Monday, April 29, 2013

Gaby Lucas, World Equestrian

From Chelmsford, United Kingdom, Gaby Lucas has been riding since she could walk. She is an international equestrian currently in the World Class Dressage Development Programme, vying for a spot in the Olympics and the WEG (World Equestrian Games).

Welcome Gaby!

How long have you been riding?

I have been riding since I was 18 months old. 

What is your riding discipline?

I ride dressage for Great Brittan internationally at pony level and junior level and I have been in 2 European teams. I used to event and do Showjumping as well.

Tell me about Topstar...

Topstar is a 14 year old, 14.2hh Westphalian Palomino Gelding. I brought him at prelim level and managed to achieve Internationals and Europeans 2011.

Do you ride everyday?

Yes I ride 5 horses everyday minimum, more if I have clients horses to ride;  and I also teach dressage and attend Writtle Equine College. 

Have you participated in a lot of events?

Yes, I have won numerous regional titles, premier leagues, high profile shows and local shows from prelim- advanced medium; from the age of 10- now. I always place at international competitions. 

Where is your favorite arena?

My favorite arena is Rosendaal in Holland. 

What are your future goals as an equestrian?

My future goals is to continue competing at internationals and Europeans, then Olympia horse show, then WEG (World Equestrian Games), then the Olympics. 

Do you have advice for novice riders?

Yes, I teach a few novice riders that are now very confident successful riders.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

Horsemanship is knowing your horse inside out.

Follow Gaby…

Best Poems of 2012

World Poetry Movement

Best Poets & Poems of 2012, Vol. 1Featured Poet


moving along the morning path
countless possessions spark my way
breaths of honeysuckle dew
sights of greenery and blues
while the Earth warmly embraces my heart

swallows swoop down with their pointed wings
flying as fast as they can
comrades they are, free falling through air
then swirling just over my head
protecting their nests, feeding their young
nothing compares to my view

moving along, the bees can be seen
dabbing along white clover
fierce they are, to stay in my path
buzzing from flower to flower
dipping and swaying, collecting strong nectar
a bee cosmopolitan in pasture

the meadow spins tales
and reminds me it’s mine
as sunrays greet my way
smiling bright, anxious to tell
how i should start my day

be like the swallows, fervently gracious
busy like bees, humbly ferocious
life is to be lived
nothing else matters….

(c) gmcknight 6/18/12

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hamza Hassan, Poet

Hamza Hassan is a famous poet, known for his love poems, lyrics of romance and passion. His first collection of poems Some Moments of Love appeared in 2004. The book was highly appreciated by literary circles around the world.

Welcome Hamza!

Can you remember the first poem you wrote?

Yes off course, I still remember. My first poem was The Trees written by me when I was in class 8, almost 12 years of age, and it was published in a children’s magazine.

What was
The Trees about?

About the trees and nature; I still remember its first verse…

When I come across these trees
I feel a lovely breeze

Name a favorite poem or two...

Solitary Reaper, by William Wordsworth
Lucy Gray, by William Wordsworth
Incident in the French Camp, by Robert Browning

... and a few of your favorite poets.

John Keats, William Wordsworth

Do you think poetry is important in the global scale of things or just a pleasant, indulgent hobby?

As I think poetry is important in the present era, it serves multi purposes. From emotions and feelings, to the social problems and burning issues; it is one way to portray the realities.
What books have you published?

My 2 collections of poems Some Moments of Love and Museum of Reminiscence have been published. My published novel Thirst All Around hit the market in 2011.

What are you currently writing?

I am working on my collection of short stories nowadays as well writing my second novel which will be published next year.

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry is very meaningful to me, my life, emotions, feelings, memories as well as the companion of my solitude.

Follow Hamza…

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fashion at the Races

Welcome Briana!

Briana M. Mott is the quintessential raceday fashion authority! As CEO of Fashion at the Races, Briana is always wearing the perfect outfit! What to wear to the races? Just ask Briana….

What is 'Fashion at the Races'?

Fashion at the Races is an initiative to showcase the fashion and millinery worn to racetracks all over the world. By bringing light to the fashion and finer part of horse racing, we hope raise the bar on racing style and gain new fans through fashion at the races! Besides, why should the horses have all the attention? ;)

Who is your favorite hat designer?

