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Follow my journey to bring my novel to life in 2017
1895 - In the Spring I had saved enough money to begin to enjoy myself. On a street in Winnipeg I spotted a for sale sign on a horse, a beautiful mare. I couldn’t care for a horse while homesteading, but now that I was living in the city and my employer had the biggest stables in town, I could afford this indulgence. And what an indulgence she was. This mare was well cared for with a gleaming coat and braided mane. I looked her over and found no flaw or blemish. In fact, she seemed to like me complying with my inspection even nuzzling her nose against me when I approached. Amazingly the price was right and I purchased her. The owner even threw in the saddle. I triumphantly jumped up on the horse only to come crashing to the ground on the other side. It had been months since I had ridden. Perhaps I was rusty. She nuzzled me again as if to apologize. I tried again only this time slower. I walked back around to her left side and slowly lifted myself up. As if by reflex, she stepped her hind legs to the left. Fully ready for something like this, her actions actually aided my mount and I took my place firmly in the saddle. The mare began bucking and quickly threw me to the ground. She walked over and nuzzled me almost whispering “I’m sorry” in my ear. I got up and dusted myself off. She nuzzled the pocket of my coat and I realized something. She wasn’t nuzzling me – she wanted something. She had a tell! The stable boys played a lot of cards and they showed me that everyone has a tell, an action that betrays a secret, a bluff. The way you hold your cards, tapping your fingers, even coughing could be a dead giveaway if the other players have identified your tell. In this case I was convinced there was nothing wrong with this mare. Her nuzzling was her tell that she must be a trick horse and all I needed to do was learn her tricks. The nuzzling was a sign she needed to receive something before she would permit a rider, any rider, even a rider as skilled as I was. But what did I need to give her to unlock her, so to speak. An apple? It would have been pretty hard to carry around a lot of apples in your pockets to unlock your horse all day. Sugar cubes! Horses love sugar cubes. I left my new horse – obviously she wasn’t going anywhere – and grabbed a handful of sugar cubes from a nearby restaurant. I approached her, she nuzzled me, I fed her a sugar cube and climbed into the saddle. I counted to ten and with skilled movement we rode off together. This horse was the greatest thing I ever owned and I held no ill will towards the salesman, who, according to the scam, was hiding in the shadows waiting to jump out and purchase the unruly horse back for half the price.