Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for Xena & Excalibur: Blogging the #AtoZchallenge

Meet My Imaginary Friends: Xena, Pearl, Excalibur, and Sultan

Xena, Pearl, and Excalibur are Gypsy Vanner horses who live on Amelia Schreiber's horse farm. Xena is a buckskin mare, Pearl is a white mare, and Excalibur is a palomino stallion. But the most prized of all Amelia's horses is Sultan, a Friesian stallion, who was taken from his stable by her jealous ex-husband. In this scene from The Legend: A Marienstadt Story, stable-keeper Kit Wilde meets Sultan and Amelia for the first time.

Got us a new boarder,” Andy said, hanging up the phone, one morning when Kit came into the stable’s office.
Good,” Kit said. “Are they bringing the horse over or should I go pick him up?”
She’s riding him over this morning.” Andy grinned a mischievous grin. “We’re in for a treat with this one. Ever seen a Friesian stallion?”
No. What’s that?”
One of the most beautiful breeds of horse that you’ll ever see. Black as coal, every one of them, and powerful. They’re an ancient breed of draft horses so they’re all muscle, but every one I’ve ever seen is as graceful and nimble as a show horse.”
Kit’s eyes widened. “No kidding?”
Missus St. Clair said the horse was a gift from her husband. He’s some kind of big shot financier—worth a ton of money. She said they had a big place out in the country where she could take care of the horse herself, but her husband is selling it so they can move into the city. She didn’t sound real happy about that.”
Why would he do that?”
Because people have their heads up their asses.” Andy stood up and reached for his hat hanging on a wall rack. “Can I count on you to stick around here?”
Her name is Amelia St. Clair. I’m sure you’ll be more charming than I am. She sounded upset. I’m not real good with upset women.”
Kit kept his amusement to himself as he watched Andy take the reins of the horse waiting for him, mount it, and ride off like a disgruntled old gunslinger tired of shooting people for their own good. An hour later Kit was crossing the driveway between the office and the house when he spotted a horse with rider galloping through the south pasture toward him. He stopped in his tracks and stared. There was no mistaking this creature—he had never seen anything like it. The horse was both powerful and graceful with an elegant neck and a long, thick mane that blew about in the wind like billowing smoke. Its deep black coat gleamed and long feathers puffed out around all four lower legs with each step. As horse and rider drew closer, the animal slowed to a beautiful, high-stepping trot. Kit looked up at the rider whose face was shaded by the brim of a dark fedora. He raised his hand in greeting.
Hello,” he called. “You must be Missus St. Clair.”
She returned his greeting. As the horse slowed and stopped in front of him, Kit thought he’d never seen anything as majestic as this animal. It held its head high as though aware that it was no ordinary horse. When Kit reached for its halter and ran his hand lightly over its neck the horse nickered softly as if to say, “Yes, you may touch me.”
Mister Wilde?” the woman asked.
I’m Kit Wilde. Who is this gorgeous fellow?”
She swung out of the saddle and dropped to the ground, as fluid and graceful as her horse. “This is Sultan,” she said, caressing him with her hand. “My darling Sultan.”
Kit stroked Sultan’s neck. “We’re going to take very good care of Sultan.”


  1. That is an impressive creature, a Sultan indeed.

  2. I was distracted by the photo of that horse - such beautiful animal!

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

  3. Sultan sounds like a magnificent horse - love the photo too.
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

  4. Love stallions! So majestic. But always makes me think of The Black Stallion that had me balling as a kid. :o
    Joy @ The Joyous Living

  5. That's a gorgeous horse. Enjoyed the story, too.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. I love stories that include horses or are about horses. I was a fan of Black Beauty and Fury. It looks like another book has just been added to my Goodreads TBR list.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

  7. That breed of horse is gorgeous. I totes need to convince my one friend she should get one. ;)

    ~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  8. Those are really beautiful animals. Well, I'm in love with horses period, but these are particularly elegant.

  9. Friesians, like the horse in the photo, and their cousins, Gypsy Vanners, are the most beautiful breeds of horses and, as Andy says, they are an ancient breed bred for both beauty and strength.

    Thanks for visiting.

  10. Wait. I thought you said the ex stole the horse. ??? There must be more to this story.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

  11. I'm going to have go back and back some more to read your lovely posts Kathleen. I can imagine how living in the Pennsylvania rural lands has had a great influence on you ... Sultan is beautiful, just like your writing.

  12. Liz, yes, her husband takes the horse and it is up to Kit to find it. This is a flash back to the first time he met Amelia and Sultan.

    Susan, thank you. All my Marienstadt stories are set in rural, central Pennsylvania. All my Crazy Old Lady stories are set on Beacon Hill in Boston--two of my favorite places in the world.

  13. Wow, incredible description of the horse. Beautiful animals, horses. I love them and go visit my friend's horse as often as possible. They are magnificent beings and are so sensitive and loving.
    The photo is gorgeous too.
    Another one that I want to read...

    Michele at Angels Bark

  14. Thanks, Michele. I learned so much doing research on this one.

  15. A delightful creature with a magnificent name. Great story.

    A bit of A-Z nonsense!

  16. The horse really shines through, in words and in view

  17. Thanks, Keith. I was very deliberate in picking their names--I wanted them to be as special as the horses themselves.

  18. I love horses. They are so majestic and proud. Beautiful excerpt!

  19. What a beautiful animal. The visual really helps the story.

    Susan Says

  20. Do you ride horses? It always looks so beautiful. A friend of mine is a horse whisperer. Maui Jungalow

  21. A perfect description of Missus St. Clair riding Sultan,: "The horse was both powerful and graceful with an elegant neck and a long, thick mane that blew about in the wind like billowing smoke."

  22. Sultan really comes alive in your words! Loved the excerpt. I like stories that include animals/open spaces. Room for the reader and characters both to breathe :)

    Excalibur is one great name for a horse too, btw! Awesome X-post!

    Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016

  23. Many thanks to all of you for visiting. I LOVED the name Excalibur for a horse--almost as perfect as Sultan. Thank you.

  24. This is interesting reading. I love the names, too.
    Visiting from A-Z. ~McGuffy's Reader~

  25. I'm digging all of your A to Z posts :)


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