As a child, I dreamed of owning a horse. But those dreams went dormant with the realities of life: making a living, raising children, feeling trapped in a city. I set the dream aside. But I also lived frugally and craved a life where I could hear frog and bird songs, and see the stars.
In my late fifties, I thought it’s now or never. And I took the plunge and bought a beautiful, well-trained Norwegian Fjord Horse mare. Fortunately, I had no idea how many steep learning curves I would need to climb. Those learning curves were eventually shared in my new book: Riding Horseback in Purple.
Although I have always loved writing, I had no plans to write a book about horses or work with horses. Hundreds of experts have done that very nicely.
Then I broke my shoulder. Well–to be perfectly honest–I had a horse accident and smashed my shoulder. I couldn’t do much of anything for a several weeks and I couldn’t ride for several months. Friends started to say: “You have learned so much; you should write a book!” At first, I smiled politely. Then I started to think about it. I was not an expert in dressage or nutrition or hoof care or colic or saddle fitting. But I was an “expert” at being an adult beginner. I already had expertise in adult learning and leadership through my education and career. I knew how to do research and interview people to draw on their experiences. Perhaps I did have something to offer?
Norwegian Fjord Horses
There are many well-known breeds of horses such as Thoroughbred and the American Quarter Horse. But as I researched different types of horses, I encountered a rare breed that captivated my interest. “Fjords” are sturdy, strong, versatile and often calm horses with a reputation of being good for beginners. The more I learned, the more determined I was to build a relationship with the right Fjord horse. It took many years for that to happen and I haven’t regretted my decisions for an instant.
Riding Horseback in Purple
The “Riding Horseback” part is obvious, but why Purple? This was inspired by Jenny Joseph’s famous poem: When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple. It is a poem of assertion and rebellion: about mature women shedding society’s expectations and following their dreams. It fit.
Although Riding Horseback in Purple is not exclusively about the Norwegian Fjord breed, Fjords figure prominently. Fjords are quite spectacular in many ways, and not well known. You may know that Disney’s movie “Frozen” features a Fjord named Sitron.
Around the time Frozen was released, I learned that Sitron was modelled after my horse’s sire Prisco. You can see Prisco’s photo in the lower left. It is exciting to have these links between the book, my horse, her sire and their former owner, Lori Albrough. To learn more, visit Lori’s blog.
I am delighted that Riding Horseback in Purple has been getting five-star reviews and you can easily purchase it internationally through many outlets as a paperback or e-book.
I was intrigued when I saw your paper on our resource list for module 2. I went and found it on the RRU library site and was even more fascinated as it relates to an industry I am involved in, nuclear. I found your site at the bottom of your paper and came to investigate. I now want to purchase your book (when I have free time to read for leisure!), as your description screamed at me, “about mature women shedding society’s expectations and following their dreams”. I have done that in many facets of my life, namely quitting a well-paying job to follow my dream of completing a Masters, and finding a new passion, competing in fitness competitions in my late 40s. Not to mention I am a big DIsney fan and Frozen in my favourite of all.
Thank you for inspiring me and I am purchasing this book to read in a year’s time!
Well, dear Alice, this is an especially interesting post. How cool that your horse’s sire was the model for Sitron in Frozen. I’m very happy for you in how you fulfilled your dream and continue to follow it.