My first novel Horse Country debuted back in 2013. I thought every couple of weeks this year, I would share some of the first words from my books for you to be able to read and get a taste for them. So I thought I would start with Horse Country and go from there! In each post there’ll be a link to the book in question in case you want to purchase. All books are available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited, too.
Year 1 – February
Lise Hemmingway smiled to herself, studiously reading the available jobs listed on the sheet in front of her.
She silently thanked whichever genius had decided to start a company that focused solely on advertising jobs in the equine industry and lining up capable people to take on these jobs anywhere across the globe.
At nineteen years of age, the slim brunette already boasted a strong love of horses and had proven herself capable of handling and caring for excitable thoroughbreds many a time.
Just recently, she had finished up a six-month stint at a large stud in the Hunter Valley, working with weanlings and previously foaling down mares. Now in February and barely scraping the surface of what the year had to offer her, she had traveled to South Australia with a friend, helping out with a few yearlings for the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale to earn a bit of extra money before moving on to Victoria.
Having given up on school at the age of sixteen Lise had quickly learnt what hard work was involved in working in the thoroughbred field.
This was now especially true, with the equine industry quickly adopting the idea of employing those who had taken the time to learn the theory and gain the piece of paper.
Eager to improve herself though, she had delighted her past employers by asking lots of questions, often volunteering for tasks others shied away from and consistently turning up early or staying behind late. It was obvious to others that she was aware that working with horses wasn’t at all a nine to five job, but rather, a lifestyle.
Now, two and a half years later, she had an attractive resume behind her and was ready to take on a more challenging role in Victoria. All she had to do was find the job, she reminded herself, moving out of the way of a colt that was prancing excitedly on the end of his lead.
“Your horse is about to slip that shoe,” she observed an older man telling the handler as they led the yearling up to the ring.
The handler paused, looked at the horse’s foot, then shrugged and continued on their way.
“But hey, that’s fine when the nail punctures his sole and an infection builds up and suddenly you don’t have a viable racehorse. Moron,” the man muttered, shaking his head in disgust before following the animal up to the pre-sale ring.
Curious, Lise followed the older male, placing herself casually beside him. Her gaze also followed the horse and handler around the ring.
The same colt, discovering a filly in front of him increased his pace, the handler oblivious of the horse in front of them. Squealing, the colt lunged forward, nearly gaining a kick from the filly.
He then jumped back in surprise, pulling the confused handler with him.
This exertion on the loose shoe half pulled it from the colt’s foot, leaving the shoe dangling and nails sticking up. The excited animal pranced on a tight lead, the handler now in control but in danger of the young animal piercing its foot.
The older male observing this at the ring sighed.
“I told him,” he muttered to himself, flicking a cigarette to the ground before stamping it out with his foot.
“People don’t always recognise a knowledgeable piece of information,” Lise responded, gaining his attention.
The male nodded.
“You’re telling me!”
“Farrier? … or just particularly aware of how true the saying no foot, no horse is?” she queried, realising that the clinking noise that resounded every time the colt put weight on the foot with the loose shoe should clue in anyone who had been around shod horses awhile.
He nodded, pulled out his wallet and extracted a card, handing it to her.
“Guess it’s not worth giving advice to people who don’t ask. Stuart Hunter,” he introduced himself.
“Lise Hemmingway,” she smiled, shaking the hand he offered.
“When I land myself a job, I’ll keep you in mind,” she smiled.
“Looking for anything in particular?” he queried, lounging against the rail, his gaze drifting to the colt as its handler led it through to the inside sale ring.
“Find out who that guy works for… I’m sure his boss will be looking for another worker soon,” he grinned.
“Wrong time of season, but I want to focus on foal care.”
He cast his eye over her, taking in her small frame.
“Had much experience?” he questioned dubiously.
“I’m competent enough… don’t let the young age fool you. I was up Hunter Valley way but actually want to be situated in Victoria.”
“So why the Adelaide sales?”
“Just helping out a mate with a couple of horses.”
He nodded, kicking the ground.
“Nirvana Park… I heard through the grapevine they’re taking on a couple more stallions for the next breeding season and they usually have a lot of weaners. Probably could do with an extra pair of hands at this time… Barn C. The guy’s name is Kingsley… David Kingsley.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, thanks,” she shook his hand again and strolled back to the barn where her friend’s yearlings were stabled.
The young brunette smiled. The name rang a bell and although she knew little about the stud, she was aware of their reputation for turning out yearlings to a high standard and receiving good sales prices.
Topping up some water buckets, she glanced down the aisle at a television that was set up, showing each lot as it was taken through the ring. Noting that her friend’s first horse to go through, a chestnut filly by Rory’s Jester, wasn’t due to be in the ring for another hour or so, she finished filling the buckets, checked each horse had food and strolled out of the barn, heading toward where Nirvana Park was stabled.
Enjoying? Horse Country is available on Amazon.