This is a tough one because there are so many different styles that I love! I am not a big floppy brimmed Derby hat fan. I like small to medium pieces that are more couture, constructed, and designed for a particular outfit. If it’s a larger brimmed piece it needs to be constructed and not scary big that you get lost in. After having the pleasure of working with so many talented milliners it's hard to pick one as my favorite. I like a milliner who takes chances but also sticks to their design aesthetic. The ones who just glue flowers and charge $600 for the thanks!

Do you have a favorite hat?

I have a favorite hat every week! Right now I am loving one of our feature milliners, Lisa Tan's horse print pieces. I tend to flock to black and white.  As a New Yorker black tends to be in a lot of my wardrobe. However, I know I need to push the boundaries a little more with some color! There are a lot to choose from on our site so it’s hard to pick a favorite! I've attached a few.

Lisa Tan, Milliner

Do different racetracks require different fashion?

Different racetracks do have different fashion absolutely. Del Mar and Santa Anita Park are very west coast fashion, as they should be. Bigger sun hats, summer dresses and lots of wedges. If you head down to Florida at Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs, you are dressing more of a 'Miami Chic' style, more fitted dresses, constructed millinery and big statement jewelry. Then to my favorite part of the country, the east coast, being a East Coast gal myself I love that the NYRA tracks pull out of the NYC style. Black and white being a major staple, furs, high heels (less wedges); you definitely channel 'Devil Wears Prada' for these tracks.

Where is your favorite racetrack?

Many people say that its hard to name a favorite track, as cliché as that is, its so true. Each track is different in its own right. My first races were at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. This is a beautiful track surrounded by a lot of green grass (which more tracks need to do besides concrete). However,  I wish they would step up their fashion a bit more, which then pushes me toward Santa Anita in California and Saratoga in New York. These two are known for gorgeous weather and well dressed men and women. Great surroundings in architecture and of course great races to enjoy only tops off the fabulous fashion that people wear. It’s obvious that women and men put effort into their outfits for these race days which they should!

More recently I have a new love for Belmont Park in New York, as a New Yorker I may be biased but this track has something elegant about it. I think of a fantastic black and white dress, black gloves with a big cocktail ring holding a glass of champagne while you cheer on these million dollar athletes. Nothing beats this daydream! There are so many other tracks that are amazing in their own right but to keep this to an article and not a novel...we will stick with these few!

Regardless, dress up for the racetrack in your area...go out have some drinks and food with your fabulous friends and enjoy a day (or night) at the races! That's what they are there for!

Do you have favorite horse/jockey/colors you follow?

Favorite racehorse would be Animal Kingdom as I've followed him for a long time from when everyone doubted him to the shining star he is now. He is with 'Team Valor' which is a racing syndicate that has grown to be a very successful international ownership. I enjoy keeping up with Team Valor and their horses, win or lose its great to have horses to follow. The Horse Racing sport is one of the toughest sports to follow as so many of the star athletes may only 'compete' for a few years. Theres no Michael Jordan's in horse racing as their usual life as a racehorse may only be for 2-4 years. It’s important to give people a way to feel involved and that way could be a favorite jockey, trainer, owner and horse(s). Internationally, no one trumps the 'Mighty Mare' Black Caviar. I visited Australia and saw her through her 17th, 18th, and 19th win and that experience is one I will never forget. She's retired now but will always be a superstar. I wish more horses would keep running into their 6th year...(ehem owners!).

Do you ride?

If you're a fan of the horse races, it doesn't mean you are an 'equestrian' which I think can be an assumption among many new fans. In saying this, I am both! I do ride and have since middle school. Fashion at the Races adopted an off the track thoroughbred who has been renamed RED Valentino, (to keep with the fashion category). He was mediocre on the track but he is a wonderful 'model' for our photo shoots, and a wonderful horse to ride for fun! His first show will be in June and should be interesting! He is a 6YO gelding, but still acts like a 2YO colt which is one of the reasons I love him! OTTB's are great horses to have and give a second career. They love a job and love to please!

Describe the perfect raceday outfit....

