I am currently working on a series of six books for Love Inspired and I wanted the main connection to be a rodeo that the community puts on each year. Not every story is about the rodeo per se, but I wanted characters who were, in some way, connected to it. So I have an organizer of the rodeo in the first book, a vet and horse trainer in the second book, an engineer who comes to inspect the arena where the rodeo will be held in the third book. But I was a bit stuck for occupations and work for my fourth, fifth and sixth book.
For the past three years my husband and I have attended The Mane Event, a horse show and trade show and expo. Four days of clinicians and information.
What a perfect opportunity to research and to see if I could come up with some more ideas! I signed us up and we went.
I sat in on numerous horse training sessions. The best ones were the ongoing Trainer’s Challenge. Four well-known professional horse trainers compete throughout the four day event. Each of them start with a completely green horse and by the end of the fourth day they have to be able to ride the horse through a series of challenges and onto a horse trailer.
It’s fascinating to watch how each of them have their own technique. Some of them had easier horses than others but each found a way to work with their animal. It was so interesting and I was scribbling notes like a banshee!
The horse that the above trainer is working with has never been saddled or handled. So the fact that he is on it is pretty amazing.
Another couple of clinics I sat in on were with Molly Powell a well-known barrel racer and Pat Parelli who is the Elvis of Horse Training.
My head was overwhelmed by all the information I learned and while I had some of the basics of horse training down before we went, I learned so much more about getting a horse to soften, pressure and release, tricks to get horses to listen, working with kids and horses, barrel racing techniques, bits to use…..
I also learned what I don’t know and hopefully will be able to do more research as I go along.
But the best part of research is so often I end up getting ideas for scenes and situations, conflicts and problems I could never have found out on my own. I learned the ‘lingo’. Some of this research might never end up in the book but knowing that I have them available always helps me right a scene and a character with more authenticity.
I walked through the trade show and chatted with some of the people there about nutrition, saddles, chaps, bridles, and cowboy hats.
I saw amazing artisans, and craftmanship. This horse made of horseshoes was one example.
It was a wonderful weekend. Best of all I connected with a cousin who does drill team riding, something the heroine in my sixth book is involved in. So I have someone on the ‘inside’ who can help me out when it comes to researching that book.
I love research trips and when I can go with my husband who is even more interested than I am, well, that’s even better.
Until this series of books come out I have a book out in July. Another cowboy! I like this guy. He’s a straight forward guy who just wants to take care of his brother. But the heroine is going to create a huge problem for him in many ways. But he’s very strong. I mean, look at him packing around that straw bale!
Check out Trusting the Cowboy, out this July. Perfect summer reading.
Sounds interesting:) I have never thought about how much research goes into writing a work of fiction, but it makes sense that if you want a scene/story line to feel real, then you need to know what you are writing about. Thanks for giving an insight into the work involved in creating a story- fun work!!
Just saw the time stamp on my comment- 2am! Hehe, it is actually 7pm here, time zones get confusing!
Thanks for stopping Sorry about the late reply. Just got back from another research trip. My mind is brimming with stories! I do love research!
Jill Weatherholt says
It sounds as though the trade show and expo provided you with a great deal of information, Carolyne. And you seemed to fit right in with your cowboy hat…you look so cute! Great cover for Trusting the Cowboy!
Thanks Jill! It was a lot of fun and my mind is full – so is my scribbler! I’m looking forward to incorporating the research into my books.
Dear Jill, sorry I didn’t respond sooner – I was gone on yet another research trip! Thanks for your comment! And yes I love the cover for Trusting the Cowboy! Take care.
Elizabeth Maddrey says
How fun. I have a friend who used to be a barrel racer–it’s fun to listen to her talk about it.
Hey Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by. Sorry about the late reply, like I said I just got back from another research trip. I’m sure your friend has some interesting stories! I wouldn’t mind hearing some of them. Research, you know!
Research sounds like the best part of the job to let creativity flow. I’m looking forward to see the final product.
