Monday, October 3, 2011

The Backstory of the Quincy the Horse Books

The real Quincy is now 20 years old and has many accomplishments under his belt. He is an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy horse and the protagonist of the Quincy the Horse Books; but to his family, he will always be known as “Little Quince.” Quincy is the little guy in our barn. His neighbors are Silver, an Irish sport horse who is the big guy, and Buck, a tall, rangy gray who is the head guy. I am afraid he does not get much chance for input. On the whole he usually has to go along with whatever his big brothers want.
Quincy has always been a beautiful sight with his shiny copper coat, a white blaze and soft brown eyes. He and I have always had a special bond. The events that inspired the Quincy the Horse Books happened many years ago when Quincy came to live with me. I brought him from New York, where I had lived for many years, to New Mexico. I am sure readers would enjoy knowing more about our real life adventures.
I bought Quincy because my old Quarter horse, Beaujolais, needed a partner at our new home in New Mexico. I planned to have a small horse barn on my property rather than stabling my horses in a boarding facility. Beau and Quincy hit it off from day one. Quincy looked up to Beau and wanted to be with him and Beau clearly enjoyed having Quincy as a friend.
Soon after our arrival to New Mexico, I took Quincy on our first trail ride. I quickly discovered that trails in the West were different than the manicured parks and wooded lanes of the Eastern U. S. There are wide vistas in every direction and many horses react to this by wanting to move out. When they are held back, it is not unheard of for them to buck. Sorry to say that on that first ride, I ended up on the ground. Unfortunately that was not the last time; it was more of a regular occurrence than I would like to remember.
Readers will not be surprised to hear that one of my first ideas for a story was a plot where Quincy wants more than anything to be a calm trail horse, but his Big Problem is that he has an irresistible impulse to buck. I could see humor in that story line. Maybe I wanted to laugh rather than cry!
The next real thing that happened was not so funny. Quincy got sick. He was diagnosed with what was then a little known and poorly understood disease called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or EPM. For two years he struggled with repeated outbreaks, experiencing pain and instability and requiring toxic medications. Those were sad and scary times.
Luckily, better medications were forthcoming and Quincy responded well to them. Quincy and I then spent many hours in the round pen during his rehabilitation. It was standing in the round pen day after day feeling grateful that he had made it through, when I first thought of writing a book about his life. As I said earlier, there were various ideas that came to mind. In addition to the bucking bronco scenario, I thought of a book called Quincy in the Round Pen that would have recounted his illness and recovery.
In the end, I settled on a more gentle tone about his every day adventures. I also decided to highlight his personality and loving bonds to me and his best friend, Beau. I hoped that children would relate to his day to day challenges and the way he tried to find answers to his problems. I especially hoped that they would enjoy being part of Quincy’s world and learning the joys of life with horses.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting Camille Matthews and sharing about her wonderful Quincy the Horse book series. These are wonderful picture books for young readers.