Monday, December 28, 2009

Modern . . . Arabian Horses

I can honestly say I never expected horses to play a very big role in any of my contemporaries. I mean, historicals, sure. But contemporaries? I'm not the type to write a ranching type novel, so . . . you can imagine my surprise when my modern pirate story sudden demanded I include some quality time with Arabians.

I've always loved horses, and I took riding lessons for a year when I was in middle school. I was never quite as good at it as I wanted to be, nor as fearless, lol. But I still have such respect for those magnificent animals--unlike my husband, who grew up beside a slew of them and still harbors some resentment over that one that bit him, lol.

My heroine in Seized is Bedouin, and I put her in a family that still breeds Arabians as their livelihood. Upon looking up the breed, I discovered some amazing facts about these noble horses that (and was reminded that much of what we know about Bedouin culture is tied to them). For starters, they're smaller than many breeds of horses, barely larger than a pony. Some Arabians even have fewer vertebra and ribs than other breeds. These qualities give them a compact frame perfectly suited to long, arduous treks through the desert.

Arabians are also noted for their high-carried tails, curved necks, and concave profile. They actually have features in their heads like larger nasal passages and a special flap in their throat to allow for easier breathing in the sand. These horses, so loved by the Bedouin that the best of them slept in the tents with the family, are truly magnificent creatures. And because of how closely they lived with humans, they were bred based on personality and intelligence, so the line is now among the friendliest of horses out there, though still noted for being spirited.

I've never been enough of a horse afficianado to be able to identify breeds at a glance (other than a Clydesdale, lol), but the more I read about Arabians, the more I realized how distinct they are. And I'm going to have a lot of fun making my heroine's heart light up when she gets to spend some time with them after five years of never so much as seeing one. Now the hard part--to think up some clever names . . .

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