Horse Facts

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I realized with all the complaining I do about incorrect horse facts in books I should just do something about it! I mean I have been around horses my entire life. I started riding when I was two. I’ve had my pony since I was five. I know some stuff!

Here are the most common things I see that bug me:

  • kicking the flank to get your horse moving

Well, I get it sounds all specific and smart, but if you look at the image above, the flank is the right in front of their back leg. The only thing you will be touching that part of the horse with is a whip, if your foot is back there then you aren’t riding properly at all, you’re probably falling off and holding onto the horses neck actually. You’re kicking the side of the horse. And honestly you shouldn’t be kicking at all, just squeezing/applying gentle pressure. The only time I actually kick a horse is when they are being a brat and need a little smack, they are pretty sensitive and responsive creatures.

  • Neighing of horses

It’s like every time a horse enters the scene it’s with a whinny or a nicker or something. Horses are pretty quiet animals. The only time they will usually neigh is when they are calling to each other. The only other time I hear it is when they know it’s food time.

And now fun facts!

  • Horses cannot breath through their mouths. When you see a horse “yawning” it’s really clearing its sinuses
  • Horses can sleep standing, they lock their knees. And if a horse is sleeping laying down then other members of the herd are standing to keep guard
  • Horses are actually pretty good swimmers
  • Horses can run up to 45mph, it’s not sustainable though
  • Walking, horses can usually cover about 30-40 miles in a day
  • The average horse has 4 gaits: walk (4 beats) , trot (2 beats), canter (3 beats), gallop (4 beats). This website has a good description of the gaits and the general rider position in each.
  • There are 2 general riding disciplines, English and Western. The easiest visible difference is the saddle type, western has the horn on the front. There is also an Australian saddle, which is like a hybrid between the two. The main no-no I see with this stuff though, you do not want to jump with a western saddle, no one wants a horn in their stomach.
  • Ponies and Horses are different breeds. There is also a height limit, usually if the animal is under 14 hands it’s a pony. My pony is pony size but a horse breed, he’s special. And miniature horses are a horse breed, not a pony.

Overall, horses are awesome and I love seeing horse/rider relationships in books. They are caring, smart, protective of their people, and have great personalities. And when you have a good relationship with your horse it’s a partnership. If you watch equestrian in the Olympics (the only time I think non-horse people are exposed to it) you can see that bond, because I mean there is no way a person can control a 1,500 lbs horse without their consent.

I hope this is helpful if you are writing horses into your stories! And if you have any questions that I didn’t specify feel free to ask!

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Review: Challenger Deep

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Goodreads Summary:

Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today’s most admired writers for teens.

This book was nothing that I expected. I added this to my TBR list when I saw it was by Shusterman, not looking at the synopsis or anything, and then it was part of the 365DaysofYA challenge so I preordered it without another thought.

And look at that synopsis, it doesn’t give you much to go on does it? Well I was really confused for about the first 40 pages or so, but was so amazed by the writing that I didn’t even care. And then things clicked, I was watching a kid sink deeper and deeper into his own mind, which was playing tricks on him and making him believe things that were untrue.

It was an incredible journey to watch Caden’s sinking, falling, surrender, and healing. Shusterman was able to create a beautiful while terrifying map of what it’s like to be the person going through all of this. To know there is something wrong but being unable to mark it or change it, to be put on a medical cocktail and live in a psych ward, all during one of the most challenging times in a persons life anyway.

It was beautiful and touching and you need to read it.

Review: Thorn

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This is my first ARC book! It took me way too long, but I recently joined Net Galley and this was the first book I got. It’s so exciting!

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Thanks to Net Galley and Intisar Khanani for this free ARC to review!

Goodreads Summary:

For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies–and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.

Thorn has received a Badge of Approval from Awesome Indies.

You definitely need to read at least a summary of the original tale to understand some aspects of this story. It’s very true to the Grimm tale, making me feel like it could have been more original. I would have liked to see it done in a more creative way, I thought it stayed too close to the Grimm version, even using the same names.

There are moments that don’t seem to fit and it can be pretty disjointed at times, but I think those moments are meant to be allegorical and teach lessons about our goose girl and her core goodness, which makes sense if you think about how traditional fairy tales were done.

