Monday, February 13, 2017

Can Horses and SFR Ever Mix?

I could subtitle this segment: Should I put a spaaaaaaace? :)

When a friend posted a reminder that February is "Love Your Horse" month, it got the idea wheels turning in my head, once again. Then I saw this blog from Genre Runs on Horsepower: Introducing the SFF Equine and my muse got a little over-excited, insisting that I really need to put a horse in a sci-fi romance. Sometime.


Silver (Silver N Straw) as a yearling.
Halter champion, dressage horse,
hunter and ranch horse.
With us for 29 years, age 2-31.
The truth is I've been around horses most of my life. It started in my pre-teens with a best friend who had horses, then my sister acquired a remuda of pleasure horses that I helped exercise. I finally bought my first horse at the tender age of seventeen.

Terry was an absolutely wonderful little grade saddle horse, who tolerated all sorts of teenage-tomfoolery like having his idiot rider stand up in the saddle or ride at a breakneck gallop through the woods. I was very fortunate he was that very special brand of equine called a "kids horse." He'd tolerate practically anything and always took care of his rider. (Probably the reason I never ended up in traction.)

Later in life, I started practicing dressage (and I say "practicing" because it truly is a discipline), got involved with Quarter Horses and became one of syndicators of a very nice Quarter Horse stallion with the unlikely name of Lucks Chic Gay. Lucks was 16 hands, black and actually half Thoroughbred. His sire was What Luck, a son of the famous Bold Ruler, who sired Secretariat and a dynasty of great Thoroughbreds. "Our" Lucks made quite a name as a sire in his own right, producing stakes winners on the track as well as winners in the show ring. He's gone now...but his bloodline lives on.

After all these years, this is the only photo I could find of Lucks online, taken when he was a young stallion.

Our first home bred, an Appaloosa colt that we registered as
To Boldly Go. His nickname -- Trekkie. :)

After moving to New Mexico, we got out of the business of breeding Quarter Horses, had a few saddle horses, did some showing and pleasure riding, bred an Appaloosa (see the caption above for the sci-fi centric name), and after more than a decade, went back to breeding racehorses. This time Thoroughbreds.

One of our Thoroughbred "babies" at Sunland Park last month.
And yet, even with all this horse experience, I have yet to write an actual horse into one of my sci-fi romances.

A hologram of a horse? Yes, there's one of those.

A woman who's knowledge of pedigrees and genetics helps change an empire? Yeah, that's in a story, too.

A civilization that manages humans much like they would the horses on a Kentucky breeding farm? That also made its way into a book.

But an actual horse? No. Not a one.

It's really a pretty daunting thought for this writer. There are so many things to get wrong when it comes to horses, even for a somewhat knowledgeable horseperson. And the logistics of putting a horse on a starship? Or being introduced into a new colony setting? Or having a herd running wild on an alien planet as the survivors of some space disaster?

Hmm. Maybe I really DO need to put a horse in a SFR. Soon!

I wanted to wrap up this week's blog on an encouraging note. The weekly television news magazine Sunday Morning did a feature on Romance books as its annual tribute to Valentine's Day. Eloisa James was the featured author, though Beverly Jenkins and Sarah Wendell (of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) had sound bytes, and others were mentioned or had their books in the segment.

For me, the bright spot of the feature was when they mentioned some of the different types of romance that existed--same sex, suspense...and sci-fi (at 3:12). YES! They actually gave SFR a nod! We've come light years, baby. And this was yet another sign that SFR is making its mark in the industry. I heart that!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day.

And have a great week.


  1. Horses and SFR? Why not? Remember Elizabeth Moon's Serrano books? The first one was "Hunting Party" - which is about cross-country hunting uses horses. To start with, anyway. ;)

  2. I haven't seen that Moon book yet, Greta. I'll check it out. Thanks!

    1. It's quite old. Here's the Amazon link

  3. Lovely horses. I had a pony as a teen, but she had to go to a new home when my parents divorced.
    As for horse-y SFR...also as a teen, I wrote a series of unfinished books that were basically an equine version of Anne McCaffrey's dragon books. My penpal (also a huge McCaffrey fan) was writing a SF/SFR series with horses, only they weren't call horses and some were telepathic. Can't remember what she called them (and I've no idea if she ever went on to get published - I know some of her later work was more fantasy with shifters, and that one got rejected by publishers). But I spotted a book on Twitter just the other day - Mary Brock Jones' TORN - which has a spaceship and a woman on a horse. I have no idea how big a feature the horse might be in the book, but I guess there must be *some* significance if it's on the cover...

    1. I'll have to look for TORN. I think there was another by a SFR Brigader about horses on one of the moons of Jupiter, but I can't recall the title right now.

      Meanwhile, my muse is still mulling...


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