Had an interesting conversation with my trainer Lori’s daughter Sabrina about my older mare, Moonlight. Seems she’s now lead mare, after a hard year. In the wild, horse herds are led by the oldest, senior mare. I bought Moonlight last fall. I wasn’t looking for another horse. Already had one – a three-year-old gray Morab filly named Temptation Fyre n’ Ice, aka “Sassy.” Someone else in the barn was looking for a bombproof horse and had Moonlight there for a trial weekend. My kids fell in love with her, and when the other person decided to pass, I found myself writing a check.
First off, she was hard to catch – chase-her-around-for-forty-minutes hard to catch. I am a person who has to plan down to the nanosecond to get everything done. She was hell on my schedule. Also, when she’s in heat, she loses her mind. Literally, like walk-into-a-fence-because-I’m-too-busy-staring-lustfully-after-the-stud-in-the-next-field-to-notice-the-FENCE! She’s small. She’s white. My trainer Lori has to rescue her with a pitchfork when three of the established mares cornered her in the barn for a general whoopass session. She spent months in a general bloody state of bruises and scrapes and flattened ears.
But she was the oldest mare in a herd scenario and in her world she was meant to be leader. period. Sassy didn’t have a problem with it – as a junior, she concedes to darn near everyone except for a couple of geldings and the yearling baby, Bailey. But Angel and her daughter Uno took some convincing. Apparently they finally decided it wasn’t worth it and backed down. Moonlight’s now leader, because she wanted it more, went after it, and never gave up.
As a writer I learned a lot from that horse. First off, believe in yourself – even when no one else does. When people ask what you do, introduce yourself as a writer. When that rejection smacks you upside the head from the mailbox (the one on the curb or the one in the computer), just shake it off, say “What do they know?” and send it out to someone else. If you get a critique or a review you don’t like, see if they have a point you can use to make your work stronger. If not, move on. Horses live in the moment: “Just because Angel and Uno kicked my butt yesterday, today will be better.” “Just because so-and-so didn’t like my story, doesn’t mean it’s not good. I’ve just got to find someone who sees what I see.”
Believe. Stick with it. (The hide of a rhino doesn’t hurt, either.) I have an advantage – I’m a Taurus. We were born stubborn. People tried to tell me to write for the market, write “what New York wants.” (What IS that, anyway?) But I write what I love, and found a publisher who isn’t afraid to think outside the box. Moonlight and I are both a bit battered, a bit scarred. But we both got what we want, and are stronger for the battle.