The writing got in its own way sometimes. Khanani has a very unique voice and there are moments where it’s simplicity is beautiful, but other times I felt bogged down with descriptions. As we got deeper into the story it got better though, using more dialogue to break up the stream of consciousness and bring other perspectives into the story. However, I wasn’t a fan of the present tense, or lack of contractions.

In general I liked the MC in and understood her hesitations. I also thought that her growth was pretty believable. By the end she’s willing to take a stand and own up to her title by birth and use it to make good things happen. I also appreciated the lack of insta-love, though I would have enjoyed more a relationship between Alyrra and the Kestrin in general (I mean it is a fairy tale, true love is basically a requirement).

Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter

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Goodreads Summary:

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told...

I was kind of underwhelmed by this. I like the premise, and yes, I know we have read things like this already, but no one does the same idea the same way! And Salisbury definitely did this in a very original way.

It’s fantasy, it’s monarchy, and it’s the worst side of a monarchy. Keeping the royal family “of the blood” is the Queen’s number one goal, and she will do whatever it takes to make it so and to get as much power as possible. She’s a great villain and I really enjoyed her twisted mind.

Twylla was ok, I was intrigued by her, but her little romance with Lief was my least favorite aspect of the book, and it takes up a much larger role than I would have preferred. Personally, I liked the prince, and thought they had much more in common and a deeper relationship than was ever depicted between Twylla and Lief. I also would have been much more pleased with the ending we think we are going to get with Twylla and Lief when one of the plot twists is revealed, but then it fell back into the expected.

Along with the romance, I thought there wasn’t enough attention to one of the plot twists. I don’t want to spoil it, but it wasn’t explained too well – I’m thinking it’s going to be the fuel for the second book though. I liked the epilogue, I thought it showed character growth and the potential for a decision I could get behind, but then it was all ruined by a knock on a door.

We’ll see if I carry on with he series, it depends on how much the synopsis for the second book pulls me in.

Coming This Week: June 8

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So this week we get a new staff member to my department at the museum. It’s very exciting and will take a lot of the pressure off me that has been pushed my way the last couple months. And since I will probably be moving back to OK sometime in the next couple months I’m glad there will be someone in the department to ensure it doesn’t fall apart as soon as I leave!

Anyway, this week I have an extra book review for you guys. It’s my first ARC book, so I was pretty excited about that new step in book reading/reviewing and wanted to get it up. I’m sure all of you have been dealing in ARCs for a while, but it made be feel like this book blogging thing got more official.

So! Look for these books:

They are all really different from each other so it will be a pretty diverse week!

Friday I am doing a post about horses. I have been reading more fantasy books of late, and none of them have been that terrible on horse stuff, but they have reminded me about the ones I have read that were terrible. So it’s a venting/educational horse post!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

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I discovered this on Kat’s blog, and it’s so amazing!

I’m sure a lot of you out there, like me, love Pride & Prejudice read it twice in high school (2 different schools) and I’ve read it once outside of school. I mean Austen in amazing, and I hate to admit that the only other book of hers that I have made it completely through is Northanger Abbey (twice, because it’s hilarious). I’ve seen both the BBC miniseries (mummy’s favorite version) and the Keira Knightly version (my favorite) of P&P. But this, this is epic!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern take on the classic story and it’s so adorable. Lizzie is a grad student who has a video diary, chronicling her moms craziness, her hatred of Darcy, and everything else that happens in the book. It’s so well done, they’ve made it modern and relateable to this generation without losing any of the messages of Austen’s work.

As soon as I read about it on Kat’s blog I watched the first 5 episodes. I would watch a few here and there, and then about half-way through the series I binge watched the last 40 episodes on a Saturday while the husband binge watched Law & Order. And they have it on DVD! I think I am going to have to buy it.

But if you love P&P you should definitely check it out. I’ve also started to see the actors in other things on TV and in movies, and that’s really fun. There is an Emma version out there too but I haven’t gotten into that one yet. All in due time I am sure.

June 365DaysofYA Challenge Book List

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We are half way through the year and the challenge, I can’t believe that! Anyway, there isn’t a link up for this month up yet, but I do like my schedules and patterns so I’m going to put up my list for this month anyway. I have a lot. . .

Update! The link is up now!

You can still join the 365DaysofYA Challenge over at Sarah’s blog I am really enjoying it. A lot of the books I had planned to read are on it, but it’s also introduced me to a few contemporaries – a genre I don’t usually go for – that I have really enjoyed. So check it out!