Guest Post ~ Gayle Carline Talks Horses

Hey everyone! Today I’m excited to turn my blog over to my gal pal Gayle Carline. She has a fabulous new book out that I was privileged enough to read before publication. It’s about a horse, and so much more.

Please join me in welcoming her to the blog today. Take it away, Gayle!

First of all, I want to thank Tameri for the opportunity to guest on her blog. I love her to pieces, and her blog posts are always so much fun, it’s a teeny bit intimidating. I hope I don’t disappoint.

The reason I’m here is to tell you all about my new book, which is being released today. I’m equal parts excited and frightened about it. I mean, I’m a little that way about all my books. Most authors are, I think. Our books rise out of our creativity and are finally brought forth with effort. It’s like having a baby, only you usually carry a human kid for only nine months.

It’s kind of like having an elephant baby. They gestate for two years. Or maybe a kangaroo. They’re pretty much like an assembly line, with one joey in the pouch and another in the womb, waiting his turn. Wow, theoretically, a female kangaroo is always pregnant… geez, if reincarnation exists, I hope I don’t come back as a roo.

This book is different for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s in a completely different, and not easily identifiable genre. It’s the story of my Quarter Horse, Snoopy. When he was a three-year-old, he won a big championship in California. When he was a four-year-old, he broke his leg. After surgery, a fused joint, a metal plate, six screws, and two years, he was not only back to being ridden, but back to being shown.

I now have a bionic horse, who is still a big goofball. 

2013-04-09 10.51.22

Technically, this book is a memoir, since the events actually happened. Here’s the rub: the story is told by Snoopy, in his voice. I won’t claim to be a horse psychic whisperer. That makes this book a fictional memoir, unless you believe that horses talk.

Then it’s all completely true.

Why didn’t I make this easy and tell the story myself? I’ve been involved in every step of Snoopy’s life, all the way from the day I leafed through the Quarter Horse Journal’s Big Book o’ Studs, looking for a suitable mate for my little mare.  

artfulinvestment

Daddy Artie

Mommy Frostie

Mommy Frostie

When I was hit with the inspiration (and believe me, it was like a thousand-watt lightbulb going off in my frontal lobe), I knew at once that this was not my story to tell. I didn’t break my leg, Snoopy did. I nearly broke my bank account, but that’s another story and I don’t write horror. I studied some other “first-person animal” stories to see how they did it.

Black Beauty is the gold standard. I’ve read it in my childhood, multiple times, but I went back and read it again. My adult sensibilities still fell in love with this horse. He has that English Country Squire manner to his speech, but he’s all horse, and I had no problem believing that this was his story from his viewpoint.

Then I read War Horse. It’s a compelling story (I’ve seen the play but not the movie), and it moved me. However, even though it’s told from Joey’s view, it reads like a man in a horse costume. Black Beauty speaks of his training and shows you the kindness (or cruelty) of his owners in terms that are centered around his understanding as a horse. Joey describes the Union Jack hanging in the square and the uniforms of the soldiers.

What horse cares about that?

Because I like to do things in threes (why, no, I’m not OCD…), I also read the first few chapters of The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s told by a dog, and I was mostly drawn in to believing the dog was telling the story. I will finish the book. I just know I’m going to be weeping heavily by the end of it, and I’m not quite up to that at the moment.

After all this, I had to choose Black Beauty as my blueprint. Snoopy is a southern California boy, so his language is not as precise as Beauty’s, but he is concerned about how things affect him. It was an interesting writing exercise. I had to constantly be aware of how he might see things, and I had to abandon my voice and find his.

HM_CoverThe result is a book that is true and is fantasy and is a love letter to all my horses, my trainers, and my fellow riders. I want it to fly far and sell well because when you’re in love, you want to shout it from the rooftops and share that love with the world.

It’s available as an ebook on Kindle. If you want a paperback, you can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, or your favorite Indy bookstore.

~Thank you, Gayle for bringing us the story of Snoopy and his memoir.

If you’d like to follow Snoopy’s adventures, Gayle blogs about him at her site, From the Horse’s Mouth. He’s ridiculously funny (I didn’t expect that in a horse), and the story is both touching and lighthearted. I hope you’ll fall in love with Snoopy as much as I did.

