Originally I planned to call this blog “If You’re Going To Do It Get It Right.” But that was a lot of words for a title. Especially if I used the whole subject: If you’re going to use horses and dogs in a book PLEASE get it right. Don’t suppose since you hung out at a stable when you were younger you can toss your hero on the back of a black stallion so he can go dashing off to the rescue. You’ll guarantee book tossing from readers who know better.
Horses don’t gallop all day, no matter what we saw on Ladyhawke or Lord of the Rings. It just doesn’t happen. In particular, they don’t gallop all day then stand all night tied to a tree. Those gorgeous large bodies need a lot of fuel to keep them going, and in the wild they get that food by grazing a large part of the day. When worked hard, they need extra energy through grain or other concentrates plus grass or hay. And woe to any rider who turns his horse out in a lush green valley if they haven’t been in pasture lately. Horse digestive systems can be very delicate.
If you’re going to dress your people in “horsey clothes” then be sure you know what kind of boots are worn with what kind of pants in any style of riding. If you’re not 100% positive, have a knowledgeable friend check out that part of your story. And unless you want your modern heroine to look like a careless fool, don’t have her riding blithely across the countryside with her golden hair flowing in the wind. Smart riders wear protective head gear.
Stallions are not the mount of choice for even experienced equestrians. Yes, they have those neat cresty necks and they look fancy prancing around. Trained properly they can be a decent ride but all too often their minds are more on the mare in the next pasture than on cooperating. Which might make for an interesting plot twist but again have a knowledgeable friend check over your story before you put it out to the world.
Then we have the dogs. But maybe I’ll save that for another day.