Gypsy Stallion Showcase (and) Why Am I Selling My Horse?

— NEWS! I can now offer a FREE Breeding as part of Keira’s sale! See her page for more info! —

our two horse herd

We are currently downsizing our herd—meaning, we are going from two horses to one :) Keira is for sale. I hope to find her a happy, loving, forever home, hopefully one with lots of little girls to pet her and brush her and put ribbons in her hair.

The reasons we are down-sizing are many, but it has nothing to do with WANTING to sell Keira. I love her to pieces, and it will break my heart to see her go. But our horse journey has changed drastically in the past 7 years, since Chroicoragh first trotted into our lives. Back then, we had dreams of building a modest herd,  taking them to all-breed shows; entering them in the Parada del Sol  and other parades; training them to drive a cart; and eventually have our own breeding stallion and move to a 200-acre farm somewhere and happily live out our days breeding adorable Gypsy Horse babies.

But then the economy took a dump, we came very close to losing our house, like many Americans, and to top it off, we ended up having a very long, expensive, and complicated battle with the school district in regards to my youngest son.

Keira is his favorite

That fight, for the most part, is now done. I will not go into details here and now, but I may at a later date, and hopefully a much more public format. They say the pen is mightier than the sword…and I would LOVE to slay some public school dragons. Anywho…our lives, jobs, and family have gone in a different direction than when we started. And now with our oldest son in college (how is that friggin possible?? I’m not nearly old enough to have a kid in college!), our youngest finally in high school, and with my husband and I looking down the road to our not-too-distant future, some rearranging and simplifying is in order.

And I wish I could say it had nothing to do with finances. We are trying our best to provide our kids with an education that they will not have to be paying for in the form of student loans for the next 30 years. Our oldest is pursuing a degree in International Business with a double minor in Spanish and German. His dream job is to work for Porsche, BMW, or some big fancy car company. (He loves horses, too, as long as they are under the hood!) He will be headed to Germany in the spring to fulfill his study abroad requirement for his degree, and hopes to land an internship at one of the car companies while he’s there. (I know, he’s crazy smart and motivated, neither of which he gets from me)

Since I left my job, my current focus is to finish my book, and then find some sort of career that will help prepare us for our golden years. Now, ideally, this job will be promoting and selling my book and going on international book tours (there’s a little Law of Attraction for you!). But it never hurts to have more than one feather in your cap, so I am preparing myself to either A.) Go back to school and get my degree, or B.) Pursue another career to be named at a later date.

 If it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that after 16+ years of being a stay-at-home mom, then 3+ years of schlepping magazines, you are pretty much screwed when it comes to looking for a real job. I have no degree, no skills, no experience; I must be a flipping idiot. How do I even make it through the day?

So, back to the point…what was my point again? We are going through lots of changes around here. But just because we will be a one-horse-herd family, doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped dreaming about my 200-acre Gypsy Horse farm with lots of babies and a beautiful stallion! I mean, going back to my whole LoA thing, when I sell my book, and get back from book tour, I might need to invest my earnings in some real estate, right?

So, let’s just go with it! I’ve just gotten back from my months-long excursion, traveling the world, and signing lots of copies of my book (yes it can happen! here’s my inspiration). I just sold the movie rights to Harvey Weinstein, and I’ve got to invest my big check so Uncle Sam doesn’t take it all.

Time to go stallion shopping!

If I could stock my stable with a dream-boy lineup, this is who I would pick:

(click on stallion’s NAME to go to their home pages)


I’ve already proclaimed my love for this guy. I believe he’s been sold, but have no idea where he ended up. If you know, please reply below!

Platinum, ©Michael Vines

♘ ♘ ♘

The Midget Stallion:

I’ve had a crush on him for a long time, and finally got to meet him this summer in Tennessee. He’s absolutely adorable in person:

the Midget Stallion, now standing at LexLin Gypsy Ranch in Tennessee.

I wish I could have gotten some good photos of him, but it had been raining for days and all the big boys were in their stalls. He throws gorgeous foals, and I got to see some of the cuties.

