If Wishes Were Horses

The ancient nursery rhyme is recorded as ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride,” but as my mother always said it to me in childhood, “If wishes were horses, we’d all ride.” This would be my mother’s response when I would be day-dreaming or plaguing her for something I wanted.

“Mama, can I have a pony?” “If wishes were horses, we’d all ride, CurtissAnn.” She says my name all together in her genteel North Carolinian drawl.

Fall has come now to South Alabama. Along with the crisp, cool air come blue jeans and boots and fresh energy. My steps are lively. A longing for my old mare and the times of riding her in the cool morning, on the trail or in the arena with cattle flicker across my mind. What fun I had! I remember burying my nose in the mare’s shoulder, absorbing the scent of her that was so precious to me.

Now that I can look back through the years, I see the truth that what is long held in the mind will eventually manifest in life. It’s the ‘as a man thinketh’ rule. As girl, a tomboy through and through, I desperately wanted a horse. I drew horses, read of horses– Did any of you read Misty of Chincoteague? Wild Stallion?–had stick horses that I would ride all over our rural area when living in Alaska, of all places. When older, my bicycle was my trusty steed. Then I grew up, and realized my dream. We went to an auction, and I bought two mares. Do you believe it? Crazy. I don’t recommend it–we didn’t even have fencing! But I learned by experience, and I smile now with the memory.

“Nobody, and I mean nobody, writes regular people into romance the way Curtiss Ann Matlock does.” ~ Cathy Sova, The Romance Reader, on If Wishes Were Horses

I learned to ride when in my thirties from two horse trainers: Gordy Whitman and Mark Whitman. The first time I got on my mare in the Whitman round pen, and she began to run, I began to scream. Gordy didn’t let the mare stop, and my screaming took time to stop, too. But over the years I learned to ride. I did not fully learn to stop screaming when startled; my horses learned not to pay attention. So did the men.

My novel, If Wishes Were Horses came out of all that, of course. I recently began reading the book again, and I boldly say that I’m as happy with it as a dog with two tails.

My character, Etta Rivers (isn’t that a great name?) loves horses, too, and she can ride. Etta is a strong woman, and even stronger is her friend, Latrice. Looking at the story now, I see it interesting that Etta is struggling to hold on to her home, the only home she had ever known. I’ve written that theme a number of times. As a child my family moved often. I wanted a permanent home–and I found it, too. Then there is the hero, Johnny Bellah, the rugged drifter cowboy. I like Johnny, even with flaws. He is kind, and he knows horses.

Also on the pages of the story is a funeral. Oh, all Southerners love a good funeral. I have written them a number of times. And a ghost. Strong minded women, men who love them, horses and a brand new baby. One can hardly get a better story. You might want to give it a try.

I leave you with a quote from the front of the book, which I’m sorry did not make it into the e-book edition:

Never, ever give up. A little money helps, but what really gets you through is to never, under any circumstances, face the facts. ~ Ruth Gordon, actress and writer.

16 thoughts on “If Wishes Were Horses

  1. Pingback: If Wishes were Horses… | Black Write & Read

  2. Well, hello there. Granny mentioned you in her blog at Granny’s Parlour and I just had to stop by and take a look. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of your books……yet. But after reading your blog posts, I’m sure I will be adding your books to my need to read list. Thank you so much for sharing your life and your books with us, it’s nice to be able to smile about something beautiful in a world where we hardly take the time to even notice that the sun is shining. Even when it’s raining, the sun is always shining above the clouds. Thank you for some sunshine, especially on the cloudy days.


    • Oh, my word, Debbie, thank you for stopping by and shining your light for me! I was just this morning thinking: pay attention to the beauty. Your message is a God-whisper. 🙂 Isn’t Granny phenomenal? I’m grateful to her for introducing us.


  3. Pingback: Weekend Highlights – Noteworthy Articles by Fellow Bloggers – October 13, 2012 « Granny's Parlour

  4. It was time for me to knock at your door again. How have you been? Lovely post. As I read, I realized how good it is to look back and come to a place in life where we can say “I have done this right. This is good.” When we hold something tangible, something we have made, there is no reason to not be grateful for all the labor and imagination it represents. It is healthy to be able to say “I did a good job.” It’s all a matter of attitude. You speak gently. You inspire. Thank you.


    • Thank you, Granny, for your uplifting wisdom. I’m made aware that each day there are things that I’ve done that I need to appreciate. And that it is important to support myself with enjoyment of blogs that inspire–I must get over to knocking on your door! 🙂


  5. I had to laugh when I read your statement about funerals. My mama drug me to every funeral home in the mid south when I was growing up. I asked her once about why we were going to a particular funeral because I knew she didn’t like this man. She retorted, “Honey, don’t speak ill of the dead. His widow is a nice woman and besides they’ll be a big sale and I want to see if I can get in on the pre-sale..” You’re right, death is a way of life in the south…….


    • Oh, love your stories! My dear mother-in-law was the one to teach me to enjoy funerals. Like your mama, she never missed them. They were a natural part of living to her, one of the better parts. :). At her husband’s funeral, she combed his hair in his casket.

      Sent from my iPhone


  6. I must admit that the paperback version of this book has sitting in my bookcase for more years than I want to admit, and the e-version was one of the first books I downloaded when I got my kindle. After reading this post, I know what I will be reading tonight when I settle down for the evening.


    • I finished the book at 4:30 this morning. I must say you do have a way of drawing a person into the story. Even though I know nothing of the horse world and wouldn’t know a dun from a roan, it didn’t matter, the core of the story had me hooked from the very beginning. I admire the strength and abilties that Etta found within herself. I wondered if when Little Gus breathed on her pregnant belly, if that had been a true life experience, it was so beautifully detailed! I thought this was my favorite, but I say that with each one of your books, dear!


      • Oh, dear heart, I’m so glad you enjoyed the story! What a gift you give me today. No, Little Gus breathing on Etta’s stomach did not come from personal experience, other than my experience of sharing breaths with a horse– I would put my nose to that of my horses and breathe with them. I think a horse smells so delightful, too! The photo on the new cover of the ebook of If Wishes Were Horses is a photo of me and our last foal, Baby Girl. We were sharing breaths. 🙂

        Big hugs, dear friend, CurtissAnn


  7. On summers at my grandpa’s farm in WI, I got to go across the fields and down the tree lines to a neighboring farm that had a real cowboy rodeo star and his horse, Tony. We got to (my brother and I) got to ride the other horses, not Tony in his training corral. It was a REALLY BIG DEAL; Of course I had a crush on the 20 something cowboy and I was all of 12 or something like that.


  8. Oh boy, I am going to love my 70th birthday on Jan. 2, 2013. Tom said I can still have a party even if the fiscal cliff really happens! AND by that time or sometime before I am going to be the proud owner of the Kindle Fire AND I have my wish list already lined up (I will ask my daughters each for Amazon gift cards); Your book in ON the list as of now. I, too, loved horses as a young girl; cannot believe I didn’t get FLICKER on the AARP crossword puzzles (usually) don’t do them because I am not good at them. But all I could think of was Trigger, Champion, Mr. Ed, and of course Black Beauty (I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO in love with); it was Flicka!


    • Oh, yes, Black Beauty! I knew few of the TV series, like Mr.Ed, as a child, because we did not have television. We all read, though, constantly. I see worn library books blurry in memory, with horse images. 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


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