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Horses in winter for novel scene

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  • Picture of winter scene with horses
  • Running horses in winter lungs

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    11-01-2011, 12:41 PM
  #1
Foal
Horses in winter for novel scene

I am a historical novelist seeking some advice or another opinion. I'm hoping someone can help me. My novel's time period is the Late Roman Empire. I have a scene in my romantic historical that takes place in the month of December in Gaul (France). My hero and heroine go riding together and on a impulse decide to race their horses to a point through a wood.

I am not a stranger to horseback riding, but I'm not a seasoned rider. I have an acquaintance who owns a horse and rides more and who read this chapter and told me people who know horses will not run a horse in the winter because of the effect of the cold ground on their hooves and the air on their lungs unless of course, they have to run for their lives. She thinks I should have my horses walking not racing. I also have the hero lifting my heroine from her saddle onto his afterward to kiss her. <g> My friend says not likely that this would be very difficult, which may be very true. I've never tried it. LOL She thinks they should dismount, each hold his horse's reins, then kiss.

I really like the "romantic" aspect of this scene and hate to give it up, but I don't want people thinking how absurd that they are riding like this in the winter. If one knows as much as I do, it would be missed but if it is too "Hollywood" and not true to possibility, then I will change it.

Can anyone comment on this situation or give some advice? This forum is really nice. I'm glad I found it. I've read some threads and enjoyed some of the pictures posted as well. Thanks, Cinzia
     
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    11-01-2011, 12:55 PM
  #2
Yearling
My horses run outside all by themselves just for the fun of it in the winter. Living in Alberta where the temperatures easily get to -40 degrees C, I think that is colder than ancient Gaul. I've gone outside in -20 and they are running around, plowing through the snow and having a ball.





Go ahead and let your hero and heroine race their horses. It's not going to hurt them. This isn't a marathon race across the arctic, it's a friendly race between two lovers.
palominolover and Corporal like this.
     
    11-01-2011, 12:58 PM
  #3
Green Broke
Agreed. Welcome to the forum! Send us more questions, bc we'll be happy to critique. There isn't actually a "Historical Fiction Police Force," so you'll just be satisfying yourself, anyway. =D
     
    11-01-2011, 03:05 PM
  #4
Trained
As a writer myself, I can see where you'd like the idea of the hero lifting his love from the back of her horse onto his horse...but in all practicality, unless she's a midget and he's built like Dwayne Johnson or Arnold Schwartzenegger, it ain't going to happen. At least not without some major hernia action going on.

Without actually reading the scene, it's difficult to suggest an alternate course for the scene to take. I'll do my best, though.

After your characters reach the end of their race, maybe have your hero complain that the heroine won unfairly because his horse had a stone in its hoof. He dismounts to prove his point (there is no stone, but being the hero, he has to make *some* excuse ) and the heroine starts to dismount to join him. He moves to help her dismount (what self-respecting hero wouldn't?!). She swings her leg over the front of the saddle (assuming she's riding astride), he grabs her waist and lowers her to stand so that she's effectively trapped between her horse and him. He then leans down and kisses her...yadda yadda yadda...etc, etc, etc.

^^This is just a rough sketch/idea. Again, without reading what you already have written, I don't know how well it would fit or anything.
     
    11-01-2011, 05:04 PM
  #5
Showing
Agreed about the running in the winter time. I've actually seen my horses in the pasture run for the fun of it in the cold than they do in warmer weather. IMHO, the biggest thing to worry about when running a horse in the winter time is to try to avoid any bad footing (slick and icy or large sections of rough ground where the ground was muddy, then rutted or torn up by hooves and then re-frozen into large holes, ruts, and peaks). If the area they'll be running down is smooth and not slippery, then no problem.

As to picking her off the saddle...that would greatly depend on many factors.

1) The hero would have to be very strong...and on a very strong horse.
2) The heroine would have to be a waif of a woman, hovering around 100 pounds
3) They would have to have their horses smashed very close together so that he wasn't reaching out to pick her up. Picture yourself trying to pick up something heavy, you don't plant your feet a stride away and try to pick it up with outstretched arms. You get right in close and pick it up against your body. That would be the only real way for the guy to pick the girl up.
     
    11-01-2011, 06:25 PM
  #6
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinzia8    
I am not a stranger to horseback riding, but I'm not a seasoned rider. I have an acquaintance who owns a horse and rides more and who read this chapter and told me people who know horses will not run a horse in the winter because of the effect of the cold ground on their hooves and the air on their lungs unless of course, they have to run for their lives.
I really doubt they worried about such things in that day and age.
     
    11-02-2011, 12:28 AM
  #7
Foal
Wow! What a beautiful horse. The pictures are fabulous. Thanks for your insight. After seeing these pics, a friendly little winter race in a novel can't hurt. Yea!
Cinzia
     
    11-02-2011, 12:45 AM
  #8
Foal
As for lifting my lady from her horse, I guess not; but, I like the suggestion made by DraftyAiresMom for the revision and the logic presented by Smrobs. I like to learn new things. This has helped a lot.

Oh, is it realistic to kiss side by side (facing same way or opposite direction)? LOL This question still fits under horse talk, right? <g>
Cinzia
     
    11-02-2011, 12:48 AM
  #9
Super Moderator
They didn't have stirrups in general use until sometime after the 600's.
I do not know if Roman women even rode horses. They may have ridden Jennets (like a mule), but don't know if they actually rode astride.
     
    11-02-2011, 01:20 AM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinzia8    
Oh, is it realistic to kiss side by side (facing same way or opposite direction)? LOL This question still fits under horse talk, right? <g>
Cinzia
Watch any classic romantic movie (and even some that aren't romantic) that involves horses and you'll see them kissing from the saddle. Man From Snowy River (and Return to Snowy River...two of my all-time favorite movies), The Princess Bride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
They didn't have stirrups in general use until sometime after the 600's.
I do not know if Roman women even rode horses. They may have ridden Jennets (like a mule), but don't know if they actually rode astride.
I get the point about the stirrups, tiny, but I think a little bit of artistic license may be taken with how and what the heroine of the story rides in this case...especially if the heroine of this story is anything like the heroines of my stories (not at all a "damsel in distress" type lol).
     

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