Evidence 101

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

On Wilson's Tale...er...Trail...

Welcome, C.S. Wilson, author of Tales from the Trail, available on Amazon.com for a great price of $1.99 in the Kindle version and $5.90 in paperback. Get it while it is a hot price! You won't be disappointed. Filled with great stories, she will take you on the trail with her and you will revisit her discoveries right beside her on every page. It's a feel good book, fit for everyone.

Not only is C.S. Wilson a great author of a wonderful book, she is also my good friend. Every time I get to visit...we laugh...a lot...and there are always stories to be told. So...here we go with some interesting questions for all of us to get to know the author...

What inspired you to write your book, “Tales from the Trail”? How does it feel to be published?

I've always been a writer.  Always.  I can’t remember a time when I didn't write, so when I realized I was telling the same stories over and over again when people asked what my job was like it dawned on me that I should write them down.  I had just found the blogging world and started telling some of my stories via blog, thinking just my parents and my fellow wranglers would read them.

Publishing the book was always “one of these days”, as in, one of these days I’ll get around to compiling my stories and submit it for publication.  I sent out a few queries without response and got sucked back into my everyday life.  My friend Tara Janzen, who is a NYT Best Selling author made the transition from being traditionally published, to self-publishing a couple of years ago and I realized it was a viable option.  After all, if someone who had based her entire career on being traditionally published decided that self-publishing was going to work better for her, then certainly the bias against being self-published was beginning to change.
I have read a lot of not-very-good writing as a result of the ease of self-publishing and I swore I would do my best not to fall into that, so I hired an editor and had my husband, who is a graphic designer, do my cover.

But what really gave me the impetus to publish a book I’ve been dabbling at writing for YEARS was losing my beloved Estes.  I finished, and published, the book to honor her.

I just got word this week that a local store will be stocking my book and I’ve been asked to join a Local Author Day, so how does it feel to be published?  It feels awesome, but also like I’m a bit of a fraud.  I can’t quite believe that I’m a “real” author.

What is your favorite trail and why? What experience(s) made it your favorite?

My favorite trail?  That’s hard, I love almost all of them.  I would say the “Willow Creek-Beaver Ponds-over to the other pond ride” is my favorite.  I love the thrill of breaking through the willows butted up against the rock face and the climb up the side of the mountain on the Willow Tree Trail.  As that trail ends, you can pick up the Beaver Ponds trail and cross the creek a couple of times, ride through more willows that block out the rest of the world and climb to a spot to overlook the beaver ponds.  As for the last pond, I've just always loved it and it’s easy enough to get to after you finish the Beaver Pond loop.

I think that ride is my favorite because you get a bit of everything: busting trail, rock scrambling, and stunning views followed by an ever-changing pond surrounded by aspen.

As a wrangler, cowboy boots or flip flops? Did you ever tell a guest they couldn't ride because they lacked proper foot gear?

The boots come off as soon as I’m done working and the flip-flops go on.  I've been known to wander around our personal horses in flip-flops, but I would never enter the livery’s pen in them.  Too many horses not paying attention to what they are doing.  However, every time I was in our pen in flip-flops I can tell you that I always had my toes curled up.  As if that would protect them from a sharp hoof!

I have suggested to more than one guest that they would be more comfortable and safer with closed-toe shoes, but always left it up to them.  Most of them would change their shoes once I explained the hazards of having bare piggies hanging out of the stirrups.  Unfortunately, most of the guests would come while on vacation and they might not have had proper footwear with them.

What one quality do you expect out of your guests when you take them on a trail?

I appreciate it when guests listen to the rules and don’t challenge me on them.  The fact is, I’m responsible for their safety and that requires a lot of trust on the guests’ part.  In 9 years of taking out paid trail rides, I never had a “wreck”.  (You falling off of Washoe doesn't count either – that was just friends going for a ride J )  I came close to a bad wreck once, in my last year of wrangling.  While I absolutely believe that better than 90% of horse wrecks on trail rides can (and should) be avoided by proper ride management, there are some factors that are just out of the wrangler’s control.

The rules aren't arbitrary – I don’t expect guests to abide by them just because I’m a fun-hater.  I expect them to abide by them because to ignore the rules puts us all in danger.

