This time, “Four In Hand” goes West, thanks to “driver” author Brittney Joy, author of the Red Rock Ranch series of novels.
The Kentucky Governor has invited you to the Governor’s Box at the Kentucky Derby. Tell us about your outfit.
Attending the Kentucky Derby is on my “bucket list!” I love watching the race-day coverage on TV and especially love to hear the stories of the horses, trainers, owners and jockeys. My all-time favorite Derby story was that of California Chrome. The rags-to-riches story of the gelding and his owners made me a forever “Chromie!” I can only imagine that being at the race, drinking a crisp mint julep, and cheering on my favorite horse would be that much more fun. And, I can picture myself in a tea-length pink & white houndstooth dress with cap sleeves and a frilly skirt. My over-the-top hat would be white with a massive, floppy brim and wrapped in yellow roses and miniature model horses. Yes, my gaudy side would completely take over for the day.
Western or English? Or both? (Not at once, though, although I admit I’ve done the tack mash-up in beginner lessons.)
This is an interesting question for me because I do actually combine Western and English in my riding. I ride western dressage and I stumbled upon this discipline as I am a western rider to the core – I love my jeans, bling, and cowboy boots – but I love the riding techniques, connection and discipline that dressage provides for horse and rider. I have a 13-year old Friesian/Thoroughbred/Paint gelding name “Cheli” that I ride & compete in this event with. We’re having a ton of fun learning more and more about this discipline together!
Favorite horse book ever? (The “why” is implied.)
This is a very hard question for me as I have so many favorite horse books for different reasons. I grew-up devouring Joanna Campbell’s “The Thoroughbred Series.” In middle school and early high school I would read Campbell’s books as soon as I could get my hands on them and I wanted to be Ashley. Campbell’s series also originally inspired me to write my own young adult equestrian series (Red Rock Ranch) because I wanted to bring joy to all the horse-crazy girls out there – especially those that don’t have the opportunity to own their own horse (reading about them helps to feed the appetite). Currently, I’m in my thirties and I still thoroughly enjoy reading young adult equestrian fiction as well as adult stories. Some of my current favorites include “The Dressage Chronicles” series by Karen McGoldrick (it’s a wonderful horse-filled soap opera in the dressage industry – flew through the first two in the series and “chomping at the bit” for the third book!), “The God of Animals” by Aryn Kyle (the main character is a middle school girl navigating through some serious family issues while helping her Dad run a boarding facility –hauntingly beautiful writing!), and “Cut & Run” by Amy Elizabeth (a romance and a mystery wrapped into one and set on a gorgeous ranch in Montana – couldn’t stop reading!).
You get to be a character in a historical novel where horses are your transportation and/or your entertainment. Are you riding in a Regency carriage? Ridin’ and ropin’ and fightin’ out West? Thrilling to the song of the hounds before the hunt? Or are you Someone Else?
I feel like I would run away with the circus! Has anyone read Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” (another one of my favorite horsie books!)? I’d be Marlena, the acrobatic star of the equestrian act in the traveling circus, but I’d be part of a circus that was ALWAYS kind to their animals. And I’d ditch the crazy husband. 😉
Thanks, Brittney! You can learn more about Brittney, her horses, and her books at her website.