Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kim Ablon Whitney, Equine Author

Author Kim Ablon Whitney lives with her husband and three children in Newton, Massachusetts, USAIn addition to writing fiction, she is a United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) ‘R’ judge in hunters, equitation, and jumpers and has officiated at the Washington International Horse Show Junior Equitation Finals, the Capital Challenge, the Winter Equestrian Festival, Lake Placid, and the Vermont Summer Festival. As a junior, she showed in the equitation, placing at the USEF Talent Search and USEF Medal Finals. She later competed as an amateur in the A/O jumpers, winning top ribbons at World Equestrian Federation (WEF), Lake Placid, and Devon on her self-trained off-the-track Thoroughbred.

Kim's newest book release, Blue Ribbons, is a must read for all horse lovers!  

Welcome Kim!

Do you remember your first encounter with a horse?
My grandfather and my father used to hunt with Golden’s Bridge Hounds in North Salem, New York.  When we would go visit my grandparents, my brothers and I would get to go to the stable where my grandfather kept his horses and take a few turns around a ring on ponies.  I think that was the first time I probably ever sat on a horse.  Then, during the summers, my family started going trail riding at Grazing Fields Farm on Cape Cod (when it used to be a Welsh pony farm) and that’s when it all really began.  When the summer ended, I begged to take lessons back at home.

What books have you written?
I have published three books with Random House: The Perfect Distance, SeeYou Down the Road, and The Other Half of Life.  I recently updated and republished The Perfect Distance as an e-book and I’ve just released a novel about the pony hunter world, Blue Ribbons.

Are your books based upon personal experience?
My horse books are definitely based on personal experience!  I competed in the equitation like Francie from The Perfect Distance and in the ponies like Regan from Blue Ribbons.  I judge at shows throughout the year and I definitely get ideas for my books when I’m judging!  I use all my firsthand experience of the show circuit to create my characters but none of the characters are exactly based on “my story.”  It’s more fun to imagine what it would be like to be someone different!
Where do you like to write?
I like to write at my dining room table in the mornings when the kids are at school and the house is quiet.  But I’ve learned over the years since I had kids to write wherever and whenever… in the car, at a coffee shop, waiting at a soccer practice!  I do a lot of writing by longhand in notebooks or on legal pads and then transcribe and add to what I wrote later.  Sometimes I write every day for weeks.  Other times I write for a few days and then get busy with other stuff and have to come back to what I’m working on.
Do you have advice for novice writers?
My advice for novice writers would be to stop waiting for the muse!  I used to think some days I could write and other days I couldn’t.  I would wait till I felt like I had a scene planned out in my head.  Now I realize if I just sit down and start writing, even if I don’t have much of an idea for what I’m about to write, something decent will come out.  And, even if it’s not great, I’ll have something I can work with and revise.  Anything is better than a blank page!  
How do you maintain thoughts and ideas?
When I’m writing a book, I get pretty into the story and it’s often on my mind. I’ll be driving somewhere and I’m thinking about what’s going to happen next. When I’m actually doing the writing, I sometimes try to stop in the middle of a scene so the next day (or whenever I write again) when I pick up I’ll have momentum.  That seems to work well when I can pull it off.  Sometimes it’s just too hard to stop in the middle of a scene—I want to finish it!

Spruce (Courtside) in the A/O jumpers at WEF. 
What does horsemanship mean to you?
Horsemanship to me means taking care of your own horse and knowing your horse.  It means cleaning his stall (maybe not every day but often), grooming him, bathing him, feeding him, scheduling and holding him for the vet and farrier, cleaning his tack, braiding him, washing his saddle pads at home in your dryer, sending in entries, preparing him for the ring, driving the trailer to the shows.  I always took care of my own horse when I was competing and it was the best.  That’s how I learned the most about horsemanship.  When I was 17 or 18, I’d load up the trailer and go off to an away show by myself for a week.  I’d try to stable near my trainer, but I wasn’t technically “with" their barn.  It was hard work and a lot of responsibility, but there is nothing better than being solely in charge of your own horse’s care.  I know not everyone can do their own work, but I think everyone should have had to do it in their riding career at some point.  And not just for one show, but for a year or something.  There is so much more to competing than what you do in the saddle.

List 10 things that your fans may not know about you…
1. I am addicted to chai tea.

2. I evented my amateur-owner jumper a few times and I loved it!

3. I once took a course on animal communication, i.e. talking to animals through your thoughts.

4. I love chocolate, but I don’t like chocolate cake (or any cake for that matter, except ice cream cake.)

5. I used to earn extra money at shows when I was a junior by braiding.  I really love to braid.

6. I like to try to stop and let people pull out when I’m driving.  It’s a small way you can make people happier and spread goodwill!

7. I love Pintos.

8. I knew I wanted to be a judge since I was twelve.

9. A few years ago I had brain surgery to repair an aneurysm.  Not fun.

10. The round of my life was a tie between having four-faults in the amateur-owner jumper classic at
Devon with my OTTB, Courtside, and my first round at the Medal Finals.

Connect with Kim…

Kim at the Talent Search Finals


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