Friday, June 10, 2016

Fantasy Horses

I'm deep into my busiest work period of a two year cycle, and so I've given Tristan this week, and probably next week, off. He worked his ass off for me for the three weeks previous to the show, and in a hundred little ways I could tell that he is no longer as tolerant of that kind of ramping up of work as he used to be. So he gets some well-deserved time to be a horse. Because two Training tests at a schooling show is basically his equivalent of a long format four star.

In the meantime, I'm taking care of loads of little domestic things and indulging in comfort activities. Eating brownies and taking the intern out for margaritas are among my less productive of those.

More productive is comfort reading. And when I need comfort reading, I turn to one author: Mercedes Lackey.

Now, I'm not going to claim Lackey is an especially gifted author. She has a knack for worldbuilding, a couple of clever ideas, and her writing output is frankly inhuman. That's...kind of it. Which means that every time I am in need of comfort reading there are a half dozen new books of hers to indulge in. I think of her as my literary equivalent to boxed mac'n'cheese. Not really good for you, not tolerable as a consistent diet, but when I am need of an hour of sheer indulgence, I will eat an entire box.

Lackey's main world is Valdemar, in which there are these divine beings called Companions, who take the form of pure white horses with blue eyes. Companions choose special people to be Heralds, and then form a quasi-military, quasi-judicial corps that serves the crown.

So: magical telepathic white horses who choose the very best, most worthy people and then bond with them for life?


Which brings me to my Friday question. Are you drawn to fantasy horses? Horses are a feature of almost every single book or movie with an even slightly magical or out of the ordinary bent. Sometimes they're the core driving force behind the plot, as they are in Valdemar. Sometimes they're just ancillary characters.

Are there any that stick out to you? Any of your favorites? Or do fantasy horses that fly, talk, perform magic, or otherwise exceed the capacity of normal horses not interest you?


  1. OMG yesssss to the Valedmar books!! I read basically all of them last year and like Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, re-reading them is like wrapping myself in a favorite, comfortable blanket. Magical talking animals are the best.

  2. I love fantasy! Definitely my go-to genera when I want to relax. I never read any by Lackey, but I did love the Pern books, as well as the Jane Yolen series about dragons. My favorite guilty pleasure is Tamora Pierce's Immortals series. I discovered them as a child and have been guilty of re-reading the series in a time of crisis. They definitely have talking animals and a mountain pony named Cloud is featured prominently. :)

  3. I second the Immortals series. I also enjoyed The Scorpio Races. Sometimes I prefer a touch of the fantastic in literary horse characters because otherwise I can't keep myself from criticizing the author's knowledge of equine behavior the whole time instead of just enjoying the book (...because I'm SUCH an expert!! bahahaha).

  4. Ashke's name is taken from the Last Herald Mage books.

  5. I still love best the books Robin McKinley wrote when she was riding horses, and yearning to ride horses: Beauty, The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown. The horses are clearly horses, but the riding is the level I yearn for (and while not impossible, certainly not easily reachable)(maybe that is the fantasy for me? of riding like that?), and the horses are kinder, and more tolerant maybe? or more noble... I just cannot get over them. I keep thinking about trying to ride without tack, and get quivery, but the idea of that perfect union just catches me every single time.

  6. Caitlin Brennan (nom de plume for Judith Tarr): The WhiteMagic Trilogy -- The Mountain's Call, Song of Unmaking and Shattered Dance - Lippizans as gods. :D House of the Star is the YA entry under this nom de plume and is also lovely with a different set of Horse Deities.

  7. First, this line "Because two Training tests at a schooling show is basically his equivalent of a long format four star." I could insert myself into this idea. I didn't LOL, but I did more of a whisper giggle when I read that. My last show was crossrails 2x around (2 classes) and you would have thought I was riding at Rio because of my nerves and then I was absolutely tuckered out.

    Next, I'm not really a big fantasy reader except for A Wrinkle in Time and the Narnia books. I liked Fledge in The Magician's Nephew. I just found out Elisa Wallace's Mustang Fledge was named after him!!!


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