Tags      

Categories  Writing articles

Writing about horses in historical fiction

Writing historical fiction can involve taking a step back in time to an earlier age of transport, such as travelling on horseback.
It’s easy to forget, as I did a few minutes ago, that horses have to be cared for.
For example, at first I wrote the following.
‘He rode his horse across a small stream and continued on his journey.’
But after a couple of minutes I remembered that the horse had been ridden for fifteen miles without a rest on a hot summer day and would probably need a drink of water.
So I changed it to the following.
‘He came to a small stream and allowed his horse to drink before continuing on his journey.’
It seems that it isn’t enough to be familiar with the lives of your characters; you also have to be familiar with the needs of their horses.
This aspect of writing historical fiction – a familiarity with horses, will probably come to me naturally after a while.
Having said all this, did famous writers such as Emily Bronte, who of course lived in the age of transportation by horse, write about the need to give her horse a drink of water?
If so, I can’t find any record of it.
It’s a nuisance (in my view) to have to include information like this.
But on the other hand it adds detail to the story, which perhaps makes it more credible.

Paul Gresham

You must be logged in to post a comment.