In Plain Lies, the main character, Erin Galloway, inherits an equine boarding business from her father. I’ve always liked horses. However, I am a small town girl who enjoys the heartbeat of a big city, which means that writing this novel began with research and a road trip.
One fall day in 2013, I went to Village Ridge, Missouri and toured Diamond Farms, a 650 acre ranch and equine boarding business. The owner graciously answered my numerous questions and allowed me a quick look into the operation of such a facility. I learned so much from the owner’s expertise and was impressed with his obvious commitment to providing the very best accommodations for the horses. I also met one of the boarders who allowed me to give her horse a peppermint. I still chuckle when I remember the way the horse responded to the mere sound of the plastic-wrapped candy being opened. Needless to say, this beautiful facility inspired countless mental images for Saddleback Ranch.
The next step in my research involved sitting down with a couple people who owned horses and I learned a new term; founder, which is a condition that occurs when a horse has been allowed to graze too long. This is serious business because it can cause irreversible harm to the horse. This tidbit of information never found its way into the novel but I tried.
I also purchased a book, Karen Leigh Davis’ The Everything Horse Book, which offered tons of information about buying, riding, and caring for an equine companion. And, as always, the Internet promptly supplied answers to my last minute questions. I’ve enjoyed the journey as I learned about horses and those who own them, who become very attached. Now I understand why. While they require a great deal of care, they are beautiful animals with distinct personalities.