Fargo side note here. Yeah. Uh. I did not "fall off" of Washoe, the Friesian stallion. I was bucked off and flipped into the air where I tried to grab a branch on the way down. I did land one hand on a tree branch, but I couldn't hold my grip and so it was inevitable that I would hit the ground. I landed on large boulders and was tumbled through a boulder field until I landed in a cold Rocky Mountain stream. Barely conscious, I managed to get up and put myself back on that stallion and show him who is boss. It was a proud moment and had it been on video, I surely would have been hailed as a wonder woman type equine-ist. (That is a word)

What is your favorite excerpt from your book?

The book is a compilation of my favorite stories, but if I had to pick one (or two) out it would be “Estes”, followed closely by “Falling in Love”.

It’s a known fact that horse lovers experience a great love for the animal and the ride. I know what being on the back of a horse does for my spirit, tell us your viewpoint of this common encounter and acquaintance between horse and owner.

When I first started wrangling, I didn't quite have the appreciation for the rider/horse relationship that I do now.  Horses were a means to an end.  I loved to ride and I would ride any horse available.  I slowly began to realize that I got along with some horses better than others and that there were horses who were all heart and horses I really enjoyed riding.  My very first wrangler horse, RC, is part of the dude string now, but he was my favorite because he was a challenge to ride, not because I had any emotional attachment to him (I do now, actually, but because of the fond memories I had of us working together).

Estes, and Meeker to an extent, changed that for me.  They were the first horses I “bonded” with.  Meeker was a lover and was the first openly affectionate horse I’d spent time with because, let’s face it, livery horses have to haul around too many people who come and go hour after hour to invest in any sort of “close” relationship with a human.  Estes was more aloof, but once she bonded with a human, all sorts of possibilities opened up.
The bond between human and horse is magical.  Every time a rider gets on a horse, they are putting their trust in a 1,000# prey animal.  The horse must trust the rider to keep them safe and give them good leadership, while the rider must trust that the horse will follow their lead.
Without Estes, riding is just riding.  It’s good for the soul to be out on the mountain, but being on a horse I haven’t bonded with is just riding – it’s not the soul-moving experience I've had for the past six years.

What is your pet peeve on the trail? In the barn? In the saddle?
Across the board – poorly mannered horses.  I have no tolerance for horses with no human manners, period.  And it’s almost always a human-caused problem.

Leave us with some great words of wisdom from your life experiences as an author.
I've only been a published author for about a month, so I don’t know that I have any great words of wisdom from that perspective.   However, from a wrangler’s perspective:
At the end of the ride,
Hug your horse
And tip your guide.

(The book touches on the “fun” part of being a wrangler – actually being out on the trails.  I left out all of the mundane details.  Trust me, the wranglers earn every penny of their tips.)

Mrs. Wilson, I can't thank you enough for allowing me to interview you. Congrats on your success with Tales from the Trail! 

Like The Boogie Man Is My Friend on Facebook and leave a comment on the status update about this post for a chance to win a paperback copy of this book filled with great adventures!


GunDiva said...

I've never seen a flea-bitten gray Friesian before, but I'm sure the Wonder Idiot appreciates the sentiment.

Thanks for having me :)

Allenspark Lodge said...

I must'a miss the grabbin' the branch part. But I remember the falling in the stream part...

Good book,by the way.


Momma Fargo said...

Uh...Bill..I am still holding that branch... And I agree!! About the book...Bug and I loved it!

Tennessee Grammie said...

I once had a horse I loved and can appreciate that bond. He was almost 17 hands of Buckskin with a heart of gold. I look forward to reading her book!

The Queen said...

Leaving a comment cause I want the book for my Dad..But seriously. you force me to comment after I told you how hard captcha is for me?? You are evil to the stinking core woman...

Anonymous said...

I'm leaving a comment 'cos I want a copy of the book, too! But if I'm not the lucky winner here I guess I'll have to toddle off and download it to my Kindle :D

achieve1dream said...

Sounds like a great book! I wish I had a Kindle.

achieve1dream said...

Sounds like a great book!!