(To read the teaser of The Runaway Courtesan, scroll down to the end)
Yesterday, a couple of friends and I went to Wildwood Manor Ranch to go horseback riding. While we were waiting for our horses to be led over to us, I found myself entranced by this one stallion in the open range, galloping around in circles. The way his mane whipped about in the cold air, the way he let out this wild, haunting neigh that echoed in the icy air, made him look like an untamed beast. Laughingly, I turned to my friends and said: “I hope our horses won’t be like that!”
I had only to wait and see. Soon, the instructor led out three saddled horses one by one. Liz went first to mount because she’s taken riding classes before; she got a chestnut horse. Then it was Ruth, who also got to mount a beautiful chestnut. And then, the instructor led out a black horse, named Ebony. I felt all fluttery inside as this was the first time ever riding a horse—and horseback riding had been on my bucket list for the past eight years (why? I wrote about men riding away on black stallions yet never knew how it actually felt). I slipped my left boot into the stirrup and swung myself onto the saddle. It was easier than I thought. Maybe this was because I had practiced the movement so often in my mind. What followed was not so easy, however. I couldn’t get the hang of steering the horse in the right direction. When I wanted to go left, I’d tug on the rein, directing Ebony right; and if I wanted to go right, I ended up steering him left. I sort of got used to it later on though. Another issue I had was getting Ebony speed up (which wasn’t my fault by the way) which I’ll elaborate more on as I write.
Anyway, we rode into the forest, in a line, following behind the instructor. My heart leapt into my throat the moment I saw my surrounding. Tall, bare trees enclosed our riding trail, with their brittle branches arced over us. The hard ground was layered in white. Soft curls of snow drifted down from the pale sky. In the near distance, camouflaged against the brown streaks of trees, was a deer, staring at us. I could have let out a wistful sigh just then had I not been freezing cold. The place was just magical. I felt as if I had been thrown into a fairytale.
After a few minutes we rode out into the open field, an ocean of white. By then my feet were numb, the cold biting into them. But this pain was quickly forgotten when the instructor asked if we were ready to speed it up with a trot. I wanted to yell out YES because my horse was so slow. The group broke into a trot, going further and further away, while my horse stubbornly preferred to walk. I continued to dig my heels into Ebony’s side, clicking my tongue for him to move faster. But he wouldn’t listen. It was only when the instructor whistled at him that he quickened his pace. His stubbornness persisted throughout the ride. Only after a bout of side-nudging and tongue-clicking and whistling would he trot. But once or twice he actually rode along with the others.
I loved it when Ebony rode fast (well, a trot is nothing compared to a gallop, but it was fast enough for me!). I could actually feel his hooves clashing against the ground as he ran. It was a bit uncomfortable, being bounced up and down on the saddle, but totally worth it. In a matter of seconds I would be on the other side of the field. I found myself daydreaming about getting Ebony to gallop away with me, but, in my imagination, I either ended up 1) being tossed off, or 2) being unable to get him to gallop, seeing as he is even too lazy to trot at times.
Here is a Teaser # 2 of THE RUNAWAY COURTESAN (chapter twenty-six). I chose this specific scene because…well…there is a horse in it, and today’s post is about horse riding.
Her thoughts stilled, in a trance by the rhythmic crashing of the waves. She couldn’t recall how long she stood there for, or for how long she wandered the coast afterwards, but she began to worry that she had stayed out too long. It would be difficult to travel by night. So she pursued her way towards the main road.
From the distance, Amanda heard the tramp of hooves, the sound growing louder by the second. She turned to look back. Past her disarray of curls, she saw a horseman with his black greatcoat billowing behind him. Her brows knotted seeing that she was directly in his path. She turned and walked in a different direction, but at that very moment, the horseman tugged at the reins to follow suit. It was then that panic gripped her.
She was being followed.
Amanda quickened the pace of her steps. She hiked up her skirt to keep herself from tripping. The wet grass spattered against her bare ankle. Her blood turned cold when the beast charged ahead of her, and then came to a prancing halt, its legs flaring in the air, blocking Amanda’s path. The animal let out a wild neigh that echoed eerily across the vast greenery, before steadying itself on all four hooves. Amanda remained immobile, like a deer in the face of peril. The man steered the horse as he rode slowly around her. She turned, never taking her eyes away from him, winding up for the moment to dash away again. But when he took off his hat, the shadow lifted, revealing the stern features of the Viscount’s.
She let out an uneasy laugh, her hand fluttering over her pounding heart. “Is it your intention to frighten the living breath out of everyone with that scowl of yours, my lord?” When she finally mustered enough courage to look straight at him, something like concern weighed his brows—perhaps he noticed her red-rimmed eyes, bloated by spent tears. He leaned forward. In an unexpectedly soft voice, he said:
“Take my hand and mount.”
“No,” came her immediate response. “But thank you.”
At once his expression chilled. “Then stay out and freeze in the rain.”
She looked up at the sky and it was then that she became aware of the little droplets of cold wetness already falling. Perhaps she would postpone running away to another day. Perhaps on their ride back to the manor she would be able to reconcile with him. She reluctantly stretched her hand out to him. A long silence followed. She remained with her hand held midair, the Viscount staring down at it.
“On second thoughts,” he murmured, “enjoy your walk, madam.”
The harness clinked against the creature’s side. His Lordship spurred the chestnut around. With the swish of horsetail, air brushed by her dejected hand, which she soon dropped to her side. She watched him ride off, leaving her at least half a mile away from Burlescombe Park. She waited. He would return for her.
But he didn’t.
