The Saturday Spectacular
I'm delighted Christine Meunier is here with us again, you can see her previous posts by clicking here:
Today I'm featuring:
Book 1 of the Free Rein series: New Beginnings
A job transfer for Jacqui King’s father means that the 10 year old and her family have moved interstate. Jacqui is excited that the move has allowed her family to take up a lease on a large property.
Since she could remember, Jacqui King has had a love for horses. Now with the family’s move she wonders if her dream to learn to horse ride could come true. Jacqui’s mum Kate plans to turn the property into a place where they can offer horse agistment, only concreting Jacqui’s desire to have a horse of her own.
On a property titled Genesis, it does indeed seem that the new beginnings for the King family are looking promising.
Book 2 of the Free Rein series: In Pursuit of a Horse
Jacqui King has settled in well at her family’s new property Genesis. She has even made some horsey friends.
Jacqui’s two close friends Hannah Johnston and Geordie Smith have been told by their parents that they are allowed to each get a pony. It so happens that Hannah has an Aunt Jan who breeds and trains ponies for a living.
An invitation is extended to the girls to come to Jan’s place for a short stay to ride her ponies and find two to buy. Jacqui is thrilled at the idea of learning to ride better.
Even more exciting is the fact that at the end of their stay, her two close friends will be bringing their ponies back to agist at Genesis. Even if she isn’t getting her own pony, Jacqui is delighted for her friends and eager to help them each find their perfect first pony.
About the author
Christine Meunier considers herself introduced to the wonderful world of horses at the late age of 13 when her parents agreed to lease a horse for her. She started experiencing horses via books from a young age and continues to do so, but recognises that horses cannot be learnt solely from books.
She has been studying horses from age 16, starting with the Certificate II in Horse Studies and is currently undertaking her Bachelor of Equine Science via distance education.
She has worked at numerous Thoroughbred Studs in North East Victoria before following her passion for breeding horses over to the Irish National Stud in Kildare. She then gained experience in a couple of Melbourne based horse riding schools, instructing at a basic level before heading off overseas again, this time to South Africa to spend hours in the saddle of endurance and trail horses on the Wild Coast.
Keen to combine her love of horses with her faith, she has created the Free Rein series, a horse series for pre-teens.
An excerpt from ‘New Beginnings’, book 1 of the Free Rein series:
Jacqui King let her eyes follow the flight path of a large pelican as it soared above their car, seemingly oblivious to the vehicles below it. She smiled at the sight. The ten year old was excited. This was dampened only as her older brother once again spoke negatively about their current situation.
“I don’t understand why we had to move from the country in one state just so that we could spend time in the country in another state. Seriously dad, couldn’t you have not accepted the transfer at work?” Ross King asked for what felt like the millionth time to Jacqui.
The family of four had been on the road for around 10 hours, travelling interstate to their new home.
Jacqui’s father had been offered a position at work that had excited both of her parents. Unfortunately it had meant moving interstate halfway through the year and leaving behind many family members and friends.
Jacqui’s apprehension had been made smaller when her mother had talked of the 100 acre property that they would be leasing in Victoria. Her excitement had grown further still when she was told that the property used to be set up for agistment and it was Kate’s hope – Jacqui’s mother – that this would be a future possibility for the whole family. After all, a large property would be expensive and needed justification by earning its keep, Jacqui had been told.
From a young age Jacqui had dreamt of horses. Whilst living in the country in South Australia with her family, she had had opportunities to be led on friends’ ponies but that was all. It seemed that only now would Jacqui be able to pursue her ultimate dream of having her own horse – and on their property!
Tuning out her brother’s ongoing list of complaints about their move, Jacqui took in the houses and land that they drove past, hoping theirs looked as wonderful. Large brick homes stood behind well manicured green lawns, roses lining driveways in full bloom. It looks so wonderful.
Half an hour later the Kings made their way down a dead end street, Kate excitedly telling Jacqui that their property was at the end of this road. Jacqui sat up taller in the back seat, eager to see their property as soon as she could. She chanced a glance in her brother’s direction, noting sadly that he had his eyes closed and the earphones of his ipod in place.
“Here we are!” Kate breathed out excitedly, opening her door as Tony put the car into park.
Accepting a key that her husband handed her, Kate made her way quickly to the gate that was pulled shut over the driveway, a large padlock keeping it closed. An old wooden sign half hung from the gate, the name of the property on it in faded white paint. Genesis. Jacqui smiled as it seemed that her mother almost skipped in her excitement.
The padlock was unlocked quickly and Kate got back into the car. Tony drove down the curved driveway, heading for where he knew the house was.
Jacqui didn’t notice the lack of carefully manicured lawns or roses lining the drive in bloom. She was too in awe of the large open paddocks that seemed to go on and on. Just how big is 100 acres? She grinned, already picturing herself racing across them on a little grey pony. This is going to be great!
Ross awoke in time to race his sister into the house, claiming the largest of the three available bedrooms for either of them. Kate and Tony had taken the main bedroom close to the front door. Jacqui chose the smallest of the three rooms left, concluding that a smaller space of her own meant less she would have to keep clean.
She placed her suitcase on the bed that had already been made up by their mother a few days prior.
Once things had been confirmed with Tony’s job and then with this property, Kate had flown over to Victoria for a day to clean up the dusty old house. She’d also made an extra effort to make the bedrooms ready for her two children. Jacqui hadn’t liked her mother being away for a night but that was over and done with now.
She opened up the curtains that covered the one window in her room and looked out over two large paddocks that were behind the house. This place really is huge! Glancing back at her bed, Jacqui grinned.
She ran to the end of it and sat back to face the window, swinging her legs happily. And I can see right out of the window onto paddocks that will have horses in them – all from my bed!
As far as the ten year old was concerned at this very moment, things were perfect.
An excerpt from ‘In Pursuit of a Horse’, book 2 of the Free Rein series:
Jacqui grinned as she trotted along on the little grey pony Prince that Jan had helped to saddle up for her that morning. She was riding in a smaller paddock with Geordie and Hannah also trotting on their ponies. Jan stood in the middle, watching the three.
“Now I know that I said the main points to focus on whilst here are safety and fun, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop learning. In fact, learning is fun, especially when it’s about horses! So girls, do you each know about trotting diagonals?” she questioned, gaining a nod from the three.
Jacqui suddenly thought that she was glad Kara had taught her what they were and explained why it was important to rise to the pattern of a particular foreleg.
“Great! Now I want you to all look down at the outside front leg of your horse. Are you moving in time with it?”
Jacqui realised she wasn’t and so sat two beats of the trot before she started rising again. This changed her diagonal so that she was rising and falling with the outside leg.
“Good job, Jacqui! Now all three of you are on the correct diagonal.”
Jan encouraged the three girls to change direction and their trotting diagonal, one at a time. She reminded them about the importance of riding at a safe distance from each other, pointing out that Geordie and Hannah’s two ponies sometimes didn’t get along.
Geordie and Hannah wanted to jump, expressing this to Jan. With a smile she told them that there would be plenty of time for that in a few days. She wanted them to get to know her ponies first – and for the ponies to get to know the girls! Jacqui liked this idea. She’d done a tiny bit of jumping on Banjo with Kara, but the idea of jumping on a horse she’d only ridden once seemed a bit scary to her.
I hope you've enjoyed today's post, and I'll be back early next week.
Have a fabulous weekend and don't forget that you can buy these gorgeous books direct from Christine, see the link above and I'm sure she'd sign them for you too.