Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Christine Meunier, Author

Christine Meunier is impassioned about horses. Currently residing in Wangaratta, Victoria, she is the author of Horse Country and the acclaimed Free Rein Series.

Christine has worked at numerous thoroughbred studs in Australia as well as overseas in Ireland for a breeding season. She gained experience in a couple of Melbourne based horse riding schools, instructing at a basic level before heading off overseas again, this time to South Africa to spend hours in the saddle of endurance and trail horses on the Wild Coast.

Particularly passionate about the world of breeding horses, she teaches equine studies focused on breeding, at TAFE, Victoria, Australia.

Welcome Christine!

When was your first encounter with a horse?

This was when I lived in South Australia. I was around four years of age and was led around on a little grey Australian riding pony that was owned by a friend of mine. At this age I was hooked!

Do you have a favorite horse breed?

Ooh, I’m not sure I can say just one! For me the Thoroughbred is a breed that is versatile, elegant and an incredible joy to watch in flight. I also have a soft spot for Friesians and the Quarter Horse.

Where in the world have you ridden/competed?

I have only competed at my Pony Club’s gymkhanas when I was in my early teens. This was in Victoria, Australia. Outside of this I have ridden endurance and trail horses in South Africa on the East Coast; hunter horses in Ireland and trail horses across Victoria.

What was it like riding endurance and trail horses on the South African Coast?

It was incredible! Even though it was winter, the weather was mild and sunny – glorious riding weather! The horses were a mixture of young and old and although some didn’t have many years of being under saddle, they were all well trained and responsive. Some were the local South African breed the Boerperd whilst others were Arabians or Arabian cross breeds. They were bred for endurance riding but often utilized as trail horses to take locals and visitors around the South African coast. Often we were riding along a sandy beach or even a beach full of smooth pebbles. Other times we were riding down roads, through thousands of hectares of bush and even crossing streams on horseback or taking a ferry across a lagoon with the horses! It was an incredible experience.

What horses do you currently stable?

At this stage I have one horse that I own and look after. He’s a Quarter Horse cross Arabian gelding named Pride. My parents bought him for me for my fourteenth birthday as a first horse. He is still with me now fifteen years later. He is a retired 25 year old gelding but I learnt to ride on him and enjoyed Pony Club carrying out dressage, games and jumping. Previously I have been in charge of looking after thoroughbred stud horses – mares, foals and stallions and at times weanlings and yearlings too. I have also experienced the racing side of the industry, working with thoroughbred racehorses that were colts, fillies, mares, stallions and geldings.

Can you give us a peek into the storyline of your novel 'Horse Country'?

Horse Country follows the lives of four young women in their late teens to early twenties who have a passion for working with horses. Two instruct horse riding at their parents’ metropolitan riding school outside of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. The other two are focused on breeding thoroughbreds for racing. Horse Country depicts the day to day tasks that are carried out whilst working with and caring for horses. It’s written with a view to enlighten horse mad people about what a job in the equine industry looks like, the incredible people you can meet, places you can travel and skills that will be learnt. It’s based on over 10 years of experience I have had working in both of these industries.

Where are you going with the 'Free Rein Series'?

The Free Rein Series follows the lives of three young girls around ten years of age who love horses. It explores them each getting their first pony, learning to ride and be competent horse people. Alongside this it explores growing in the Christian faith and learning about a great God who has created them. I have written it for the age group that I believe often comes to love horses and learn to horse ride – pre-teens. It is my hope that the series will be one that young readers can turn to, to enjoy as well as learn about horses and horse care and how to be a reliable young person.

What are you currently writing?

Currently I am working on the third novel in the Free Rein Series as well as another standalone novel like Horse Country was. This novel focuses on a young woman who moves to a tropical island to live with her new husband. Horses don’t exist here and she plans to import them and set up a trail riding business. It will follow the trials and tribulations that come from introducing horses to an island that doesn’t support livestock well, doesn’t have vets and locals who aren’t used to a foreigner who doesn’t speak their language.

When is your next book event/author signing?

On December 8th of this year I am promoting my Free Rein Series which is soon to be released. This will be happening in the town of Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia.

What does horsemanship mean to you?

Horsemanship to me is about learning to be the best advocate for the equine species that I can. It means being able to read a horse’s body language, look after their health and know when something is wrong and work to correct it. It also means constantly learning about them.

List 10 random things that people may not know about you...

I have over 630 equine related books in my collection.
My middle name is May.
I got kicked in the head by a horse in 2012 and was in a coma for four days.
I’m a workaholic.
I teach horse studies at a local TAFE in Victoria.
Green is my favorite color, closely followed by purple.
I want to learn about artificial insemination, something I haven’t been able to do whilst working in the thoroughbred industry.
I write a blog about equine related careers because at 16 I was told by my careers teacher that there was no chance to make it working in the horse industry.
I am addicted to creating and writing for websites and blogs.
I love taking photos and try to use these often in my resource writing about horses.
Connect with Christine…

Three musketeers on trail in South Africa. Mr. Suave, Puzzle and Dougal.


1 comment:

Christine said...

Thanks for this opportunity, Gina!