So I wanted to write a novel that takes place in the Sierra foothills. There are a lot of ranches near there. In fact, Oakdale, California–which is not far from my fictional Rattlesnake–dubs itself the Cowboy Capital.
(Incidentally, Oakdale is also home to the annual Testicle Festival, which I wrote about in my short “Tyler Wang Has a Ball“. I’ve never attended the event, but I see that in 2016 it’s taking place on my birthday. Hmm.)
Anyway, Rattlesnake has ranches. And I knew from the start that Shane Little used to be a cowboy. His family owns the Lost River Ranch. Shane is going to spend some time there, along with Jimmy.
But here’s my little problem: cowboys ride horses, and I don’t know anything about horses. I’ve never ridden one. I wasn’t into them when I was a kid (although I did go through a brief preteen unicorn phase). I don’t have a clue about saddles and bits and stirrups and reins and… whatever else horses involve. I have friends who know a lot about horses. Heck, my older daughter has taken quite a few riding lessons and is, I’m told, pretty good. But me? Nada.
Fortunately for me–and sadly for Shane–my lack of equine knowledge didn’t get in the way of this book. That’s because Shane was in a bad car wreck and can’t ride anymore. So if you’re expecting a lot of horseback riding in Rattlesnake, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. But once Jimmy arrives in town, there’s quite a bit of riding of a much sexier sort. 🙂