty good grip on story telling but turns out it was more intuitive story telling that actually understanding what a good story needs to become … well … a great story!

Turns out there is an overwhelming need for conflict – and as one teacher told us – the quicker that is shown the better and that would be in the first page preferably! Because it asks a quest and without this the story is flat and no one wants a flat story. Back in the day, I went to a brilliant seminar and where the famous writer asked something along the lines of – what will the main character lose physically? What will the main characters lose emotionally? Every good story has an outer conflict and an inner conflict. The Bourne Identity – the outer conflict, can he survive? The inner conflict is centred around who he really is and most importantly, does he really want to know the truth about that person? The deep inner conflict is where the gold lies they tell us!   Get to it folks!