This is so hard! I'll give two: Recently we had the opportunity to dress Ali Fedecowstky, NBC's First Look Host as well as the star of Bachelorette, for the three Triple Crown Races. Her Belmont outfit was stunning, a black peplum top with leather detail, white and black pencil skirt, Lisa Tan Horse print pillbox and of course a great white statement necklace with black shoes. All very simple but when its put together she looked so stylish and chic.

Trying to step out of my love of monochrome, I think another perfect outfit would be the combination of two bright colors. Do this through prints, or just having them next to one another. A flowing top/blouse and light skirt that reaches just above the knee.  Incorporating either your prints or colors into your millinery makes you stand out tremendously with your fashion. Shows you took the time, made the effort, and as a result it really all came together. Feel free to bring the color in statement jewelry and/or your shoes!

Regarding your shoes, here's some important advice...if you can't walk in them, DON'T WEAR THEM! Bring flats if you need to for the second part of the day, add some heel pads, bring Band-Aids …whatever you need but don't be 'that girl' fumbling in her too tall, ill-fitting shoes. Its so noticeable and so unattractive. Couple ways to avoid this:
  • Make sure the shoe fits. So many girls buy to tight shoes, too narrow etc. A true fitting heel won't have your feet hurting after the first hour.
  • Don't buy a new pair the day before the races. All shoes need time to be broken in...heels I think need the most. Buy them the week before and wear them daily...then you'll really find out if you can make them work all day.
  • Don't be to macho for heel padding. Dr. Scholls are great but can get expensive. Panty liners are a great way to keep your heel from slipping and creating step that up a notch, a 'lady-pad' works both as a panty-liner...and the Dr. Scholls pad! (Just don't show the boys ;) (**Dr. Scholls will make your shoes fit tighter FYI).
  • Bring a few Band-Aids in your may not need them but you'll be the lifesaver of whoever didn't read this and prepare!
  • Flats, flats, flats...I don't like to see them worn at a raceday, but as the day progresses its completely understandable. Get a cheap pair that can roll up in a ball and fit in your purse or your mans side pocket. He'll complain but be a happy man lady when he doesn't have to give you a piggy back!

My favorites via Fashion at the Races; don't forget to order your favorite! The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner.....

Fielden Willmott Millinery
Chantelle Kentucky Derby Hat
Fielden Willmott Millinery

Fielden Willmott Millinery

Fielden Willmott Millinery

Friday, April 19, 2013

Esther O'Kane, Equestrian

From Donegal, Ireland, Esther O’Kane rides with grace, beauty and talent.  An all-around equestrian, Esther travels the world with her lovely dog, Scampus Maximus, showcasing her amazing riding abilities.

Best of luck, Esther, in the upcoming Royal Dublin Horseshow!

Welcome Esther!

When was your first encounter with a horse?

My first encounter with horses was when I was about 5 years old, it was actually with my best friend's neighbor’s 16'2h horse who we would trick into letting us up on her back by feeding her apples and then try our best to stay on her as she galloped around the field, I tried jump her over a fence and came off quite abruptly so that put an end to that! It scared my friend quite badly so we decided to take up actual horse riding lessons to ensure it wouldn't happen again!

My first riding school was a Shetland pony called Pepsi who was a little black and white armchair of a pony who really looked after me until I outgrew him.
What is your riding discipline?

I have competed and worked in nearly every discipline and been lucky enough to have experienced nearly all aspects of horseriding from thoroughbred racing to western style riding, also side saddle, showing and eventing. But my main passion would be showjumping. I rode race horses at college and groomed at races. Then I moved onto working in a dressage yard outside Milan, Italy. To working with top showjumpers all over Ireland who brought me to one of the top showjumping yard in America, Heritage Farm Florida. I also compete cross country and eventing and in the past year I have been showing and jumping side saddle which has be revived here in Ireland and is becoming increasingly popular.

Where is your favorite place to ride?

I love to ride up the mountains and down through valleys and rivers surrounding my cottage, some of the most beautiful views in the world are to be had in Donegal, Ireland. Also the beach is an amazing experience and I strongly advise you haven't lived until you gallop a horse bareback on the beach into the sea!

What happened when you took a spill off a young horse?

I was being a stubborn ejit as you would say over here! I tried to jump too high on a young horse that wasn't ready yet and paid for it by breaking my spine. Our mare flipped and landed on top of me but thankfully I was quickly taken to hospital and my boyfriend at the time and my family were more than amazing at looking after me and got me back on my feet.

