Writer needs some expert "horse knowledge"
I hope you don’t mind my visiting your forum to ask some specific questions about horses. I’m writing a novel mainly for kids- but which I hope will also be enjoyable for adults- in which part of the plot takes place on a ranch. The story is not about ranching per se, and not about horses, but whatever I write that has anything to do with these subjects, I want to sound authentic; I wouldn’t want people like you who are knowledgeable to read it and say what? Does this guy know anything?
The ranch in the story is pretty large, about 7,000-8,000 acres. They raised some cattle, some sheep, chickens, and had a small contingent of horses. I am not being specific about the state/location of the ranch, but I would say it’s "Western." Northern California or Colorado would be likely bets. I want the winter to be chilly, but not snow-covered, which would complicate the plot.
The ranch in question was abandoned four years ago due to a "situation" in which a family lost their ranch, which is to be turned into a nature preserve. No one is allowed on the property, and the changeover process has dragged on now for years. Apparently one of the prize horses was left behind in the move, and is loose on the ranch, fending for itself. I want the horse to be a truly splendid, beautiful, immensely valuable horse; the kind that would just leave you in awe at the sight.
A) So that's my first question: what kind of horse would have that effect on someone, and also be at least "reasonable" that it could be found on a western ranch? Understand: it could well be an "exotic" breed that was brought there by expert horse people to be raised, even as sort of an experiment.....something like that. I think it's obvious I do not want this horse to be typical in any way.
B) Would a horse like that, abandoned and left to fend for itself for several years, be able to survive? Fwiw: the property has plenty of water and grass....
C) Sorry if this is really naďve: would such a horse, previously tame, but without human contact for all that time- revert to wildness, or at least be very skittish upon encountering humans again? Are there other issues I should be aware of?
If someone can give me guidance on this, I would genuinely appreciate it.