The Human-Whisperers

I can promise one thing to anyone who becomes a published author, whether by hook, by crook or by Nook. (Heh heh.)

There are going to be surprises along the way, and the first year is going to be an emotionally-turbulent period.

I've been through some real highs and lows surrounding the publication of my first series, The Saddler's Legacy. This is normal--I don't think I know a single writer who would tell you that her experience as a debut author was predictable and boring.

Today, I realized how important horses have been to my writing journey over the last year.

I don't own horses, but my daughter is an equestrian vaulter, which means she does gymnastics on horseback. She belongs to a team, and so twice a week we go to the stables and I lunge the horses while she and her team mates vault. My lunging (driving the horses in a circle around me at the end of a long line) allows the coach to watch the vaulters' form and spot them in case of any slips. Lunging the horses requires my full concentration. The horse must not "break" from one gait to another unless I tell it to do so. If a vaulter is standing on a horse's back, the vaulter balances according to the horse's gait. A horse that drops from a trot to a walk can throw off the vaulter. Literally.

When I go to the stables with my daughter, I get out in the open air, away from my computer, away from deadlines, away from the worries and pressures of the introverted writer's life. I concentrate on simple but important tasks: picking out a horse's feet, putting on tack, warming up the horse on the lunge line. I don't have time to think about me. I'm too busy watching the horses, assessing their moods, making sure they're feeling OK before the children get on. When I feed a horse his carrot after a job well done, I'm not distracted by anything. I'm watching the pure pleasure on the horse's face and feeling the joy of caring for that horse.

I'm not sure why someone ever called a book "The Horse Whisperer." Those of us who spend time with horses know that the most important whispering isn't done by the humans.

It's done by the human-whisperers, with their big eyes, fuzzy muzzles, and long manes.

My life over the past year would have been poorer and less balanced without my human-whisperers.

Have any animals helped you through the stresses of life? I want to know their names!