How was the mending?

Well the first day I was told I was paralyzed which I totally ignored! It was incredibly painful but I knew I would walk again and within a week I forced myself to stand up, to which my nurses and physio were a bit distraught but I just replied with 'Just checking!'

It took about six months until I was happily moving around without much stiffness and I got back on the same horse as soon as I could after about 7 months of recovery. We even jumped the same fence that I had the fall from and cleared it. I think I had to do all that to make sure that I wasn't affected by the whole accident, and that it didn't change my passion for horses.

What horse are you currently riding?

At the moment I have my own horse, he is a 15’2h stunning black and white piebald showjumping horse by Colorful Fields Stallion. His name is Oreo Cookie. I ride him everyday at 7am before I go to work or 7 pm after work. I’ve had him since a foal or he is five years old now and a complete sweetheart, he even comes into my cottage now again for tea! ;) I also have a few Connemara type ponies that I break train and sell. I also take in horses to train and sell on for people.
Oreo and I compete in local shows and trek all around the surrounding countryside, my family and neighbors even have a go on him from time to time. He really loves attention and looks after everyone around him as well as on top of him

Hopefully we will be competing at one of the biggest shows in Ireland this August in the RDS (Royal Dublin Horse Show) if we make the team so wish us luck!

Do you have a favorite horse breed?

I adore the Oldenburg breed. One of my favorite mares I’ve ever ridden is by an Oldenburg stallion Coranado, and such a stunning horse and a lovely personality.

Why do you like horses so much?

Through all my trials and tribulations, physical and physiological, my horses and all my other animals have always helped put a smile back on my face, no matter what. Nearly every penny I earn I spend on my horses and my dog, Scampus Maximus who comes with me on every trip. I spend my evenings and days off cleaning tack, mucking out, grooming, and  riding because it's not just about the riding and competing , it's about being with them, looking after them, being near them. They give so much in return. Animals are my happiness.

Any advice for beginner riders?

Never forget that a horse is a flight animal, no matter how sweet, tame, old or quiet they are, they have four hooves that can hurt if you if you get in the way. Always have one eye on your surroundings for things that could spook them.

And if things aren’t going the way you would like, don’t lose your temper, the horse is a lot bigger than you and will always win. Try to end your ride on a good note and try again tomorrow, practice and patience makes perfect.

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher

Follow Esther...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tamara Rymer, Equine Artist

Tamara Rymer is one of the world’s top equine artists. Residing in Texas, USA, Tamara’s artwork is showcased in numerous public galleries, as well as private collections. She has earned multiple national awards for her breathtaking artwork….

Welcome Tamara!

How long have you been painting? 

Ever since I can remember, and have always been selling my art.
My father, after serving his country as a naval pilot, was in the printing business for a while. He would bring home left over paper from jobs, and kept me in a supply of pencils, and paints when I was a kid. Then told me stories of the family history which helped give me ideas for my subjects. Our family stories are right out of the old west!

Love your artwork...where do you like to paint?

I have a studio in my home with large windows overlooking my horses. I am a studio painter primarily, as I will sometimes work on more than one project, but like to have it all in one spot. I do occasionally paint out in the field, but usually finish the work back in the studio.

What is your favorite paint medium?

I have two. I started in oil paints but switched to watercolor when my daughter was born to keep the fumes out of the house. I am now back to working with oils again, and will do paintings in both mediums. They each offer different challenges, and I find that some subjects tell stories that lend themselves to one medium more than another.

Do you paint to music, or do you enjoy quiet while painting?

I like to paint to noise! It's funny, but over the years I have noticed that the type of noise I want to hear has a lot to do with whats on the easel. I will switch back and forth from music to having a small tv on in the studio. It's not that I watch the tv, I don't, but I will listen to the story line of an old movie. The first thing I look for is a western. 

Do you have a favorite artist? 

I have two- Schreyvogel, and Vermeer. Schreyvogel because my father gave me a book of his work when I was a kid, and I was fascinated with his attention to detail. I knew of Schreyvogel before I knew of Russell and Remington. Vermeer, because of his master of the use of light.

...a favorite painting? 