Agent Update: So, five days ago, I received my second partial request! I sent it to the agent in New York just today. I sort of took my time, as she wrote to me that she would be out of office until the new years. That was good for me. I needed some time to go around printing the material out, then travelling downtown to buy U.S. postage, and then looking through the partial to make sure everything was perfect.
12 thoughts on “Horseback Riding & Teaser 2”
I haven’t spoke to you in ages! How’s everything?
Ooh, I think Horses are beautiful animals, but I’d be too afraid to ride one.
I loved the teaser! I just felt like jumping into the scene and slapping the Viscount. I can’t believe he left Amanda there in the pouring rain!
oof it has been a long time! how are you doing? how goes your writing? I haven’t dropped by your blog in a while. So I’m going to go and do just that. I’ve just been so busy with school to be following my fav. bloggers. Do you happen to have Facebook?
Horses…they’re actually not scary at all. Well, the trained ones, that is. And when I was riding Ebony..he was sooo slow…if it had been a warm day I probably would have fallen asleep.
Yah, throughout the year TRC had been up on FP, I had a lot of readers who wanted to slap the Viscount. But…what can I do…I love writing about jerks who reform hehe
Oh, it’s been ages since I went horseback riding! Your lovely description and photos made me think I should plan an excursion soon (if I can convince a friend to go with me…my husband is afraid of horses!). I’m glad you enjoyed your first experience–and I enjoyed the teaser you posted. Happy New Year!
Yay!!! I’m glad my article was convincing. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I ever had. I would have thought you still went horseback riding often–riding side saddled while dressed in your 18th century hoop gown hehe
Hi June, I haven’t talked to you in a while which is a shame considering how much we said we wanted to hang out. It looks like you’re having lots of fun though. Horseback riding! Awesome! That’s on my bucket list too. Are you going again?
I admit I haven’t read the story that you sent me yet but from what I read here it sounds really good and visual. I’m looking forward to taking the time to read it all. I haven’t been doing much this break.
I read your previous post mentioning Bukowski’s poem. Very true and straightforward. I agree with him and it’s making me think I’m not meant to be a writer but these days I’m not sure what I’m meant to do at all. I think I’ll just keep at it, I think I may be too critical of my writing.
Thanks for the inspiration.
Let’s hang out sometime. btw, I joined twitter. :S
@Caroline-i want to go riding again maybe in the spring when the weather gets warmer. We’ll just need to find a driver willing to go there with us. No busses go that way.
As that all writers are different so that poem might not apply to everyone. Maybe for you you just need to wait for “the” story. That was what happened to me. I hated writing until the day I became obsessed with pride and prejudice. I wrote a continuation of it because I needed to know what happened next to darcy and lizzy. That was when I discovered the pleasure of being transported into another world. So I think you just need to find that spark agaain…like the time you found it after reading Little house on a prairie 🙂
I’ve actually been following Let The Words Flow for a few months and was surprised to see that my meager attempt at making a trailer for Covet was used as an “example!” I have a couple of regarding the contest:
1) I was only copying you 😉
2) Does that mean I’m disqualified from participating? ‘Cause I’d love to have my query and first three chaps edited by the wonderful ladies at LTWF 😀 I’ve built up enough nerve to finally query one agent.
Awesome news about the rewrite!! I have no qualms about you changing Amanda to a maid. I do wonder if she will still be ashamed of herself though in the same manner. This sounds horrible, but maybe she could have been sexually assaulted which would still add the same element of being abused and her rising above her situation. But, I don’t think it’s necessary-I seem to have a frightening (sickening) preoccupation with having all my female characters undergo some sort of sexual trauma. I guess it’s the Psychiatrist in me!
Oh my goodness! Long time no talk! Please, we must keep in touch!
You absolutely MUST enter the contest. I don’t know WHAT i was thinking when I added your trailer up. I had no idea this might ruin your fun in entering the contest. But–I have my excuses! 1)Did not have any idea that you were following LTWF 2)I absolutely always adored your trailer. So when you enter the contest, mention that your trailer was used in my article, but that I said that you were in no way disqualified because of it. Well, you don’t even need to mention it. I’ll do it tonight. So yes, ENTER!
And as for my story. Amanda turning into a maid… She gets sexually harrassed enough to feel dirty. As for assualted, which I’m assuming is a level above being assualted, I might allude to it somewhere in my story.
Thanks for dropping by!
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Oh, isn’t horseriding the best. It’s so relaxing. Unfortunately, I only get to go occasionally.
I’m sad that it doesn’t snow in Australia for me to be able to ride through snowy fields and woods. The woods here are still nice though and the place I go riding lets you go on free range rides if you’re experienced enough.
I go horseriding with my older sister and they don’t let you gallop but they let you canter, and that’s fast enough for me. Cantering through the paddocks is fun. The horses in the paddocks just stand there eating and sometimes look at you like they’re thinking “What an idiot”.
The only bad thing about free range riding is that my sister is short and always makes me open the gates so I’m constantly dismounting and remounting. Like horseriding for 3 hours isn’t already tiring enough. HAHA, I remember the first time we went I made her open a gate because I was getting sick of doing it but then had to dismount anyway to help her mount because she didn’t want to adjust the stirrups. By the end because I hadn’t ridden in ages and hadn’t warmed up before the ride I almost couldn’t get back on the horse. I had to find something to step on, and even then I was dragging myself back up there.
I have to say though, that all the pain is totally worth it. I always feel so free and in another world when I’m horseriding.
I wish I tried cantering!!! The trot…it was alright, but I wanted soooo badly to ride faster!!! A canter would have been great. Do you guys own the horses? or go to a farm to ride it?
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