Welcome to the Free Rein Series

Hi!  I am writing the Free Rein series with a focus on 8 – 12 year old readers and the view to teach them about horses and Christ.

You can find out about the author Christine Meunier, read the blurbs, find out about the book covers and their design, and make sure you’re up to speed on Australian terms that I use in the books!

If you’ve read and enjoyed books in the Free Rein series, please leave me a review over at Goodreads or Amazon!  If you have (constructive) criticism, I welcome this too, to improve the series.

Paddocks for Horses

Another term that comes up often in the Free Rein series novels is paddock. The horses are kept in paddocks of varying sizes. A paddock is an enclosed area larger than a yard that contains grass and water for horses.

A Paddock, Field or Pasture
A Paddock, Field or Pasture

It may also contain a shelter and trees and be used by some agistees to ride in if riding facilities or other areas aren’t available. A paddock may otherwise be known as a pasture or a field.

Genesis, the King’s property is broken up into paddocks named after their location – the freeway paddock, house paddock, back paddock and arena paddock. There is also a quarantine paddock for new or sick stock.

Paddocks are often referred to in size and it is typical to house a horse on 1 – 3 acres in size. An acre is 4000 metres squared. Genesis is around 100 acres in size and so made of a few large paddocks that can house many horses.

Looking forward to Horse Book Releases

Hi everyone!

Do you have a particular horse book or horse book series that you eagerly anticipate the release of?  I have written about my latest release, a horse book for adults over at Horse Crossings.  Come join me and let me know which horse book you’re eagerly anticipating the release of!

Hi everyone! As authors, it is exciting for us when things finally culminate in the release of a new book. The writing, editing, seeking feedback, cover design and other odds and ends have all come together to create a finished product.

And I have been blessed to experience that once again, quite recently. My latest release is a novel for adult readers. It is a horse based, Christian romance… read more here.

Agistment in Australia

I was given advice by author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne to include a glossary of terms with the Free Rein series. Being based in Australia, there are terms that are included that may not be familiar to readers from other countries. A lot of readers of the Free Rein series are from:

  • America
  • Canada
  • and the United Kingdom

So! I thought it might be nice to cover some Australian terms in some posts here. The first word that is commonly found in the Free Rein series books is agistment.

Agistment - People pay to Keep their Horses at Grass
Agistment – People pay to Keep their Horses at Grass

Agistment or grazing rites are terms used to describe land that is provided for horses to graze on, at a fee. In Australia it is not uncommon for people to pay a monthly fee to be able to keep their horse at grass. Because we have mild weather and most areas where horses are kept don’t have snow, horses are able to be kept at grass all year round without the need to be stabled / kept in a barn.

Agistment might otherwise be known to readers as boarding a horse or livery. Agistment can refer to a horse staying on grass for a fee. Or, it may include a horse being fed, rugged and stabled by another person, at a cost.

An agistee is a person who pays a fee to have their horse kept on someone else’s property. In the Free Rein series, it is agistees who pay to keep their horses on the King’s property, Genesis.

Equine Excerpt: A Dollar Goes a Long Way

Hello!  I’m taking part in sharing an excerpt from my latest horse novel and providing links to other equine authors.  Read on for an excerpt from A Dollar Goes a Long Way 🙂

Jacqui raced in the door that afternoon, eager to make sure she was changed and ready when Geordie’s parents turned up. Jacqui called out a hello to her mother through the back door of the house. She could see her working in the veggie garden.
Once changed out of her school uniform, she decided to head out and say goodbye to Jaq. The idea of not seeing and riding him for a couple of days wasn’t appealing and she suddenly realised why Geordie hadn’t wanted to go to Jan’s place last time.
“But I’ll be back before you know it and I’ll have learnt so much more about horses and caring for them,” Jacqui said to the grey gelding as she scratched at the base of his neck where he liked it.
Jacqui smiled with delight as he curled back his top lip and turned toward her, trying to return the favour.
“I don’t need you to scratch me!” Jacqui laughed, pushing his head away firmly.
With a snort Jaq went back to grazing.
“Who are you?” a voice called out from across the back yard.
Jacqui frowned, not realising they had visitors. She looked up at the young dark haired boy in surprise.
“Who are you?” she asked him, stepping away from her pony and coming to the fence where he stood.
“I asked first,” he challenged, causing her frown to deepen.
“I’m Jacqui King. I live here,” she replied simply.
“Oh,” the boy responded, turning away quickly.
Jacqui watched him go over to the veggie garden her mum was working in. How rude to ask who she was but not say who he was!
She considered climbing through the fence to find out when she heard a car coming down the driveway.
“They’re here!” she said excitedly to herself.
Jacqui raced back into the house to grab her bag and packed clothes. Kate met her inside, double checking that her daughter had everything before seeing her off with a hug and a smile.
“Have fun, honey! Though I’ve no doubt you will. I can’t wait to hear all about it when I come to pick you girls up.”
“Thanks, mum! See you on Sunday.”
Jacqui hugged her mother again before racing out the front door and into the car. Geordie and Hannah were already seated in the back. Geordie moved into the middle so that Jacqui could get in beside her.
The girls started their excited chatter before the car took off. Jacqui forgot all about the brown haired boy.