"My Bunkie" by Schreyvogel.

...a favorite painting of your own? 

"The Lost Rider" a watercolor I did several years ago. When I did this piece, and put it in my first watercolor art show, it got an award- garnered a lot of attention, and it's been full steam ahead ever since! 

'The Lost Rider' copyright Tamara Rymer
So many horses, how do you choose the one to paint? 

When looking at horses to paint, I will be looking at their eyes first, then I look at the story their body is telling me. I might go through a dozen possibilities, before I can narrow it down to one or two. And the ones that don't get painted at that time, still might get painted later on down the road. I don't have to paint horses in action like working cows or running a race. Just the action of being peaceful is something I feel needs to be shared.

As an equestrian, do you have a favorite breed of horse?

I love all horses and have a couple favorites. I favor the Quarter horse as I like the mentality and athleticism, and I like the Mustang for his toughness, and fearlessness.

Do you have a favorite horse story? 

I have quite a few, but I think the funniest is-
As a kid we had been out of the horse business for a few years, and my brothers wanted to get back into it. So they had saved their money to purchase a horse. Since I was the only girl, my dad felt I needed to have one also, and having two together was better for them. So my dad and I took the horses out for a ride one morning and passed a cowboy while we were crossing a creek. That cowboy introduced himself and said I believe I recognize that horse (the one my brothers had bought). My father said, "You don't say, how do you know him?" The cowboy proceeded to ask us if that horse went by the name Big Red, and as a matter of fact he did. He then told us that the horse had been the number 5 bucking horse in the state of Texas, and asked if my dad knew what he was riding.... you could have heard a pin drop! A horse was a horse in my dads mind, as he used to ride them to school, so there wasn't a horse he couldn't handle and just didn't even think of them as being unteachable or unridable. The cowboy then told us that at one of the biggest Texas rodeo events of all times, Big Red was in the rodeo arena shoot getting ready for his bucking event. The gate pulled open and Big Red with a bronc rider on board took a few steps out and then just stood there. He wouldn't buck, he wouldn't move. The horse had had enough of the rodeo and decided not to play the game anymore. He was then sold a few times before my brothers ended up with him. We had no idea! 

Well, we thanked the cowboy for the story and went on our way. My father was a little concerned with us kids riding that horse after that, only to have the horse prove to be one of the best kid horses anybody could have had. I think often of Big Red. And how did he get his name? Somewhere along the line someone discovered that the horse would do anything for some Big Red soda pop (told to us by that cowboy we met).

What does horsemanship mean to you?

Horsemanship to me is the art of listening to what the horses have to tell us (through their actions, the look in their eye). Whether it be in the saddle or on the ground. Animals always have something to say, if we look and listen close we will hear it and it will make for a better relationship. 

Where are you currently exhibiting? 

I am currently showing work at: 

Michael Henington Fine Art in Santa Fe, NM 

Griffith Fine Art in Salado, TX 

Buffalo River Gallery in Paola, KS 

as well as exhibiting in invitational and juried shows across the country.

To view more of Tamara’s gorgeous artwork… 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Clare Hudson, Equestrian

Clare Hudson is a polo player residing in the United Kingdom. Raised in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, she is founder of the elite polo attire and equipment company Kit4Kings. Her favorite breed of horse is the British Thoroughbred…

Welcome Clare!

When was your first encounter with a horse?

I was aged 4, and that Christmas my father had given my sister and I riding lessons at Kuala Lumpur's Polo Club. 

When did you begin playing polo? 

Despite learning to ride at a polo club and having weekly lessons for 8 years, I only started playing polo once I got to University, aged 19. I had actually learnt to play PoloCrosse out in Costa Rica during my gap year and was hooked and wanted to continue but there was only a polo club at the university so I joined that and haven’t looked back.

Tell me about your polo team... 

Surprisingly it is called Kit4Kings! There isn’t a set team, in terms of the players so I really work that out depending on the tournament level and horse power required to win. I have been fortunate to play with a great number of players, some who shout a lot and others that don’t, but all in all it is the most brilliant and fun sport.

Do you ride/practice daily?

I pretty much ride daily in the summer, be it exercising the ponies or stick and balling. I never feel like it is a chore but actually a lovely respite from work and the stresses of the day.

