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.

Australian Term: Horse Rugs

It’s been a little while since I’ve looked at an Australian term that shows up in the Free Rein series and explained it for international readers! So let’s get back to it. Today I’d like to look at horse rugs.

Horse Rugs are Otherwise Known as Blankets
Horse Rugs are Otherwise Known as Blankets

When Jacqui and her friends are looking after their ponies, there are times when they want to keep them dry and warm. To be able to do this, they will place a rug on their ponies. This covering might otherwise be known as a horse blanket.

Rugs need to be attached securely to horses so that they won’t slide off as they move. This often happens via a buckle at the front and straps that loop through each other around the back legs of the horse. You can get rugs that cover the horse’s body as well as its neck, or you can get neck rugs that clip onto the body rug.

Rugs or horse blankets are a great way to keep a horse or pony clean, also. They are often used by people who compete. Using a rug allows them to protect their horse’s coat from the sun – and potentially fading. When this is a concern, just a light cotton rug may be used. Rugs can also help to keep off dirt and mud and lessen the amount of grooming that needs to be done before a show.

One way that is strongly encouraged to put a rug on includes doing up the back leg straps first. In this way, if the horse spooks and jumps forward, the idea is that the rug will slide off their body. If the front is done up first and a horse spooks, the rug can slip to the side and get trapped under the horse’s legs. This can result in tearing of the rug and potentially injury to the horse.

New Beginnings Excerpt

New Beginnings by Christine Meunier
New Beginnings by Christine Meunier

Happy New Year, everyone!  For 2017, I am going to be sharing an excerpt from each of the Free Rein novels on the first of each month.  So below you’ll find a piece from New Beginnings, book 1 in the series!

If you haven’t read this book yet, you can check out a piece to see what you think 🙂

Jacqui King let her eyes follow the flight path of a large pelican as it soared above their car, seemingly oblivious to the vehicles below it. She smiled at the sight. The ten year old was excited. This was dampened only as her older brother once again spoke negatively about their current situation.
“I don’t understand why we had to move from the country in one state just so that we could spend time in the country in another state. Seriously dad, couldn’t you have not accepted the transfer at work?” Ross King asked for what felt like the millionth time to Jacqui.
The family of four had been on the road for around 10 hours, travelling interstate to their new home.
Jacqui’s father had been offered a position at work that had excited both of her parents. Unfortunately it had meant moving interstate halfway through the year and leaving behind many family members and friends.
Jacqui’s apprehension had been made smaller when her mother had talked of the 100 acre property that they would be leasing in Victoria. Her excitement had grown further still when she was told that the property used to be set up for agistment and it was Kate’s hope – Jacqui’s mother – that this would be a future possibility for the whole family. After all, a large property would be expensive and needed justification by earning its keep, Jacqui had been told.
From a young age Jacqui had dreamt of horses. Whilst living in the country in South Australia with her family, she had had opportunities to be led on friends’ ponies but that was all. It seemed that only now would Jacqui be able to pursue her ultimate dream of having her own horse – and on their property!
Tuning out her brother’s ongoing list of complaints about their move, Jacqui took in the houses and land that they drove past, hoping theirs looked as wonderful. Large brick homes stood behind well manicured green lawns, roses lining driveways in full bloom. It looks so wonderful.
Half an hour later the Kings made their way down a dead end street, Kate excitedly telling Jacqui that their property was at the end of this road. Jacqui sat up taller in the back seat, eager to see their property as soon as she could. She chanced a glance in her brother’s direction, noting sadly that he had his eyes closed and the earphones of his ipod in place.
“Here we are!” Kate breathed out excitedly, opening her door as Tony put the car into park.
Accepting a key that her husband handed her, Kate made her way quickly to the gate that was pulled shut over the driveway, a large padlock keeping it closed. An old wooden sign half hung from the gate, the name of the property on it in faded white paint. Genesis. Jacqui smiled as it seemed that her mother almost skipped in her excitement.
The padlock was unlocked quickly and Kate got back into the car. Tony drove down the curved driveway, heading for where he knew the house was.
Jacqui didn’t notice the lack of carefully manicured lawns or roses lining the drive in bloom. She was too in awe of the large open paddocks that seemed to go on and on. Just how big is 100 acres? She grinned, already picturing herself racing across them on a little grey pony. This is going to be great!
Ross awoke in time to race his sister into the house, claiming the largest of the three available bedrooms for either of them. Kate and Tony had taken the main bedroom close to the front door. Jacqui chose the smallest of the three rooms left, concluding that a smaller space of her own meant less she would have to keep clean.
She placed her suitcase on the bed that had already been made up by their mother a few days prior.
Once things had been confirmed with Tony’s job and then with this property, Kate had flown over to Victoria for a day to clean up the dusty old house. She’d also made an extra effort to make the bedrooms ready for her two children. Jacqui hadn’t liked her mother being away for a night but that was over and done with now.
She opened up the curtains that covered the one window in her room and looked out over two large paddocks that were behind the house. This place really is huge! Glancing back at her bed, Jacqui grinned.
She ran to the end of it and sat back to face the window, swinging her legs happily. And I can see right out of the window onto paddocks that will have horses in them – all from my bed!
As far as the ten year old was concerned at this very moment, things were perfect.

Like what you read?  You can purchase New Beginnings at Amazon for $2.99 USD on Kindle.  A paperback edition is also available!

Contagious 5 Star Review

Hello everyone!

Contagious, Free Rein #6 by Christine Meunier
Contagious, Free Rein #6 by Christine Meunier

I am excited to say that in the first week of Contagious being live on Amazon, it has received a 5 star review!  I really enjoy writing, but it’s so nice to see that others enjoy reading what I have written!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the sixth book in the Free Rein series yet, then you can click on the above link! 🙂

And if you’re someone who loves to make sure they read their book series in order, then you may want to check out FictFact!  The Free Rein series are listed here, in book and reading order and you can check them off as you read them!

Contagious being Edited

Hi everyone! Book 6 in the Free Rein series, Contagious has been finished and is in the process of being edited. I am hoping to have it out before Christmas, but we’ll see how we go!

On a side note, did you know that as an Amazon Prime customer, you can borrow and read my books for free? I’m pleased to know that people can purchase and read the Free Rein series, or they can borrow them for a limited time as an Amazon Prime customer and read them this way!

All of my books can be read this way, so if you know of people looking for horse books for the mature aged reader, you can point them towards my new Thoroughbred Breeders series, or even Horse Country and B and B!

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! 🙂