The First Horse I See

As an author, I try to heed the advice of other writers who recommend reading as much as possible. Fortunately that advice led me to read The First Horse I See, by Sally Keehn. As an adult, I enjoyed this book even more than I would have had I read it as a young adult, the intended audience. The story was engaging; the characters believable; and the writing superb. Keehn’s literary background shone through in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways, from interwoven themes in the plot to the immersion of poetry and famous quotes as natural parts of the text. It was a beautiful book that left one thinking about far more than horses.

In the story, the main character, Willo, is promised a horse before her mother dies, and Willo’s grandfather and dad follow through with the promise. Against her grandfather’s wishes, Willo falls for the first horse she sees, an underweight, spirited, abused ex-racehorse. Willo’s journey with the untrusting mare are reflective of many first horse ownership situations, but are magnified by the events occurring in the rest of the girl’s life. An absentee alcoholic father; a mother still greatly in her thoughts; a neighbor boy of the right age; a grandfather learning to be a full-time parent; and the pressure to succeed with a difficult horse, all add great texture to this moving novel. [Read more…]

Local Politics

I live in Maryland, where the State legislature formed in 1632 – yes, before the United States became a country.  In the early days, many of the statesmen were farmers, and thus it made sense for the legislature to meet during the months least hospitable to working the land, January through early April.  This same schedule exists today, and many Marylanders are not aware that their elected State representatives conduct all their legislative business in a 90-day session, the vast majority of them holding other full-time jobs during the entire year.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010, members of The Maryland Horse Council received a legislative tour of the State Capitol in Annapolis.   State Senator Edward R. Reilly, (R), District 33, Anne Arundel County, introduced himself as “Big Ed,” while shaking each of our hands and asking a little about us.  He brought us into his office, and spent over an hour explaining how a bill becomes a law in “The Free State.”  Using a horse bill passed this year, he stepped us through the process, injecting humor where appropriate, and allowed our youngest visitor, Grace (11), to sit in the Senator’s seat and act as Senator for the exercise.   Senator Reilly spoke about the power of each person’s voice, encouraged all to get to know their elected representatives and communicate with them, and then took us on a one-hour tour of the Capital.  [Read more…]