What was your motivation to begin Kit4Kings?

To be able to work for yourself and make a success completely off your own back. I studied law at University and during many placements in different firms, from the magic circle companies to provincial family dispute firms, I realized that it was a very negative environment what put me off joining it. Running your own business has its ups and downs but at the end of the day if it works out it is down to you and you are always forging positive paths to make it more and more successful. In law you were always looking out to prevent the negative from occurring and if it did to ensure you were covered against it. I also wanted to be able to climb up the 'career ladder' based on my own results and not predescribed number of years working in an industry before you are considered eligible for an elevation in your position. I am a firm believer that results should speak louder than age.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced in your career? 

People not taking you seriously due to being quite young and a female.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

The complete understanding of your horse at that moment you are competing on it. You have to know when it is tired, due to being cold, over exercised, over fed, under fed, has sore teeth or a sore back. There are many people who can ride and say they are horse people but there are very few who are true champions of it. It takes patience, time and fundamentally some people are born with it and others not. You can only learn so much, the rest is either a part of you or not.

Any advice for beginning riders/polo players? 

Have a go. If you don’t try you won’t know what you are missing out on. Horses are an amazing animal and can bring a great deal to your life.

Follow Clare…

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Carmel Rowley, Author

Residing in Toowoomba, Queensland, Carmel Rowley is a world-renowned author. She is the author of the acclaimed fiction series Daughters of the Wind, including Tails Carried High, Voices of the Wind and Winds of Time. She has also written a children's book, Danika and Yatimah from Egypt to the Outback. Carmel is an avid equestrian and Arabian Horse breeder for over thirty-seven years...
Welcome Carmel!  

When was your first encounter with a horse?

My childhood, especially after the age of seven, was a time of great change for me; horses slipped into my consciousness and became my refuge, comfort and a source of enormous pleasure. I can remember during my earliest school years how I made up stories about horses in my head and would often tell my friends about them at playtime.

In those early years I lived in the inner city of Melbourne, barely thirty minutes by tram to the middle of the city. This environment was not conducive to meeting horses but I do remember going to Melbourne Royal Show for the first time and being enthralled by all the animals and especially the different breeds of horses paraded in the daily spectacle of the Grand Parade. I think something was triggered that day, a type of recognition of how horses possessed a special bond with human beings.  

What is your favorite breed of horse?

When I think back, the first breed of horse/pony I adored was the Shetland pony. I always vowed that I was going to have a Shetland pony stud farm. I have no idea why I chose that particular breed but it’s a curious memory with no answer.

To be honest I’m a horse lover, I love all horses whatever the breed. In saying this I can remember asking my husband if we were to breed horses what sort of horse should we breed? His reply was the horse must be good looking. There was no competition; it had to be an Arabian horse. Not only are Arabian horses beautiful but they were bred to live closely with their owners. They also possess an uncanny intelligence. There are many books written about the history of the Arabian breed but I feel there’s no doubt the Bedouin bred into the Arabian horse some extraordinary characteristics. The horse was vitally important to these desert nomads, so tolerance, speed and an amicable and ungrudging temperament were essential to survival.

The decision to breed Arabian horses was made in 1973 with the purchase of several partbred Arabians and in 1975 we purchased our first purebred.

My husband and I have bred Arabian horses for over thirty seven years and we've learnt a lot about life from this incredible experience. The Arabian horse world is one of extremes and I firmly believe that extremes in life are dangerous. Whether it’s observing the serious climatic conditions of Mother Nature, or breeding horses we as breeders must make time to learn what is best for our world and for the horses we profess to love.

Over the years we have made some true friends but we have also witnessed some of the horrors, especially the lack of empathy and the sociopathic behavior in the way human beings treat horses and the people who love them. I feel it was these behaviors which eventually saw us step away from the show ring and to take our own road. We decided to own and love our Arabian horses for the lifestyle, and to enjoy living with them day by day.  All these experiences became the catalyst for writing my first novel - book one in my Daughters of the Wind series, Tails Carried High.

Do you have a favorite riding experience?

I have lots of experiences, some that were not funny at the time but became funny with time. Others remain very clear in my mind as watershed moments in my life, so it is difficult to choose. The one below says a lot about me doing things my way and not worrying about what other people say.

