MuseItUp Bookstore

MuseItUp Bookstore
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Lisa Blackwood's love for writing opened the door to another passion: Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue

Welcome to my blog Lisa! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your passion for writing and the work you do with Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue. This sounds like a wonderful organization. 
Life Events and Writing
First off, hello Jenna and thanks for having me on your blog today!
As writers, one thing we hear a lot (or get asked a lot) is how life influences our writing. Today I’m going to talk a bit about the reverse: how writing influenced my life, or at least changed it up a little—in a good way.
But I have to back track a little first—a few years actually. When I was first learning how to write, I submitted chapters of Betrayal’s Price to an online workshop where other writers could critique it and offer advice, suggestions, etc. One day, a fellow author mentioned that if my main character was supposed to be a ‘good’ horsewoman, could I please write the scenes that way. My horsey bits were off and she being a horseperson found it a tad annoying. She suggested I take some riding lessons or something along that line to help research the topic for my writing since my novel was a fantasy world with a medieval-type setting. And horses (or horse-like beings) were a main mode of transportation.
Like most girls, I always thought horses to be among the most beautiful of creatures, but never had the opportunity to interact with them. So in a nutshell, I knew zip about horses or horsemanship. So that crit partner’s advice sounded like a good idea. 
I didn’t run out and take riding lessons right away, but the idea was now on my to-do-one-day-in-the-not-so-distant-future list. It wasn’t too long after that suggestion when I first heard about a horse rescue run by a fellow Haldimand County employee, and thought, ‘why not volunteer and learn some horse stuff?’
The horse rescue is Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue ( ) and they use the Chris Irwin Methodology of training.  It’s a training method for people more than horses (Chris even calls his workshops Equine-Assisted Personal Development. LOL) Here’s a snippet from his website ( ) to better explain...
“...Chris’s work involves the horse directly as a teacher. A horse’s respect, trust, focus and willingness is only earned when a human learns to balance their predator-based behaviors with the horse’s prey-based behaviors. What a horse needs to see in the one it willingly elects as its leader, be it horse or human, is the same character traits we want to see in ourselves. Learning to be the better horse translates literally, not just metaphorically, into becoming a better person.”
When I sat in on my first clinic, there was talk of buttons (?) crossing lines (??), and where, when and how to aim your core (???) to move a horse without pulling on its lead rope or reins. Heck, you can do a lot without even touching the horse. To put it mildly, I was confused and a touch doubtful, but after seeing it in action I became a believer. Mind you, believing your eyes and actually mastering it yourself are two entirely different things. LOL.
Thankfully, horses naturally communicate using the silent ways of body language. In fact they ‘read’ the humans around them all the time, and unfortunately for us, we naturally speak ‘predator’ or ask for one thing verbally while our bodies are telling the horse something entirely different.
Two years later, I now know more about horses (maybe about 15 percent of what there is to know. LOL.) and I even adopted one. A sweet-natured six-year-old standdardbred named Oakley.  
Yes, horses take more time from my already sadly anemic writing time, but they’ve enriched my life and my writing so much that the good far outweighs the bad. I look forward to continuing to become a better person through horses. 
Humorously, one of the main characters in the sequel to Betrayal’s Price is a horse-like shapeshifter.  I wonder how much Chris Irwin methodology has worked its way into the book that I’ve have to edit out since there is such as thing as too much non-plot related details. Oy!
While you’re here, don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a FREE copy of Betrayal’s Price.
Thanks for having me Jenna!
If you’d like to know more about Lisa, pop by her website ( ) or blog ( ) and say hello.


  1. Hi Lisa and welcome!

    Thanks for taking time from writing and the work you're doing at the rescue. Sounds like fate for you to come up with a plot that would take you in the direction of a new passion and cause--horse rescue.

  2. Thanks for having me! If anyone has questions, comments etc, I'll be popping by throughout the day, or stop by at my blog where Jenna is giving away a copy of The Burning Seal.

  3. Very interesting. I understand about needing to really know what you are writing about. My editor put me straight when I went off kilter horse-wise (among a number of things.). Thank heaven for editors. Horses are beautiful creatures and the heart bleeds when they are abused. Three cheers for Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue. And good luck with your book--it's now on my list of 'wants.'
    Mary Raimes Curtis

  4. Lisa,

    I am so glad I stopped by and learned something about equine rescue. In the middle grades I had a horse (3 gaited Saddlebred) that I adored. Years later in Georgia my daughter took lessons in a stable that had a riding program for special needs children. It was amazing to see those kids, riding tall and so proud of themselves. Horses are amazing creatures. I'll be looking for your book. Good luck.

  5. Glad everyone liked learning a little about the horse rescue. And thanks for stopping by.

  6. Great post, Lisa. I love it when writing 'forces' me to learn more about something I want to use in a story, either hands-on or through research, depending on the subject.

    I rather felt like prey when a friend took me into her horse pasture. Having four of those big animals running towards you sure can be intimidating. Fortunately they only wanted to check out the newcomers, get patted and find hidden apples. I guess we were prey of sorts. ;-)

  7. I learned from horses before I started trying to write. My first horse was a bad purchase and had both mental and health issues from his history as a trotter. Working with him taught me patience and to control much of my temper. Since then I've learned many other lessons from the various horses I've had or worked with. Currently it goes both ways. I learn a lot from the horses, but the horses help with my mental and physical health. If it weren't for riding, I'd be in a wheelchair again. And my husband and I recently picked up another horse inexpensively because the young mare had some issues the owner didn't understand and she was about ready to have it put down because no one would buy her. So that horse has joined our herd and her issues are almost fixed after less than 6 months. So many problems are due to owner ignorance or idiocy (or a combination). Sounds like the trainer you've worked with has a very responsible way of training.

    And your crit partner was right. It is very annoying to read a book with horses in it and find really unreasonable events happening. The things writers do to research their books... ;-)

  8. Of course as a former natural horsemanship trainer, farrier, level 1 english and western certified coach, equine massage therapist and ex show jumper horses are very dear to me. The are a part of me that if missing would leave me incomplete as a person. I have fostered for the SPCA and even rescued horses myself on occassion and often donate my services to the spca. Since my surgery and subsequent heart condition I have not been able to return to what I do and writing fills that void, that and Stamp de Gold (aka Love Monkey) my thoroughbred stallion keep me sane. I too find it hard to find books with reliable horse facts in it and am often asked to write them, I might try that one day hehehe. I applaude your choice in charity.