Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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with her dog Sookie in Tennessee, USA, Penny interviews about her riding,
writing, and much more…
When was your first encounter with a horse?
sister and her husband lived on his family’s farm and there was a pony all the kids
rode. They used the pony in 4-H shows
and the local pony club mostly barrel racing.
The barrels were set up in a field and we would ride to the starting line
and the pony knew exactly what to do without any encouragement from us. She would take off and go through the barrel
pattern and as soon as she rounded the last barrel she would go into a mad dash
toward the finish line. I had no
problems staying in the saddle and felt no fear whatsoever – oh, the joy of
What horses do you currently stable and what are their
a horse slut so I don’t have my own horse but I have had some favorites. I’ve ridden a Tennessee Walking Horse named
Spur at Southeast Pack Trips the last few times I’ve been and I really enjoy
him. He’s good natured, smart, steady
and has no problem moving out into that walking-on-a-cloud gait that the horses
are known for. We’re a great match
because we both like to move with a little speed. My all-time favorite horse was Buddy, another
TN Walking Horse that was owned by a friend.
We bonded the first time we met and he was the only horse that would
always come to us when we went to the pasture to bring them in. He would lay his head on my shoulder and
follow me like a puppy. I would canter him
across a field and all I had to do to turn him was tighten my little finger and
he knew exactly what I wanted.
Congratulations on your novel Horse Sluts!
you and I hope you enjoyed it. We started
it more for our own entertainment than for the public but as we met more women
who ride and shared their horse experiences with us, it soon became clear that
we needed to put this out there as a way for all horse women to connect. We’ve met wonderful people who we now
consider friends through the book and hope it will continue.
Candace, your co-author, has already interviewed about Horse Sluts, but your viewpoint is
important, too! What is the premise for your book and who is your niche
book is about our experiences as two 40-something women who decide we want to
learn to ride. We find out that our
minds may still be in our 20’s but our bodies definitely aren’t. Fear raises its ugly head as we realize the
repercussions of a fall or injury and suddenly helmets are a great idea – no,
they’re mandatory! Candace and I are the
same in that we love to learn new things and to track our progress as our
skills advance. If you could learn to
ride from a book, we would be national champions but we took what we learned
from books and applied it to our riding.
For me, it’s a reminder that life is an adventure and age is no reason to
stop doing the things you love or to start learning new things. Our niche audience is middle-aged women who
ride, have always wanted to ride, have always wanted to get back into riding or
have always wanted to do anything they’ve never had the courage or the time to
pursue. It’s also for people who enjoy
reading about other’s adventures and the feelings and emotions that come up
when on this journey. One of the most
important things when we were writing was that we were brutally real and
honest. I think that has helped us
connect with other women because having fun comes before being perfect. It doesn’t matter if you do something
perfectly – just that you do it!
How did you and Candace connect?
met through a mutual friend when Candace was still living in California and hit
it off immediately. Our friend hosted a
party in Tennessee and we had come up with our first joint venture within an
hour of meeting. Another friend had
spent the previous weekend at her husband’s fishing camp watching an hour long video
about skeet shooting because she was trying to show some interest in his hobbies. We decided to develop a line of eye cream
specifically for the woman skeet shooter since they have to close one eye and
focus and there are bound to be additional wrinkles. We were going to call it Skeet Cream and sell
it in a double pump action dispenser. As
we howled with laughter, some joined in and some looked at us like they weren’t
quite sure if we should be committed. I guess
you already know the ones we’re still friends with?
Where are the best riding trails in Tennessee?
the book I say that if I could only ride one place for the rest of my life, it
would be at Big South Fork. There are so
many trails with terrain that can be flat where you can move with speed to some
serious climbs. It’s incredibly
beautiful and mostly heavy forest with wild rhododendron that blooms in the spring. You can ride all day and only see one or two
other people. It’s truly a slice of
heaven on earth.
Penny on Cheyenne at Big South Fork
Describe a day in the life of Penny Langley…
I work full time as mortgage operations manager for a bank, I get up and go
through the house like my hair is on fire trying to get to work on time. I’m not a morning person. I have a commute of about an hour so I listen
to books on tape as I drive and then dive into work. I check Facebook and e-mail during lunch to
see what’s happening and also post on our Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I often work late but continue to do social
media marketing once I get home.
What are you currently writing?
not currently writing anything because I’m more of a storyteller than a
writer. I’m a traditional rug hooker
and fiber artist and am currently working on one of my all-time favorite hooked
rugs. My goal is to finish this one (a
lion) and then start a project of hooking various horses and western-themed
rugs. I hooked one of cowboy boots
several years ago and sold it through a ranch and lodgings specialty store in
Los Angeles. I’ve sold several others in
Middle TN and want to do more original designs. I do have a plan to eventually
write a trail snacks and cocktails book.
I love to read about food and come up with new cocktail recipes (former
bartender) and specialize in the quick and easy when it comes to food. A great cocktail and snacks is the perfect
way to end the day after a great ride, followed by a nice but easy dinner. I was diagnosed as a diabetic last year so I want
to provide some trail snacks that will meet the needs of diabetics when they’re
out on the trail miles away from a store, house, etc. in case there is a drop
in blood sugar.
What are you currently reading?
read everything but can never remember titles.
I’m finishing up a book about a man who saved a mustang captured by the Bureau
of Land Management. I’m also reading one
about matching people and horses up through personality types such as the
Briggs Myers test for horses and people.
I always have several fictions going as well as catching up on the
latest Vanity Fair – love their
articles. Another book I’m reading is Insight Mediation since getting into
meditation is on my list of things to do.
With working full-time and promoting the book as well as everything else
in my life, I think meditation will bring me some of the peace I find when on
Do you have advice for novice riders and those looking to
purchase their first horse?
would suggest lessons for anyone who wants to take up horseback riding as well
as always wearing a helmet. The lessons
you learn about safety around a horse are well worth the cost of lessons and
you can then move on to riding skills.
Another thing I would say is that not every trainer is right for every
student and it’s important to find someone who works well with you and your
style of learning. People learn
differently and if your trainer isn’t able to teach in a style that works for
you, frustration will soon set in and may sour you on riding.
thing I’ve found is that just because someone has horses or says they’ve been
riding a long time, it doesn’t’ always mean they know best. We’ve been in some interesting and unsafe
situations around people who were supposed to be experts. If your gut instinct is telling you that
something isn’t a good idea, listen to it.
As far as buying that first horse, I would consult that wonderful
trainer you’ve found who knows your personality and your riding level and have
them check the horse for temperament and health problems.
Penny and Candace
What does horsemanship mean to you?
is the relationship established between a human and a horse with mutual respect
and trust. It’s a partnership with the
human being a kind and loving leader.