In the late 1970’s my husband and I purchased a purebred Arabian colt specifically to be gelded as my riding horse. Silvan was grey, 15 hands with white socks and a blaze. I was never a fan of lots of white so I don’t know what came over us when we purchased this colt. He was broken to both saddle and harness and we showed him in both disciplines.
It had been a number of years since I had ridden in any horse shows, so my first open adult riding class was a pretty big event. I have to mention that purebred Arabians do not compete in the Australian hack show ring. (A Hack in Australia is a show horse, ridden in competition, in a range of sizes) This type of show horse is generally reserved for elegant thoroughbreds that were not fast enough to be successful racehorses.

As in true Carmel Rowley style I ignored tradition and worked hard at fine tuning my riding and training Silvan. To say Silvan stood out on the day is an understatement. His gleaming silver coat, snow white stockings and blaze, his jaunty, high tail carriage and bright happy face flew against everything that identified the serious English style, show hack.

The day was a great success, I won my riding class and we came third in Silvan’s very large Galloway class. I remember at least thirty horses in the class. For a purebred Arabian to achieve this placing was a credit to Silvan and his heritage. The judge was full of praise and as she tied the ribbon around Silvan’s neck she told me she had a soft spot for the Arab. She said Arabian owners should fly in face of the constabulary, get out into the hack ring in force and give the thoroughbreds a run for their money.

How do you maintain thoughts and ideas for writing?

Once I have an idea, and begin to write, the story then takes over. I write most of my stories and novels by hand then transfer them to the computer using this as a second draft.

I would love to say that I’m organized and plan my ideas, write them down and plot out the story line in every detail but I don’t. I do make notes in case I forget a particular idea, but most of the time my thoughts and ideas are all stewing around in my head. Often the characters take control and when I finish a chapter sometimes I’m amazed at how it turns out. It can be totally different to where I was heading in the first place, and this new idea can take me on a track to include a new direction that can make the story much better. My characters are very alive for me and already I am missing the characters in my Daughters of the Wind series. Writing about Egypt in book three was as if I could open my back door and the desert sand would whip up around my ankles and the hot sun, burn my face.
When I was writing Tails Carried High, I had come to a pivotal point in the story and it was supposed to be the end but this voice in my head kept saying, it’s not finished. It took months for the rest of the story to fall into place and even longer to work out how it would unfold, and finish. When the idea came to me it burst like a firecracker in my head. I was mucking out the stables at the time. (I always get my best ideas cleaning stables) I dropped the stable fork screaming to my husband that I’ve got it; I worked it out, and sprinted up the hill to write it down. The exhilaration of that particular idea coming to me still makes me excited. Many who have read Tails tell me they would never have guessed the ending.

I use my life experiences, people, nature – landscapes, my horses and emotions for inspiration. These days it feels as if everything around me has a story to tell. I've written short stories based on a photograph or artwork. At a local Swap Meet I saw the most amazing antique travel chest with a tarnished lock. As soon as I touched it, I knew I had to write about it. This story is not finished but it will be fun to do so. Even occurrences like a horse spooking at the same tree every day inspires me.
At present I’m just beginning to get back to writing after releasing Winds of Time. Wind’s was a big book to write (465 pages) and I felt quite burnt out once it was released, so I took a much needed a break to concentrate on marketing.
I have my second Danika and Yatimah children’s book unfolding. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever sort it out. I’m thrilled to now be working on the story, plus there’s a partly finished adult mystery I’m looking forward to completing.

What is the first book that you remember reading?

I can’t really remember the very first book I read but I can recall two books that had an impact on me as a child.

The first was I Can Jump Puddles by Alan Marshall a story of the author’s childhood. Despite his crippling poliomyelitis, he plays climbs, fights, swims, rides and thoroughly enjoys his world living in Australian countryside early last century surrounded by rough-riders, Bushmen, farmers and tellers of tall stories. I was in hospital with a serious illness when I read this book.

The second book was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. A touching story filled with lessons about life and combining memories and experiences told by Black Beauty himself. Every time I read this story I learn something new and writing this has prompted me to take it down from my bookcase and read it again. The story shows the cruelty some humans inflict on animals, as well as the kindness. This is an everlasting classic, loved by anyone who loves animals.