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36 thoughts on “Guest Post ~ Gayle Carline Talks Horses

    • Although most of the story is an imaginative interpretation of the behavior I observe in my horse and his pals, one of the scenes in there is not. As I said, I do not consider myself an animal communicator, and I’ve never had this happen before or since (and I still totally respect anyone else’s skepticism). I was with my old horse, Uno, the morning he was put down due to founder (his hoof was breaking down and soon the bones in his leg would collapse). The vet was getting the tranquilizer ready, and that big red horse looked over at me. Suddenly the words, “Sorry about the bum leg,” appeared in my head. Just as surprisingly, I thought, “It’s okay. Just find a new body and get back here.” I’m not big on reincarnation, so I’m not even certain why I thought that.

      As I grow older, I guess I’m less willing to dismiss life’s possibilities.

  1. I’m not a horsey person so was a little worried I wouldn’t understand all of Snoopy’s story. Couldn’t have been more wrong! Not only did I understand, but enjoyed and loved this book! Had to remind myself a few times that this was a person writing because it seemed so believable that a horse could dictate his memoir. Snoopy’s character comes through as do the other horses’. You don’t have to be in the horse world to love this book.

  2. So happy for Gayle Carline! She’s a wonderful example of a writer who tells great stories and transcends genre boundaries. Congratulations to Gayle and Snoopy!

  3. Wow, sounds like a must-read for me. I did “dog viewpoint” in my thriller and worried folks wouldn’t get it (because he’s not a human in a fur suit but truly “dog perspective”). I loved Black Beauty for the same reason. And you will adore “Racing In the Rain” (it’s not all sad!). Congrats on the new book and best wishes on its success!

    • Thanks, Amy. I know I will love “Racing in the Rain” and I know it’s not all sad. I just set it aside while I wrote because these books affect me so deeply, yet I was having to read them analytically instead of for pleasure. Maybe I’ll download it for my trip to Sacramento this weekend.

  4. Just hearing the title Black Beauty brought such wonderful memories back to me of reading the book with my daughter. She still loves reading horse books so I know exactly what to get her for her birthday. Much success on your book. And congrats on picking up the challenge of doing something new and innovative.

    • Thanks! I think there’s a lot of us out there, who read Black Beauty until they felt they had lived in his hooves. I still have my childhood copy, and the spine has almost disintegrated.

  5. When I was younger I was ALL about horses. They lined my room, I drew them every day at school and they were all I thought about. I have no doubt I would get into Snoopy’s story. Every horse story I’ve seen has made me emotional. I haven’t picked up a book version in years. Maybe it’s about time. Thanks for sharing, Gayle. I bet my daughter would love it when she’s old enough.

    • Debra – you and me both! I was a horse-girl from the womb I think. Read Black Beauty, ALL of the Black Stallion books, Misty of Chincoteague, etc. Finally learned to ride at 45, bought my first horse at 46 and never looked back!

      • Ah, Misty! I still have my copy from childhood. I used to have a huge collection of Breyer horses, but they went missing in one of the moves. 😦 Some days I miss my Shammy and think about getting another horse, but then reality hits and I remind myself that horses take a lot of time and money. Two things I don’t have unlimited supplies of right now. I want to wait until I can give my horse all the love and devotion it deserves.

  6. I love your horse Snoopy, Gayle! What an adorable face. He’s spunky, isn’t he? I have a friend in Scottsdale that shows her Arabians. Some of her horses are blue ribbons beauties. She just loves her horses. And so do you, or you wouldn’t have written this story. I remember reading Racing In The Rain and I think you made the best decision writing this from a horse’s POV. Brilliant girl! And I think this story will make its way to the NYTBS list. Congratulations! 🙂

  7. I loved Black Beauty, even though horses scare me. I loved reading this blog post and the true life events that propelled you to write this. Yay for Snoopy and Uno xx, hugs for Gayle. I wish you tons of success.

    • I’d like to say that Snoopy would change your fear into friendliness, but he’s not that approachable, due to the whole, “What do you taste like?” attitude of his. His mom, Frostie, is another story. She’s my cuddle-bug.

    • He’s just a goon, Coleen. Happy all the time, and curious about everything. He got his name because at his mom’s last horse show, she was 5 months pregnant with him. My growth and development chart said he was the size of a beagle. So we started referring to the baby as Baby Snoopy. He has definitely lived up to the name!

  8. This is awesome, Gayle, and I know my son will love your book. He’s always talking in his “horse’s voice” and I could swear he’s saying exactly what’s on Diesel’s mind. 🙂

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