I’m a horse nut. I was born that way. I’m tempted to end this bio at that, because when I look at myself, that’s pretty much what I see. My life has been a reflection of that passion. Oh … I also happen to be a dog lover of epic proportions.
I love how horses look, how they feel, how they smell and sound, I love every curve and angle of just about every horse I’ve ever met, be they stuffed, plastic, glass, on paper, on a stick, or the living breathing versions. I love all colors, sizes shapes, and breeds. I’ve spent incalculable hours drawing them, photographing them, and watching them. Horses are like home to me. Is it any wonder that I wrote a book about a horse?
I was born in 1955 in Washington State. At an early age I moved with my family to a small ranch in in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. My mother and father had horses, and they had dairy cattle and beef cattle. I grew up in a child’s paradise, surrounded by critters of all kinds, and a lot of rolling and wooded land. I spent the time that I wasn’t in school, exploring the woods and creeks, picking berries, plumbs and cherries (sometimes on horseback), riding my bike full tilt down the steep hills at the ranch, and I shared it all with the best big sister that a girl could have, and my best friend, who lived on the ranch too. Later our family divided and then multiplied and I gained a wonderful step-sister and step-brother.
My first few attempts at riding ended on the ground in a cloud of dust. Once I proved that I could actually stay on a horse, at about age 9, my mom sent me for riding lessons. It was the beginning of a life long love affair with American Saddlebred horses.
The beauty of matching a horse crazy child with a wonderful show horse has a lot to do with the life lessons learned. Poise under pressure, graciousness in success and defeat, and cooperation with my horse, were lessons that I carried into adulthood. I made lifetime friends, and remember every detail about every wonderful show horse that I had the privilege of knowing.
My professional life has taken me in several directions. For every high spot there were two low ones, but in hindsight I believe that those were experiences that were character building. At the time they didn’t seem quite so beneficial.
When I was a teenager I worked in a tack store, selling horse equipment, show clothing and western apparel. I skipped going to a university, much to my dad’s dismay, and went to business school in Santa Barbara, California instead. The most practical thing I learned there was typing. It turned out to be one of two, or possibly three wise decisions that I made as a young adult. I worked for a bank in California and then moved back to Oregon where I pursued a career in retail … my own retail store in a little Western theme town called Sisters, selling horse related gifts.
From there, I sold my store, moved back to the Portland area and enrolled in beauty school to become a hair dresser. Beauty school was like a return to kindergarten. After surviving 2,300 clock hours, I graduated with pretty decent skills. I went to work building my business and spent 8 years enjoying the company of many delightful and loyal clients. I kept a horse through most of that time but at age 40 I found myself living in the city, and for the first time since I could remember, horseless.
I decided that it was time to actually go to college (better late than never) so I enrolled in a local junior college while I was working in the salon. One of my first classes was a writing class. It reignited a flame of creativity that I recalled from my days in grade school and high school. I immersed myself in my classes and my work, leading a full and busy life. But I was missing my connection with the horses.
For my fortieth birthday I gave myself a present; a trip to see the World Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair with my mom. It is the showcase for the best American Saddlebred horses in the country. I stepped off of the plane in Louisville and found a second home. Dreams of the Bluegrass stayed with me as we made the trip back to Louisville three more times.
In 2000, an opportunity arose that seemed almost too good to be true. It was a job opening with the newly relocated, American Horse Shows Association. Their new address was at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Somewhat on a lark, I sent a resume, thinking that there must be hundreds of qualified candidates in Kentucky to fill the position. Two months later, after folding up my entire life and putting it on a moving van, I was living 2,500 miles from home, with my little Border Collie companion, Tag, and working for the organization. They paid me to go to horse shows!
Ten years later I am living in Scottsdale, Arizona, married to John, the love of my life, and enjoying every day to the fullest. Besides being my staunchest writing supporter, John is a horse trainer of considerable skill, having developed countless World Champion American Saddlebreds. We have Saddlebreds of our own, and two terrific dogs, a sweet and studious Border Collie named, Breezy, and a delightful adoptee of questionable genetic origin named, Ransom.
I love to read, write, draw, take pictures, ride horses, and walk with the dogs and my iPod. I love lakes, and the mountains, and the ocean, and the desert. And movies. Crazy about thrillers and mysteries.
I don’t like phony people, reality television, anything loud, and flying commercial airlines. I’m a night owl who functions on a daytime schedule. I’m an optimist by nature and my Meyers-Briggs test said I’m an INFJ … an introvert with a capital “I”.
“Silent Partner” is my first novel, and it was a blast to write. I’ve begun work on a second novel, which is currently nameless, but has many of the same characters.