January 1st, 2017 / Categories: General
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Hi everyone! Happy New Year!
Once a month this year, I have decided to provide an excerpt from one of my horse novels aimed at mature readers, or one of my non fiction horse books. If you’re interested in reading excerpts from my children’s series, then head on over to http://www.freereinseries.com/ 🙂
Below is an excerpt from my most recent release, No Hoof, No Horse, book 2 in the Thoroughbred Breeders series.
No Hoof, No Horse (Thoroughbred Breeders #2) by Christine Meunier
It was on the third thoroughbred property that Craig had been to on his second Tuesday of trimming with Rick and Jay that he decided he liked the area. This property was small for a thoroughbred stud – 200 acres in size and nearly as many horses – and it appealed to him just fine. The owner/manager Nev was laid back and seemed to have a good sense of humour, at least judging by the way he interacted with Rick and Jay when they arrived.
There were three other staff members – two females and one male. It was the youngest female staff member who caught his attention.
Savannah had taken him completely by surprise. At first it was her looks – he’d never met a dark skinned person with blue eyes before. Thinking back over his years in South Africa, he couldn’t recall any time when he’d seen a black person with blue eyes. Not that she was black, more like a chocolate brown.
He also liked that her questions focused on the horses rather than him. It was refreshing. He was used to female attention but not like what he was getting in this small town made up of horse properties. It was a little embarrassing and Rick and Jay had already had a hell of a time teasing him.
He’d since then decided that he would introduce himself as someone who lacked social skills. This was in the hope that it would discourage talking and he could just focus on the horses. It seemed funny to him that it hadn’t worked with other females who held horses for him. And when it had worked with Savannah, he’d not wanted it to.
He noted that she handled the horses well and was entirely focused on them when she needed to be. She was also polite, but not overly chatty. He didn’t know if this was because he was new to her, because of the way he’d introduced himself or if it was just her.
Either way, he felt that he could have a real conversation with her, not one based on a female trying to get his attention or something else superficial. Pity he wouldn’t see her that often. Either way, by the time he’d finished trimming on the property, he had decided he would do his best to get to know Savannah… Anna… Savvy, whenever the opportunity arose.
After the first visit to this farm, Craig was thankful to find out that they visited the property every Tuesday for trims. Sometimes it was a morning visit, other times after lunch but Nev had booked the men in for every Tuesday during the season and at other times if an emergency arose – like one of the stallions throwing a shoe.
The following week when they were heading down the road to the farm, Craig had eagerly anticipated having Savannah hold for him again. He’d considered things he might say to draw her into conversation and had eventually concluded that rather than rehearse lines, he should just see how things played out.
After all, she was the one female who had held horses for him who hadn’t shown any interest in him. Although that made her more appealing than it should, he knew that he should entertain the idea that she wasn’t the remotest bit interested in him.
As they’d driven past the main gate to the farm Craig had frowned in surprise. When he looked over at Rick, his boss had a knowing smirk on his face. At least, it seemed that way. Craig chose to keep silent.
“There’s another farm up the road that has a few spellers that need a trim. I thought we’d get them out of the way first.”
And then we’ll go back to Nev’s place?
Craig didn’t voice his question. He nodded instead. In the side mirror he noted that Jay’s car turned into Nev’s place.
I guess we are going there, then.
Rick and Craig continued up the road, hung a left and pulled into another driveway. Off to the right in a yard, stood half a dozen fillies. Three-year-olds, Craig guessed. He looked at their feet as they stepped out of the car.
Apparently Rick thought so, too. He introduced Craig to the man waiting to hold horses for them.
Craig was surprised when Rick indicated that Craig could do the six fillies. Jay and Rick would do the horses at Nev’s, then come pick Craig up and continue onto another farm half an hour down the road.
Craig nodded his acquiescence, and got started. After he’d done half of one filly’s feet, Rick said farewell to the men and headed back in his car and down the road. Craig realised he wouldn’t get to see Savannah that day after all.
“Gotta say, kid, he must like the way you trim,” Rob, a 60-something gentleman commented as Rick’s car disappeared from view.
Craig finished rasping one hoof, let it drop to the ground and assessed it before looking up at Rob with a smile.
“It does appear that way, doesn’t it?” he questioned, thinking of the last time someone had called him kid.
“Take it as a compliment. I don’t know of many apprentices that Rick will leave to their own devices while he’s elsewhere.”
The two men chattered easily as Craig worked. Craig was able to find out a little more about the men he worked for as well as local properties. Every now and again his mind slipped back to what he felt he was missing whilst not trimming at Nev’s.
He was able to find out a bit about the farm down the road and its casual owner/manager, but Savannah didn’t make it into the conversation. Craig hoped that the day’s events were a one-off and he’d get to help trim at Nev’s place the following week.
Like what you’ve read? You can purchase No Hoof, No Horse at Amazon.