Are Horses Important in the Modern World?

Here is a question whose answer may not be obvious: “Since we now have internal combustion engines, why bother with horses anymore?”

Horses have been mankind’s transportation, and yes, today cars have replaced horses on the interstates and parking lots. However there are more horses today than ever before, so it seems this affection is universal in the world. Does this affection matter, or is it nostalgic sentimentality only?

Horses play roles besides the one of passenger propulsion. Antiquity revered the horse as a symbol of power and prestige, an inspiration to artists and warriors, a respected teacher of youth and the partner of kings. The ancient world provided modern society’s foundation, so this is a significant world view. The upcoming Olympic Games in Asia this summer will provide an opportunity to view the modern revival of an ancient equestrian sports ceremony, which the media will cover badly or simply ignore as part of mankind’s ongoing loss of ancient knowledge. But beyond the ancient roles, what importance does the horse have in the 21st Century and beyond?

One can point to spiritual roles, as in the recreational or therapeutic aspects of horsemanship, or to the material roles where horse-keeping provides economic benefits both enormous and widely dispersed. More deeply, horses have helped build the fabric of our society. The rhythms of our lives and institutions move to the cadence of hoofbeats.

The commercial cycle remains horse-centric. Industries such as those of automobiles and television first consciously mimicked habits from our common history. Examples are how new “models” are introduced (born) each year, or how product obsolescence was planned to match a horse’s prime working life, some three or four years, followed by a longer serviceable period as a “used” commodity.

Belief that horses have been made obsolete by technology also forgets the central role of horses as teachers and human inspiration. Riding teaches leadership, and the results of its wide absence is well within view. Yet much of modern humanity has seemingly decided that now is the time to discard ancient wisdom and dismount the partnership that brought civilization to its current technological state. This is not, in my view, a good decision. The sanity of the “forgetful” human race may in some way depend upon simple horse-sense.

Equines are too ancient to have become domesticated by man’s last-minute meddling, and perhaps it is beneficial to humankind to have an unchanging partner entwined with our swaying societal structures. We may not need the horse for mass transportation (though it may yet) but we should not dismiss the value of modern horsemanship to our culture–not only for what is known and remembered, but for what is not.

Rebecca’s Reads: “An Adventure Young & Old will Love to Read”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW is an adventure about the love of horses that young and old will love to read. The history of the horse is only part of the book. Meagan’s interaction with the people of each era is amazing to read. The intertwining of horse history with the fantasy of winged horses makes for a book you can enjoy and learn from at the same time.—Allison King, Rebecca’s Reads

The following is a new review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Allison King for Rebecca’s Reads.

Rebecca’s Reads | Allison King

John Royce brings to life the story of a young, horse-crazed teenager named Meagan and her horse named Promise. Even as the summer solstice brings happiness in the birth of Promise, mystery surrounds her from that day forward. People start coming around Meagan’s house asking questions about Promise and wanting to purchase her. An older lady in particular talks to Meagan and her mom about the history of the Great Horse. She feels that Promise may be that horse, but of the “dark” variety. The only way to know is for the owner to ride the horse. Meagan and her family don’t know whether to believe this woman or not, but one night some men try and steal Promise. Meagan takes it upon herself to save Promise, but the only way to do so is to ride her. You can only imagine the look on her face when Promise sprouts wings and takes Meagan on the ride of her life. This is where the story really begins.

Her adventure takes her from the time of the caveman to Ancient Rome to Genghis Khan to the Crusades. As time and history goes by, she sees how the horse has gone from something eaten for food to being used as weapons in attacks. She realizes that she must use her equestrian knowledge to help her survive these different periods in history. Each time, she waits for Promise to come back to take her home.

Eclipsed by Shadow is an adventure about the love of horses that young and old will love to read. The history of the horse is only part of the book. Meagan’s interaction with the people of each era is amazing to read. The intertwining of horse history with the fantasy of winged horses makes for a book you can enjoy and learn from at the same time. The book will pull you in to the darkness of history and not let you stop reading until you get to the end. I can’t wait for the next book to come out!

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the new fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, arriving this Summer with a fresh and original look at the colorful role of horses in civilization. The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in history.

ReaderViews features “Eclipsed by Shadow”

This week the site ReadersViews is featuring Eclipsed by Shadow. (!)  Their reviewers and writers did a great job, and interested readers can check out the review by Wendy Cleveland and also for a more in-depth talk about the book with Tyler Tichelaar.

How I started writing

An inability to type started this author on the road to writing. By mid-semester in high school typing class I was still too slow to appear on the progress chart, which began at at a ridiculously fast 40 words-per-minute. Happily, the teacher banished me to the school library instead of redoing the chart.

In the library I discovered the card catalog (part of a different era) and lots of old books. I was fascinated by the layers of history made available simply by the passage of time and recent cuts in education funding. The remainder of my typing term was spent among cavalry manuals and yellowing books filled with lithograph images. The idea for this story grew out of those quiet hours serving “detention.”

I gained several valuable skills that semester … though, not typing. I found that by reading something interesting and then looking up related stuff to read, and then reading that, I was doing “research.” And I learned that I loved it.

The horses? It was my sister who was originally interested in horses, and had actually obtained one with the help of my horse-loving mom and a wonderful horsewoman named Sally Lasater. We had land but no horse-sense, so we faced a long learning curve that I now realize vanishes into the mists of Olympus.

During my detention I looked to see if the card catalogs had anything to say about this giant pet we had acquired, this oddly-timid tank of a creature that ate grass and pooped fertilizer and destroyed lawns by the mere act of walking upon them. I looked horses up in the card catalog to see if there was anything written about them, and there was an entire amazing world…

Mission Control has a word with me

My blog is launched, but I had to put down the weeks of celebration that were just getting underway in order to attend to business. I was called into the august presence of my publisher, Micron Press, for a timely conference.