Who is your favorite author?

I read such a variety of books and have many favorites. I’m as bad with authors as I am with horses sometimes loving so many it’s hard to choose just one favorite. In saying this; the author that jumps straight into my head is Barbara Erskine. When I read her Midnight is a Lonely Place for the first time we had guests staying and I was so enthralled and “in” this book I’m ashamed to say that I virtually ignored my guests.

Barbara writes vivid, romantic and scary stories about angry spirits.  I’m convinced we – the human race have barely touched the surface when it comes to knowing about life and death.

If your books were being made into a movie do you already have actors in mind for each role? What bands/singers would you put on the soundtrack?

I can’t count how many people have said to me how much they would love to see the Daughters of the Wind series made into a mini-series for television or a series of movies. In fact a psychic did tell me that a series of movies would be made of my books. Who am I to argue? I’m more than happy to take it on board and believe.

When I think about which actors might play the two main character roles of Marc and Jessikah I firstly think about their individual characteristics.

Jessikah -
“… John caught his breath at the slender girl standing on his front porch. She had thick, copper-colored hair falling past her shoulders. Her upward tilting eyes were an ice blue, and until she gave him an uncertain smile, they appeared unapproachable.”

Marc -
“… It was impossible to guess his age, maybe late twenties. He stood over six feet in height, with long, slender limbs and a sinewy strength. A narrow face with dark eyebrows frowned in concern for her welfare. His straight dark hair was short, with a wayward lock at the front that fell over one of his pale grey-green eyes.”

I did ask some friends who are into the DOW series and we came up with Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey or maybe the lovely young Australian actress Isabel Lucas as Jessikah. She does have to have an English accent. I also thought for Emma, Jessikah’s grandmother, another main character, Lisa Niemi Swayze there is some similarities between Joanne and Lisa regarding facial structure and I’m a huge fan of both actors.

Marc is far more difficult as he has to have an Australia accent and that’s often hard for overseas actors to get right. I actually think Liam Hemsworth, although he is a few years younger than what Marc is in the book he does come very close in my mind’s eye. I guess the casting director would have to have some ideas on the subject as well.

Music for the soundtrack is a whole different ball game! Tails Carried High is set in 1996 and the top song for that year was the Macarena. I’m smiling as I type this trying to imagine Jessikah doing the Macarena and somehow the image doesn't seem to be working.
I do have a favorite song that I feel sums up Jessikah's journey of discovery and the song is Dreams by The Cranberries. The words are perfect. Jessikah falling in love with Marc, oops, now I’ve told you; also Jessikah falling in love with the Arabian horse. Some of the lyrics from Dreams by the Cranberries…

‘… Oh, my life is changing every day,
You have my heart so don't hurt me.
You're what I couldn't find.
So understanding and so kind;
You're everything to me.
And oh, my dreams,
It's never quite as it seems,
'Cause you're a dream to me …’
In Winds of Time (book 3) Marcus and Ellore, Jessikah’s great grandparents, dance together at a farewell party to Moon River  before they sail from Egypt to France. In my mind they are so alive; I see the joy on their faces because they are back in love after the struggles of WWII. This is such a romantic song and one I adore.

What are 10 random facts about yourself?
  1. I adore my husband. Books and horses come together in second place.
  2. I love clothes and fashion – pretty dresses, vintage fashion and dressing up.
  3. I have a strong attachment to the environment, the soil, and the trees. Could be from my Irish heritage. (Carmel O’Sullivan Rowley)
  4. Books and writing are my lifeline, the feel, and the connection to the author’s words.
  5. I insist on honesty and integrity.
  6. My life is a journey of learning to be the best person possible.
  7. Through age comes wisdom and I’m definitely wiser these days. I strive to be generous and love the concept of ‘paying it forward’ and what you put out you get back.
  8. True friends are as important to me as breathing; they are food for my heart and soul. These friends tell me I’m resourceful and I know I’m very determined.
  9. I also love art and I’m artistic. When I have time, I draw and especially love to sculpt. Art Deco is a favorite era and I enjoy photography and painting ceramic plates.
  10. Animals are a natural extension of my life.
  11. Should I admit to being vain? Even in middle age? My husband does say I’m high maintenance but he says it with love.

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...