Cowgirl Grandma’s Horses

grandma-horseMy grandmother, on whom I based my novel, Cowgirl Dreams, was an avid horsewoman. I have notes that she wrote about some of the horses she owned. She described them as “pals that meant so much to me.”

One was a sorrel with a blaze face she called Bobby (Toby in the book). She writes: “He loved to run. I sure took him on some long rides and when I got to school we’d sure do some racing. Dear old Bobby was such a faithful friend & I rode him too hard at times.”

Grandma wrote that each horse, “like people, was different in disposition. Now old Blacky, for instance, was a pacing horse. I used to ride him sometimes for going to town. He sure had an easy gate … sure covered the miles easy.”

Grandma had a beautiful dark chestnut mare, a hambletonian she described  as “high strung and the fastest trotting horse I ever rode. She sometimes took a notion to stampede, but never did buck. I rode her in lots of races in town celebrations. She was tops, and had endurance.”

Now, here’s the fun part. My grandmother’s nickname was “Toots” or “Tootsie” and she named this mare “Nettie.” I’m sure I must have heard about this horse before I started to write my book, but I didn’t remember it until much later. I was surprised to discover I had named my main character “Nettie.” So, naturally I had to name her horse “Tootsie.” Subliminal influence? Maybe.

I don’t know if this is “Nettie” in the picture or not.

Published in: on January 9, 2009 at 4:23 am  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Subliminal influence? Maybe.”

    Hmmm – I’d say DEFINITELY. (smile)

  2. I agree with Marvin.


  3. Interesting what things we find as inspiration for our writing. I loved horses when I was a little kid, but we didn’t have money or a place for a horse, so I’ve had to settle for long-distance loving…through books like yours.

  4. Someday I hope my grandchildren read my life story and honor me as well as you have your grandmother! I wish I had photos like that for my grandparents. Al I have are them standing stiff and solid in their backyards… I guess I better liven up my own photos!

  5. Heidi

    Delightful story! I enjoyed it ver much. We owned a quarter horse named Copper Penny. Penny had a gentle gate but was often stubborn as a mule. Animals are very much like people with their own personalities and ideosynchrasies.


  6. This is so cool. I love this photo and your story!

  7. Cute! I definitely agree the name choice was subliminal.

  8. I think it’s neat that your’e writing about your grandmotehr. She sounds like an interesting woman. I like the way she talks about her horses too.

    Joy Delgado

  9. Lovely to have such a link to the past.

    Morgan Mandel

  10. Thanks for this. It made me think of animals, and pets, in writing. I’m sort of focused on this right now as our 16 year old dog is struggling. But it’s interesting how great a role animals can play in our fiction. Lucia

  11. Just for fun, you should research, if you don’t already know about Hambletonian the horse. He was quite the pacer, and now has a huge event named after him.

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