If you enjoyed reading a little of this story, perhaps you’d like to purchase the novel! You can do so at Amazon.

Why not read some equine excerpts from other authors?

An Author Update

Hi everyone!

I thought it was time I posted here, just to show that I am still about! I have been keeping busy in the writing world, having recently finished my next adult horse novel. You can read about it over at the Horse Country Book website.

As you may be aware, I am also working on the sixth book in the Free Rein series, titled Contagious. It is coming along steadily.

Aside from writing, I have been keeping busy at home with my two gorgeous children – my daughter turns 2 this month and my son has just hit 4 months of age. It sure keeps things busy at home!

Australia is nearing the end of winter and here in the North East of Victoria, we tend to get spring a little earlier. We’ve had some beautiful winter days this week! It’s a great chance to get outside in the garden and go for walks to the park with my kids.

I hope you’re all well and in case you didn’t know, you can follow me as an author on Amazon. If you do this, you’ll be notified by Amazon when I have new books available for sale. This can be a great way to stay up to date on all my writings! 🙂

Free Rein Book 6 Part 2

As promised, here’s the second half of the first chapter of the next Free Rein book, Contagious!

That was all it took for the three girls to race out the front door, put their boots on and grab their head collars. They’d been keen to organise the flyer so that it was ready for when Kara agreed to their idea – if she did! The flyer had only happened so quickly because they’d been forced inside by a spring storm.
Now that it had cleared, the girls were eager to get some riding in. Luckily the paddocks they rode in were covered in grass and didn’t get really muddy unless there was a lot of rain, consistently.
Within twenty minutes the girls had brought their ponies in, brushed them down and picked out their feet and then tacked them up. With bridles on and girth tightness checked, they each mounted and headed out to the arena paddock.
This was where they had their riding club. A 60 by 20 metre arena was set out in one area, its perimeter marked by old railway sleepers. The letters of the arena were found around the edge.
Each of the girls warmed up at a walk, trot and canter before practicing their dressage tests individually. They wanted to make sure they knew them by heart before their riding lesson with Kara.
Jacqui had initially struggled to remember where she should do everything, but Geordie and Hannah had taught her a funny little saying about the letters in the arena: A Fat Black Mother Cat Had Eight Kittens. Now she knew where the letters A, F, B, M, C, H, E and K were found in the arena. She also knew that X was in the middle. This was where she needed to halt and salute the judges before going through her test.
Once the girls had each gone through their tests, they took the time to cool their ponies down in a game of follow the leader at a walk. As they walked, they talked about things that were going on at school.
They had a project due in the following day. In typical fashion, Jacqui had finished hers the week before, Hannah had just recently finished hers and Geordie was going to need to put in a long night tonight to get it done on time.
The girls met together after school every Wednesday and worked hard to keep on top of their schoolwork. This was the main thing that helped Geordie convince her parents she was ready for the responsibility of a pony. Although she did work on Wednesdays, she needed a lot of encouragement to be as conscientious on other school nights.
The girls finished brushing down their horses and put them out into the freeway paddock as the evening light was disappearing. Shortly after, Geordie’s parents arrived to pick up Geordie and Hannah. Jacqui headed inside quickly after, knowing that dinner would soon be ready.
She took in an appreciative breath as she closed the front door behind her. Hungry instantly she washed her hands in the bathroom before heading back to the kitchen.
“Smells great, mum! What are we having?”
Kate grinned from where she was dishing up food onto plates set out on the kitchen bench.
“Chicken stirfry! Most of the vegetables are from our garden. I love that we don’t have to do as much food shopping these days. I can’t wait until we can bless more people with our other veggie garden, too.”
Jacqui nodded and sat down at the kitchen table. The Kings’ had their own vegetable garden that they used to cut costs. As they saw the need of many families in their local area, Kate put forward the idea to her pastor of growing fresh food that could be gifted to struggling families. Being early spring, she was starting to harvest their first crops.
A young boy named Jared had started to help Kate with the planting and weeding. His family was one that benefited from the food and he felt better making a contribution to the work that went into growing it. Under her pastor’s urging, Kate had encouraged the boy’s help and was rewarded with seeing him at church on Sundays, too.
Jacqui forgot about all of this as the food was placed on the table before her. She was relieved when Ross came down the hallway and her father Tony came in the door in time to say grace and enjoy the meal together. Jacqui was ready to eat!

