Monday, July 29, 2013

Horse Country by Christine Meunier ~*~ Excerpt ~*~

Title:  Horse Country
Author:  Christine Meunier
Published:  2013 by Christine Meunier
Page Count:  492
Genre:  Contemporary

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Follow Lise and Wes as they work their way around North East Victoria, Australia in the seasonal world of breeding thoroughbreds. Horse Country follows the seasons of the thoroughbred industry and what the day to day of working on a stud could look like.

A few hours away, Maddie and Melanie are working hard in their parent’s metropolitan riding school, teaching others about horse riding and care of the horse. From the nervous first time rider, to the child who wants to run fast and jump high, the young women shape lessons to suit the individual.


Lise walked over with Dave, catching Stuart’s comment.

“You want someone to blame for me working here, Declan? Here’s your man,” she commented with a smug smile.

“To blame? Don’t tell me you aren’t getting along with Lise, Declan? A bit more attitude than you’re used to in females?” Dave questioned in a teasing manner.

Declan refrained from responding, instead heading into the yard, calmly walking up to the nearest filly with a head collar on that hadn’t yet had her feet done. He waited patiently for Dave to finish his smoke and then join him.

“I think you’re going to have a bit of fun with that one,” Dave stated quietly, Declan hearing the amusement in his tone as he picked up the near fore and started cleaning it out.

“Doubtful. She’s already decided she doesn’t think highly of me.”

“So? Change her mind,” he stated simply, continuing in silence.

Declan frowned, patting the filly on the forehead, smoothing her forelock from her eyes. Easy as that, apparently.

The two men made short work of the small paddock of fillies and managed one paddock of colts before needing to call it quits for the day. They set up a time to meet the following week to finish off the young horses on the farm.

“Perfect. See you both then. Great to see you again Lise,” Stuart ended with a smile, waving as he headed back to his ute.

“Ye sure made an impression on him,” Declan commented, as he headed to the opposite end of the yard to open some gates so the colts could be run back out to their paddocks.

“Every now and again a good impression sticks,” Lise commented with sarcasm, missing Declan’s small smile as he continued on away from her.

The broad Irish fellow had concluded over the past two or so hours that he could indeed change his mind and more importantly, hers. He recognised that when she wanted to be, she was pleasant and not lacking in guts. Plus, she could actually handle horses, but as of yet hadn’t boasted about her capabilities. Unlike a couple of the girls here. The gates set up, Declan gestured for Lise to let the colts out of the yard as he waited patiently on the All Terrain Vehicle, ready to travel in front of the young horses and keep them at a safe trot on their way home.

Clapping and waving her arms behind the young male horses, Lise managed to guide them through a couple of gates and out into the laneway where Declan was starting to move off on his ATV. Following suit, she climbed onto the other bike and started the engine, moving slowly behind the colts, tooting the horn at any that stopped along the side of the laneway to pick at some grass.

Between them they kept the colts at a trot and led the ten into their paddock smoothly, Declan circling in the paddock and coming back out of the gate, Lise closing it after him. He brought his bike back to first gear and paused, turning his attention back to her.

“I've got to get some treatments done in the barn after lunch. If yer able to give me a hand, meet me there at half one.”

Lise opened her mouth in surprise, not having time to respond as he took off at a roaring pace on the bike. She smiled.

“Well I’ll be. Did he just ask me for help?”


“So how did your work experience go?” Jake queried as he brushed over his gelding with a body brush.

“Great! Funny to think that just up the road are horses worth up to a quarter of a million dollars… and mum and dad bought my boy for five hundred,” Wes stated with a smile, patting the invaluable gelding.

“So are you tired of mucking out boxes and filling up water buckets yet?” he questioned dryly, moving on to pick out his mount’s four feet.

“Nope! Was thinking Caulfield Racecourse would be perfect for my next lot of work experience. You know, just up the road they pick out all of their horse’s feet from the left hand side?” she commented, watching Jake move around to the right hand side of his gelding to do the other two feet.

“They reckon a stablehand’s time is more valuable than having to waste time moving around the horse to do his feet… the horse is just expected to lift any of the four from the left hand side.”

“Fascinating,” Jake stated with a wink, reaching for his saddle blanket, “and are you going to be insane enough to do your next lot of work experience over the school holidays, also? What about your poor horse who doesn’t see you at all during the week? And haven’t you considered a riding school? At least you’d get to sit on those horses!”

“For the record, my horse loves being obese and is put out by any sign of exercise. Weekends work perfectly for him… well, he’d probably prefer not to be worked on even them and yes, the school holidays are the perfect time to gain more horse experience! I’ve still got another bout to do after the racecourse – plenty of time for a riding school! Not that I’m sure insurance would cover me riding other people’s horses,” Wes frowned, putting Reign’s bridle on, sliding the bit into his mouth.

Doing up the throatlatch, leaving four fingers room she turned to face Jake, the reins in her hand.

“You ready?”

“Course!” Jake grinned, putting his left foot into the left stirrup and hopping up onto his horse.

“Great! Can you help me with my turn on the forehand? Reign seems a little confused about lateral movement.”

“No worries. You should see how good we’re getting at reinback, too! Captain is really responsive now.”

“Hmmm… my horse works fine forward and we’re struggling with sideward movement… think I’ll pass on encouraging him to go backwards!”

“Whatever. I’m sure if it comes up in Pony Club you’ll be the first to give it a go,” he teased, pushing his gelding out into a walk beside her.

“Probably,” Wes grinned, not disagreeing.

Horse Country – A World of Horses is available via in paperback and eBook formats.

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