Saturday, February 4, 2012

Horses being silly--for a reason

Posted by: Evey Brett

Next month, my new book, CAPRIOLE, will be out from Loose Id. Hooray! It's M/M and features Lipizzans based on this herd.

(No. No cover yet, sadly. I am anxiously waiting for it...)

Actually, for a much more detailed blog by a professional writer and breeder about using horses in fiction and for horsey worldbuilding ideas, I point you her posts on Book View Cafe. Me, I don't claim to be a horse girl. I never had a horse crazy stage. I rode a horse once in summer camp when I was maybe nine. I still don't know what color a bay or a roan is, though I do know that most "white" horses are actually gray.

And all this comes in handy when writing fantasy or historical, since so much of it includes horses, and horse details are so easy to get wrong even when you think you're right.

For a few ideas, I'll give you some Lipizzans in action.

Want to have a mischievous horse? The pose above is something the gelding started, and this mare, Tia, learned. A couple of the other mares can do this too. See the hay on the ground? This is where the horses get groomed and saddled, and we give them a bit of hay to keep them occupied. Tia and her buddies like to reach under the fence to get as much hay as they can reach. See the hose? The gelding has figured out if he tugs on it, he can get a mouthful of hay to come out with it.

Ahhh, nothing like a good roll, as Tia and Pandora like to do. Actually, Tia's down for a nap while Pandora is actually rolling, something all the horses like to do for several reasons. It provides a good stretch, it helps with itching, and the dirt helps to keep the flies from being so bothersome. In the summer we hose the horses off to keep them cool (in 100+ degrees, they ask for it,) and they usually go for a roll right afterwards and come up looking like paint ponies.

And here is my horse Carrma, the matriarch of the herd. That's Tia lying down for a snooze. She slept for about forty-five minutes that day. Horses sleep for around four hours a day, and while they can sleep standing up as their legs lock into place so they don't fall down, they do like to get the weight off their feet and will lie flat like Tia here (which panicked me the first time I saw it, because I thought the horse was sick or something.)

Or the horses will sleep curled up like Pandora is. And they don't often do it in front of humans unless they're totally comfortable. We had eight humans with the herd that day, and three horses decided to take a nap all at once, which means the horses really trusted us.

No, that image is not digitally enhanced to add the tongue. Camilla really is sticking her tongue out. It's a way for the horses to relax. Yawning doesn't mean they're tired--it means they're relaxed and releasing tension much the same way humans do. And if you see a horse lick and chew, it means they're happy.

Anyhoo. That's probably more than enough horse picture spam for today. If you have any horse questions, holler, and if I don't know I probably know who would.

All pictures copyright Evey Brett. Thanks. :>)


  1. Beautiful horses, always loved the Lippizans ever since that old Disney movie...enjoyed the post!

  2. Love the pictures. Those are gorgeous horses :)

  3. Gorgeous horses! We had horses when we were kids growing up in Southern Indiana. My horse's name was Lady, my sister's horse's name was Bucky. Hey used to roll under the electric fence and end up in our car port every morning. What a character.

  4. Barbara, your comment made me smile. A horse in your car port! :)

    Beautiful Lipizzans, Evey


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