How Horseback Riding and Writing Compare

Originally published in 2016, I thought it was time to dust this blog off, especially with an upcoming contemporary romance release from Dakota Star set at, of all places, a Pennsylvania dude ranch. Got to love the mix of smart women, cowboys, and horses.

Hold on to your cowboy hats. I have a love hate relationship with two thing in my life: Horseback riding and writing.  I can’t seem to live without them, but I don’t do either as competently as I would like.  Maybe that’s okay because both have taught me so many important lessons throughout the years.

Horseback riding and writing both take time dedication.

The first time on a horse is daunting.   There is so much to remember.  You can’t learn it in a day.  When on a horse, correct commands are critical. The rider must hold the reigns a certain way and position his or her feet down in the stirrups.  Those are only two of two hundred things to be accomplished.  Who can even comprehend what the correct diagonal and lead are?  Writing is very similar.  All the components must fit together for the story to work, including well developed characters, pacing, and plot.  These are only a few of the necessary elements. If a rider forgets to do something with a horse, it is likely her face hits the dirt.  This leaves nasty bruises and scabs by the way. With writing, when an author’s story falls flat, the audience moves to other authors.  While internal, the scars feel about the same as a face plant in the dirt.  Yet, even when your story is awful or your body and ego are bruised from a bad ride, you can’t quit.  There is something, whether a live animal or a developing character, waiting for you.  Both need, no demand, your attention.

There’s a touch of crazy.  

Seriously.  Who wants to get on the back of a 1000 pound beast just to race around a round pen, jump over cross rails and likely get thrown off? But people do every day and they love it.  Most horseback riders spend every extra penny and all their time perfecting their jumping and pampering their ponies. Writing is similar.  You’re pulling characters out of the netherworld, creating new settings, possibly new worlds, and putting them out for the public to see. You are putting every penny into promoting your book and developing your skills whether through classes or writing groups or hours on the computer.  It’s more than a hobby, it’s a calling.  A slightly insane one, but a calling non-the-less.

It’s more than a skill.

Riding a horse and writing a book are as much art as science.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  There is something magical between the horse and the rider and between the writer and the developing book that makes it all worthwhile.  Ask any rider and they would sell their car (possibly more) for extra hours of riding.  When a rider jumps 3’6” for the first time, there is an incredible feeling of accomplishment.  Every moment to that point was worth it to be able to accomplish something so amazing with another living creature as a partner.  Writers are the same.  The characters come alive, the world spins as strongly as any in orbit, and sharing it with an audience is about the most amazing thing ever.


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