20,000 BC: The Cave Horse

The unusual thing about the first Great Horse Meagan meets in history is that it isn’t unusual at all. Meagan doesn’t realize at first that she has traveled time or that she is dealing with a prehistoric herd of horses.

Humans could have tamed horses tens of thousands of years earlier than actually occurred, because horses evolved much earlier than modern man. There was no inner difference between a horse Meagan would have encountered in 20,000 BC and a horse today: it is humans that have changed.

quotation markIn the growing light, Meagan could see the horse was a mare. The animal’s round belly was tucked into thin, drawn quarters and her cream-colored coat was mottled with patches of darker gray. The scrubby mane and tail were chewed off in spots, and her coat was covered in scars and puffy lumps.

Cave Mare (20,000 BC) from Eclipsed by Shadow - Book 1 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy by John Royce. Illustration by Marti Adrian Gregory “Poor thing, no one’s taking care of you.” Meagan’s voice was loud in this quiet place and many small eyes were quickly upon her. She decided to rinse off her coating of dust and grime, and knelt in the cool water to gently splash her arms. She inhaled deeply, drawing in rich scents of animals and earth.

Warm breath smelling of cut lawn blew on her neck. Meagan blinked in surprise but did not move. She thought of something else her grandfather used to say: “Horses are as unpredictable as people, only they have more sense.”

Meagan let the flutter of horse nostrils explore her hair as she reached slowly for the mare’s shaggy withers. The small gray horse half-closed her eyes as Meagan scratched gently to imitate the nuzzling greeting of equines. “A horse got me into this,” she told the mare softly. “Maybe you could get me out…”

Excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow, the award-winning 1st volume of “The Legend of the Great Horse” trilogy.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

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