Donna Everhart

First Sentence Friday! CHAPTER ELEVEN

I’ve never owned a horse, but I’ve got friends who have them, and therefore, I’ve ridden a few.  Here are a couple little stories about my experiences on horseback – which really have nothing to do with BITTERSWEET except for using the experience when writing about how it feels to have your legs draped down the sides of an animal of this size.

Story One:  When I was about eighteen, I recall “riding” a smallish horse, maybe it was a pony, I don’t remember, either way, I walked away unscathed after he sort of…put me in my place.  Everyone else had already been riding him up and down this dirt road non-stop.  When it was finally my turn, I hesitantly climbed on his poor tired little back, and before I could get my feet into the stirrups, he suddenly took off like a ball shot out of a cannon.  Maybe he could sense my sympathy.  Maybe he could tell I was timid, and hesitant.  Either way, all I could do was grip his mane as he flew across a corn field, went down into a ditch, up the other side, then crossed the road (I don’t think he looked both ways either), then headed down the driveway of his owner, cutting as close to the side of a shed as he could while seeming to try and scrub me off his back.  He headed straight for the barn and my head barely missed an electrical wire running from the corner roof of that barn to a post in the ground.  That hadn’t worked to his satisfaction in dumping me, so he came to a violent stop, thereby efficiently depositing me on my fanny at his feet.  He stomped twice and went off to eat some hay.  Harrumph.

Story Two:  I have a good friend who’s been around horses all her life and owns a few of them.  I used to go visit her on Saturday’s or Sunday’s before I was married and she’d saddle up a couple and we’d go trail riding.  I loved it.  She’d always put me on an old mare named Ruby.  I loved riding Ruby bareback sometimes, but mostly it was on a saddle and we’d meander along, me, Ruby, my friend and whatever other horse she had, winding and weaving along the trails near her house in Orange County.  Or maybe it was Alamance County.  Anyway, one summer’s day I showed up for a trail ride.  It was rather warm, and while the horses tails flicked flies,and we swatted at mosquitoes, gnats and noseeums, we headed to a spot where there was a stream.  Well, I admit, I didn’t know much about horse behavior, but when Ruby’s front legs seemed to drop quick once we’d entered the stream, I was worried enough to bring it to my friend’s attention.  I was worried she’d somehow got caught up in the rocks.

I said, “Hey!  I think Ruby’s stuck!”

My friend had just reached the other side, and she looked over her shoulder, and said, “Oh no!  Get off!  Hurry, get off!  Get off! Get off her!

I don’t know how I untangled my feet from those stirrups so quick, but I sort of half fell, half rolled off as Ruby kept on going down…and I found out later my friend had either saved my life – or prevented me for having some really serious injuries.  Ruby was trying to roll on her back in this stream – with me still in the saddle.  Picture that.  Better yet, don’t.

Either way, experiences like this help me to think how to write even the simplest of sentences – because I remember how it felt to sit on a ***horse.



My legs curved around the warm, barreled rib cage of Pete as I headed northwest.

(***I should mention, Pete is a mule.  🙂 )


A Publishers Lunch BUZZ BOOK Fall/Winter 2017, and a SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) Trio Pick for 2018, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET releases December 26th, 2017.  

***I’m using #FirstSentenceFridays on Twitter and tagging @Kensington Publishing Corporation.  Follow along and tweet out/share if you’d like!***








4 thoughts on “First Sentence Friday! CHAPTER ELEVEN”

  1. I was glued to the computer screen as I read about your horseback riding experiences, Donna! And although I had good reason to believe they left you unscratched (at least in the long run), I was still worried about your well-being until the end.

    That’s why I admire your writing so much!

    Wonderful post and First Sentence Friday! I learn so much from you… <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi Lilac! I was actually more scared on that little pony than I was on Ruby – I didn’t know what she was doing! And if you can glean anything from the way I do these posts, then I’m happy! I hope you had a wonderful weekend…there’s some stuff going on I’ll share eventually, but that’s why my reply was late! <3 <3 <3

    1. As a little girl, I’d always wanted a horse…never got one, so I think when I got older, I was trying to make up lost time by riding every one I came in contact with. They are wonderful, marvelous creatures…

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