Keep a look out for updates regarding the release of this book and remember you can purchase the previous 5 books on Amazon!

Free Rein Book 6

Hi everyone! I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at the next book in the series, due for release this year! It’s to be titled Contagious.

Chapter One
Geordie Smith glanced over her friend’s shoulder, smiling at what she saw taking form on the paper.
“I love it, Hannah! Even if we don’t use this for the riding club flyer, do you think I could have a copy of it?” she asked of the young brunette.
Hannah Johnstone grinned.
“Sure. I may have to start charging for my drawings though; perhaps I can make money from selling horse pictures when I finish school!”
Geordie laughed.
“Only if you find some people to buy them that have more money than me! I can’t offer you anything for a copy of your picture… but I can tell people all about your drawing skills… maybe I could be your agent!” she said enthusiastically.
“Do you even know what an art agent does?” Hannah questioned, putting the finishing touches to a black Friesian doing an extended trot.
Geordie shrugged. Jacqui King laughed, looking up from where she was reading a horse article in a magazine.
“If it has anything to do with being enthusiastic about your drawings, Hannah, then I think Geordie will do fine! Geordie, did you work out the wording you wanted to put on the flyer?”
The three girls were in Jacqui’s room, putting together a flyer for their upcoming dressage day. One Saturday a month they had a riding club on the property where Jacqui lived. Their instructor Kara had set them each a dressage test to learn in October; it was to be performed in December.
Now early November, the girls were keen to ask Kara if they could turn the performance day into an event that they could invite their parents along to watch. They’d already run the idea by Jacqui’s mum Kate, who had said she thought it was a great idea.
Kate and Tony King – Jacqui’s parents – owned a property called Genesis. Before purchasing it they were leasing it and setting it up as an agistment property. Now they had regular clients that paid to keep their horses at Genesis and they had developed a riding club that had two instructors and more than half a dozen riders.
The Kings’ had decided to run their riding club on a Saturday instead of the typical Sunday assigned to Pony Club meetings. This way they didn’t miss out on church and a few of the girls that rode at a local Pony Club were also able to come along to the Genesis riding club.
“I think so, what do you think of this?” Geordie asked in response to Jacqui’s question as she held out a sheet of paper to her.
Jacqui put down her magazine and grabbed the piece of paper. It stated the date and time of the event and started with ‘You’re invited to attend a day of dressage to witness first hand some extraordinary riding and gorgeous horses.’ Jacqui grinned at the wording.
“It sounds so classy! How did you come up with that?”
Geordie shrugged and responded, “Dunno.”
Jacqui laughed.
“With an answer like that, neither do I!” she teased.
Geordie returned her grin.
“Well if you’re happy with the wording, then I’m all done! And it looks like Hannah has finished her picture, so we just need to scan it in and then you can do your magic on the computer, Jacqui!”
Jacqui nodded.
“I’ll work on it tonight. I’ll ask mum if I can use her scanner to get your drawing onto the computer; is it ok if I keep it overnight, Hannah?”
“Sure! I’ll get my sketchbook back from you at school tomorrow, if you like.”
Jacqui agreed that she would bring the book to her friend then. As she glanced out the window she grinned.
“The rain’s stopped!”
That was all it took for the three girls to race out the front door, put their boots on and grab their head collars. They’d been keen to organise the flyer so that it was ready for when Kara agreed to their idea – if she did! The flyer had only happened so quickly because they’d been forced inside by a spring storm.

I’ll post the rest of the first chapter later in the week!

Christine

On the Topic of Rushing

Hi everyone!  My latest post about publishing in a rush can be found over at Horse Crossings.  Here’s a sneak peak:

In the age of electronic publishing, it can be too tempting to rush the publishing process. I have read many kindle copies of books that were poorly edited with shocking grammar and spelling issues. This is distracting and will greatly affect a rating I provide to a book.

Does it bother you?

You can continue reading here!

Reviews of Horse Books

Hi everyone! I have written a post at Horse Crossings regarding seeking reviews for released novels.  Perhaps you’d like to take a look?  Here’s a sneak peak:

It’s exciting to release a new novel – all of your invested time, hard work and research has come together!

It can be disappointing to release your book and find that nothing is then happening; people may be reading, but you aren’t seeing any feedback in the form of reviews. Seeking reviews for your novel can be a great way to increase anticipation of a story, to give you feedback and to gain new readers… read on