Thanks Priscila. Research definitely helps creativity. I often get lots of ideas on story lines that I would never have thought of on my own.
Sounds good, I actually remember watching a movie or show that had those kinds of trainers. I can not remember what I saw it from though. Another professional tied to the rodeo but not could be a paramedic since they always have an ambulance there for emergencies.
My husband started with watching videos on training techniques, then we attended these trainer challenges and he learned a whole lot more. It’s always so interesting to watch these guys in action.
Julianne Archer says
I appreciate the research that is done to help make the stories you write come more alive to me. I am looking forward to your new series :)
Thanks Julianne! I love doing research because of the ideas I get. And I love to give readers a glimpse into another lifestyle. Research helps me with that.
Thanks for sharing. Love doing research on places I have visited, books I read, people that intrigue me. So much to explore and so little time. As a reader, we appreciate a well researched story.
Hey Renate, glad you share the research bug. I find when I do these trips I come home and end up with even more questions I need to have answered!
Kimberly Rose Johnson says
Destination research is no much fun. Great cover!
Thanks Kimberly! I love the cover too! Just came back from another destination research trip. My head is so full of ideas!
Valerie Comer says
I could almost feel sorry for you having to do all that research. Almost! ;) Sounds like a fun few days.
Was great Val! And yes, sigh, research trips…..just came back from another one. Head is buzzing and iPad is chock full of new concepts and additions to current storylines!
I love doing research,I have been doing genealogy for over 20 years. I believe research is the thrill of the hunt.
That sounds so interesting, Linda! I have a cousin who does genealogy. She is always digging and looking for more. I think once you start, you’re never done!
Linda Herold says
Horses always remind me of my younger cousin! Her wedding was “horse” themed!! Your book looks good!
Sounds like a fun wedding! I indulged in a horse-themed wedding in a couple of books! That’s the fun of writing. I can give my characters stories I enjoy.
I’ve only been to one rodeo, but I’ve read several books with aspects of rodeo and cowboy life in them and I find it all very interesting. The Trainer’s Challenge sounds like a really neat thing to see. I would love to get to watch that and see how the different trainers work with the different horses and what kind of progress they can make. Thanks for sharing!
Rodeos are fun but can be a bit scary! I love the Trainer’s challenge because it’s so much about psychology. And it’s usually very peaceful and quiet as the trainer explains what he’s doing with the horse. I love watching them.
Merrillee Whren says
Research trips are so fun!
I agree, Merrillee! Just came back from another one!
I went from farm girl to city slicker for educational purposes, found my true love and so far have only managed one year in a country town of 1500. One of the best years ever. Country shows, car shows, beach, time with my family again.
Ah memories and dreams.
Hey Diane, you went the opposite of me. I went from city slicker to farm girl to follow my man! And yes, small town fairs and rodeos are a lot of fun. We attend ours every year.
Lee Tobin McClain says
Sounds like a fun trip! I’m headed off for one myself this weekend–SC low country. And WOW, I really like your Love Inspired cover!
Thanks, Lee! It was a great time. And yes, I agree with the cover! Love Inspired really does a great job with them. I’ve been so happy with all of my covers. Especially the cowboy ones!
I really like when authors share their research trips and what they learn to make their stories real. What an awesome time that would have been to watch the horse trainers and talk with various people in the trade show. Probably took more notes than you could ever use in a lifetime, but oh what an opportunity!! Did you find them to be open to your questions and friendly? I think it would be neat for an author to want to glean information out of me :-)
Your book sounds amazing! I’ll be on the lookout for it :-)
Hey Trixi! thanks for stopping by. And yes, I have so many notes I ended up with more story ideas! As for the trainers, they love talking to people and are usually available between their shows to chat! I didn’t always tell them I’m an author because then I have to tell them my name and then I usually see a blank look! But it is always so interesting to find out how they got where they did and get a few more insights into what they do.