Saturday, December 14, 2013

Featured Author: Christine Meunier

Christine Meunier is treating us to excerpts from two of her books today. New Beginnings is book 1 in the Free Rein series for pre-teens, and In Pursuit of a Horse is book 2. And check out my interview with Christine from when she was here in June to talk about her book, Horse Country--A World of Horses.

Book 1: 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.

Excerpt from New Beginnings


Jacqui hurriedly finished her breakfast, keen to see all of the property that morning.  It was half past eight already and her mother had told her that rain was forecast for the afternoon – she needed to get moving!

Pulling on a jacket and a pair of gumboots she stepped off the front porch, running to the back of the house.  Here were the two paddocks she’d looked out at through her bedroom window.  She unlocked the large gate into the first paddock, being sure to lock it after her in spite of there being no horses on the property.

Jacqui dodged puddles as she walked the perimeter of the paddock, looking at the fences.  She patted the pen and paper in her jacket pocket, making sure that they were where she’d put them.  The fencing looked old but ok to her, but she wasn’t sure what horse fencing should look like.  She made a note to ask her mother if she knew.

Jacqui made it to the end of the first paddock and decided to go through the gate into the second.  She wanted to turn right and continue around the perimeter of this first paddock she’d entered, but to the left of the next paddock in front of her it looked like there was an arena of sorts and a few figures riding horses.

Curious, she climbed over a small hill that was made up of a large concrete pipe covered over with soil.  Water trickled through the pipe and into a large ditch that lined the paddock fence.  Jacqui made a note on her piece of paper to tell her mum about it later.
She left the gate open to this second paddock, wanting to get closer to the arena quickly.  She grinned as she watched three people riding their horses around an arena at the trot, being instructed by another figure standing in the middle of them.

A horse riding school?  We live next to a horse riding school!

Jacqui ran closer, standing at the fence line to watch the three moving across the middle of the arena and then changing direction.

“Don’t forget to change your diagonal as you change direction!” their instructor called out, correcting one rider.

Jacqui looked at the three horses, two brown in colour and one a reddish colour.  This she knew to be chestnut because of her mother’s gift of a horse book a year ago.  The horses looked so lovely to Jacqui that she lost track of time watching them.  She sighed when the lesson seemed to come to an end, the instructor letting the group of three out of the arena where they disappeared from view.

Jacqui watched for awhile longer but it seemed that no one else was coming to ride in the arena for her to watch.  Shrugging her shoulders she continued on down the fence line, knowing that this paddock was the end of their property in one direction.

New Beginnings is the first book in the Free Rein Series.  For purchase details and updates on the series, visit www.freereinseries.com. The books can be ordered directly from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/christinemeunier

Book 2: 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 brining 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.


Excerpt from In Pursuit of a Horse

“So!  Who’s ready to meet the horses?” Jan asked in a businesslike manner.

Three excited girls exclaimed yes very quickly.  Jan laughed and led the way to one of her closer paddocks.  The four stood at the gate as she pointed out the four ponies that lived here.  Jan described their colours and markings first so that the girls knew which she was talking about.  Then she detailed their personalities, ages and gender.

Jacqui loved that she knew each one individually and was able to provide so much information about them.  She decided she wanted to be able to do this with any horses that were agisted at their property Genesis.

The group moved on to the next paddock as Jan led the way.  This one housed six ponies and again the girls were introduced to each one.

Jan also showed the girls the two stallions that she had on the property and used to breed her mares to each year.  She explained that she kept her broodmares – the ones she used for breeding – separate from the riding ponies that she introduced to saddle and then sold on to other people.

Jacqui loved the set up of the whole property and excitedly talked about this with Hannah and Geordie that night as they lay in bed.  Hannah knew her aunt’s place well but it had been a little while since she had visited and she was just as excited about this adventure as her two friends were.

They discussed in the dark of their room that night which ponies they would try out first.  Jacqui had a dream of owning a little grey pony so she’d chosen one of the two grey horses to ride first.

Geordie had chosen a little chestnut mare that reminded her of the horse she rode at the East Riding School where she had lessons.  Hannah hadn’t minded which horse she rode first, so had asked her aunt if she could recommend one.

Jan had pointed out that the six horses in the second paddock she’d shown to them were all between the ages of six and ten and that they were all fairly quiet.  She said she’d be happy with the girls riding any.  She’d obliged Hannah however, and pointed out a little bay pony for her to try first.

Excited about their ride the next morning, the three fell asleep talking of all the ponies they’d been introduced to that afternoon.  Jacqui managed to thank God for this time with her friends and riding horses before she succumbed to slumber.

In Pursuit of a Horse is the second book in the Free Rein Series. For purchase details and updates on the series, visit www.freereinseries.com. The books can be ordered directly from http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/christinemeunier.


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.


Christine has worked at numerous thoroughbred studs in Australia as well as overseas in Ireland for a breeding season.
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.
Particularly passionate about the world of breeding horses, she teaches equine studies focused on breeding, at a TAFE, Victoria, Australia.

Christine writes a blog about equine education which you can view at equus-blog.
You can also check out her debut novel which was released in July 2013 at horsecountrybook.com and the Facebook page for Horse Country, or visit the Free Rein series on Facebook.

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