Dear Every Novelist I’ve (not) Read Lately;
Normal people don’t ride stallions. The old west was not full of stallions. People did not let their 12-year-old daughters ride stallions. All war horses were not stallions.
Stallions are really just kind of a pain in the tuchus for the most part, honestly. Yes, I have known some really good stallions that were like kid’s horses. I’ve known some stallions that could teach most men a thing or two about how to romance the female of the species. Of course, the alternative to politeness is getting his block knocked off, so I guess stallions learn from mares, too. Because I am a flipping genius and accidentally deleted the wrong version of Lightroom off of my computer (and I’m having to redownload and redo my collections) I won’t share some of my old stallion photos right now. A moment of silence for my fried brain pan……….. Thank you.
Actually the Bedouin valued mares for warfare, and if you want to get lost in war mare stories, do a search of Wadduda. These mares of desert descent are just special, in the best sense of the word. There are a lot of people that don’t appreciate Arabs and don’t understand what they’re dealing with, that there’s really a lively mind in there that thrives on human contact in a way that many other breeds don’t. It’s kind of like the difference between a herding dog and other breeds of dogs. It’s a codependent relationship, with both individuals having input on how best to handle matters. Many people just want to dominate their animals, they don’t want feedback, just control. There are animals out there that are bred for that kind of relationship, but Arabs are not. They think and remember, and they’ve got your number. I admit, I got totally lost in stories about people’s horses this morning and it really brought back some memories for me.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Stallions. They are independent males who are designed to protect, fight for, and breed mares, and are a challenge to handle because of that. A thousand pounds of testosterone-fueled mojo. Granted, a good horse that has been used to pasture breed and been properly socialized can be a pleasure to work with in the right hands, but they’re not for casual use, and no Victorian Era father would be buying one for his teenage daughter. Most modern boarding farms won’t take them, and I doubt old-time livery stables would be any different. All you need is one mare in heat to walk by and suddenly you have an adventure on your hands, and honestly the mares are no better than the stallions when hormones are running high.
Because they are so known for random mayhem many shoers won’t work on them. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As a matter of fact, while trimming a friend’s horses we were all standing around shooting the breeze between catching horses when the horseshoer adamantly insisted she wouldn’t work on stallions, no way, no how. Ironically, she was unknowingly trimming the hind foot of a stud while saying it. Caught off-guard, we all stood quietly for a moment, long enough for her to look up from the hind hoof she was shaping and say ‘What?’ One of us told her to look to her left… Sure enough, there they were, still where God hung them. She dropped that foot and looked at us. Looked at him. Looked at us. She never did get over how good that horse was, and allowed that not all stallions are nuts. Of course, he was Arabian, and had been raised like a normal horse running with other horses in a field, as well as handled daily. 😉
So, please, Dear Novelists, Editors and Reviewers, listen to me. All of us who know and love horses drop your books like hot potatoes when you get it wrong about stallions. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I figure if you’ve got that simple fact wrong, you’ve probably gotten a bunch of other stuff wrong too and I’m not going to waste time on 300 more pages of badly researched silliness. Get a proofreader and you’ll be sure to sell more books. You can’t appeal to the horse crowd if you don’t know horses. Sorry. I know it’s not as cool to say your heroine galloped away on her gelding or mare, but horse people feel as strongly about this as you feel about comma placement. Just saying.