We find this blog is to be promoted from its obscure position within the “Reviews & Information” section of the book’s website, and privileged with a link from the main page. I am to email the new blog page after I’d finished (what?!) to be uploaded to a new subfolder. Did you hear that PEOPLE? An entirely new subfolder. The gesture humbles. Truly it does.

All righty then, here it is and I hope you like it. I took the daring opportunity to show pictures of … horses. Well, people and horses. The history of horsemanship is the history of man, so the different eras make an interesting timeline. I’ll change it around later, probably. And talk about it.

The Publishing Contrarian: “Smart Dialogue and Jaw-Dropping Action”

History truly “comes alive” as Royce turns Meagan into a living, breathing participant among historically accurate depictions of events. The dialog feels real. (”Be you a Tatar? For the nones, say be not a Tatar!”) The action never ends. (Charioteers, rampaging Mongolians!) The fear is palpable. (I won’t give it away!) And always, there are the horses.—Lynne Scanlon, The Publishing Contrarian

The first pre-publication review of Eclipsed by Shadow was given by Lynne Scanlon, aka The Publishing Contrarian.

The Publishing Contrarian | Lynne Scanlon

Smart dialogue and jaw-dropping action make Eclipsed by Shadow a surprise page turner. Although it is a kind of road trip book, there is no clicking your heels together three times to get back to Kansas in this story. The journey Meagan, the 15-year-old heroine, takes is nothing akin to traveling the Yellow Brick Road in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first volume in a new trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse. Knowing that, the reader also knows there will be a cliff-hanger ending, and there is. The author, John Royce, who really knows his horses and his history has crafted an extremely erudite novel that pitches Meagan and the reader into the thick of events you remember reading about in History classes lo those many years ago.

This time history truly “comes alive” as Royce turns Meagan into a living, breathing participant among historically accurate depictions of events. The dialog feels real. (”Be you a Tatar? For the nones, say be not a Tatar!”) The action never ends. (Charioteers, rampaging Mongolians!) The fear is palpable. (I won’t give it away!) And always, there are the horses.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the new fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, arriving this Summer with a fresh and original look at the colorful role of horses in civilization. The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in history.

Reader Views: “Fascinating and Well-researched”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW was a magical horse story that is suitable for both teenagers and adults alike. The equine and world history aspects were fascinating and well-researched by the author … The ending left me breathless wanting to find out what time period Promise was taking Meagan to next.—Wendy Cleveland, Reader Views

The following is a pre-publication review by Wendy Cleveland of Reader Views of Eclipsed by Shadow:

Reader Views | Wendy Cleveland

Eclipsed by Shadow centers around a teenager named Meagan Roberts who is a young equestrian. The story starts out in the present-day of the summer solstice, June 21, 2001, when a very unique horse is born. Meagan felt that a horse should name itself, so her foal became “Promise.” Everyone around town seemed to be interested in this special palomino, especially her neighbor Eleanor Bridgestone. Ms. Bridgestone tells Meagan the tales of “The Great Horse” throughout history and seems to think that her horse is the next in line. “The Great Traveler, with mysterious powers to bring darkness to the world. Of course, we wouldn’t be sure unless the Great Horse was actually ridden.”

Crooked horse trainers get wind of this discovery and try to steal Promise. This invokes Meagan to protect her. She gets on her horse’s back and tries to jump a fence to get away. When she does, Promise sprouts wings and turns into “The Great Horse.” She flies Meagan back in time for her to the see the way horses were used for work, war, sport, spectacle and even food.

Meagan’s adventure in this first book in a three book series goes from 20,000 B.C. (where the cavemen used horses for food) to 100 A.D. Rome (where horses were used for sport in Chariot fights), and 1240 Crusades (where horses were blindfolded and used in Jousting matches). In each time travel, Meagan uses her 21st century equine insight to try and help people understand the beauty and sole purpose of horses.

“Eclipsed by Shadow” was a magical horse story that is suitable for both teenagers and adults alike. The equine and world history aspects were fascinating and well-researched by the author. Some facts that I did not know were that horses existed back in 20,000 B.C. or when stirrups, saddles, and horseshoes were discovered. The ending left me breathless wanting to find out what time period Promise was taking Meagan to next.

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the new fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, arriving this Summer with a fresh and original look at the colorful role of horses in civilization. The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in history.

Pre-Publication Review: Library Journal recommends “Eclipsed by Shadow”

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LIBRARY JOURNAL RECOMMENDS “ECLIPSED BY SHADOW”

MAY 15, 2008 | The following is a pre-publication review of Eclipsed by Shadow from Library Journal.

» See full Review

Publishing Date: Summer 2008
Reviewer: Jackie Cassada | Library Journal

 

“Belongs in most libraries’ adult and YA collections”

Veteran horseman Royce combines history and myth with action and adventure to create a fast-paced, well-informed tale of a flying horse and the young girl who loves her.

Following the birth of a palomino foal, 12-year-old Meagan names the young horse Promise, and an uncommon bond forms between the two. Told by an elderly woman that Promise is one of the legendary Great Horses, Meagan flees with Promise through time after she discovers that others want Promise for themselves.

This series opener should appeal to fans of equestrian novels as well as historic fantasy and belongs in most libraries’ adult and YA collections.

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Established in 1876, Library Journal is the largest trade publication for American libraries, and gives selected pre-publication reviews of upcoming books published each month.

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Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the new trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, arriving this Summer 2008 with a fresh and original look at the colorful role of horses in civilization.

Further information about this entertaining and educational novel can be found at www.TheGreatHorse.com. For questions or other requests, please contact:

Robert Hall
R_Hall@MicronPress.com
Micron Press | Marketing Director