♘ ♘ ♘

Silky Boy:

Clononeen Silky Boy

Here is Keira’s ½ brother, Silky Boy, so named because his hair is so soft and silky, just like Keira’s. A top stallion in England. He and Keira are both sired by Lenny’s Horse.

♘ ♘ ♘

Sundance Kid:

Sundance Kid, now owned by Lexlin Gypsy Ranch
photo © Gypsy MVP

Ummm…Hello? I think if Brad Pitt were a Gypsy, he would look like this. If I was 12 again, I’d want this poster on my wall.

 ♘ ♘ ♘

The Viking:

the Viking, now owned by West Hill Ranches
photo © Tom Price

Can you say “Presence?” I think if The Viking and Chroicoragh had a baby, it would literally glow.

 ♘ ♘ ♘


Desert Jewel’s Darrig
photo © Jennifer Gilson

Darrig is one of those horses. He just has some sort of personality – I have no idea why I like him so much, I just do. Must be that Gypsy magic. He’s a gorgeous chestnut and he’s built like a tank.

♘ ♘ ♘

 Blue Bobbi:

Blue Bobbi, owned by Tom Price
photo © Eilzabeth Sescilla

Look at this guy! I think I have a new crush…♡

♘ ♘ ♘

The Hustler:

The Hustler, Superior Stables

The Hustler is another awesome stallion imported from Clononeen farms. I just love his coloring.

 ♘ ♘ ♘


GG Starbuck, owned by Linda Tweedie of Gypsy Vanner Ranch
photo © Elizabeth Sescilla

 Umm….yeah, do I even need to say anything about this stallion? I mean I think if Sundance Kid is the Brad Pitt of Gypsy Horses, then Starbuck must be the George Clooney. And I loooves me some George Clooney… :)

♘ ♘ ♘

Here are a few that are new to me, but I could easily fall in love with them.


Sterling Spring Call Me Sir, owned by Circle G Ranch

 Sir has a beautiful head, nice conformation and hair. A bit of a sleeper, I hadn’t heard of him before this post but I have a feeling he’ll have a great career.

 ♘ ♘ ♘


Westmoreland Lucky

If I had to guess, I’d say Lucky got his name from the lucky “Gypsy Kiss” on his forehead. A Gypsy Kiss is a small dark spot in the blaze of a white faced horse. Please click on his picture to see more photos on his page.

♘ ♘ ♘

Sir Tristan:

Westmoreland’s Sir Tristan

He is just too pretty! Two blue eyes, too! He throws lovely foals.

♘ ♘ ♘

Phantom Knight:

Phantom Knight, owned by Bit-N-Heaven Gypsy Horses

Phantom Knight, a very unusual colored Silver Dapple stallion owned by Mike Nenni in Florida.

It’s very easy to get distracted by a horse’s color, but if you look beyond that—on each of these wonderful stallions—you will see the best in conformation. A Gypsy Horse breeder will breed first for temperament, next for conformation, hair and the gorgeous coloring is just the icing on the cake.

If you are in the market for stallion service for your mares, or are simply in the market for  Gypsy Horse in general, I highly suggest visiting some of these stallions’ homes on the web. RESEARCH. Look at bloodlines, previous foals, and the quality of the farm’s broodmares.

♘ ♘ ♘

Speaking of icing on the cake, I am excited to announce that as part of Keira’s sale, I can offer one FREE BREEDING to either of these two gorgeous stallions! Thanks to Peggy and Steve Owen of Superstition Foothills Ranch for this incredible opportunity!

Niall of Tara and Eclipse the Son, both out of Premium stallion, Rock Ranch Nelson
You choose which stallion you’d like to breed to Keira!

Please see Keira’s page for more info.

♘ ♘ ♘

And, finally, my all-time favorite, the AMAZING Lloyds, also owned by Michael Vines:

The most famous Blue Blagdon stallion
photo © Loretta Rawlings

Lloyds is attributed to be Chroicoragh’s sire. The DNA tests came back “unconfirmed.” Which either means A.) The DNA results were simply incorrect (this has happened before – someone told me that a mare that she bred herself -well, not herself, ha ha – came back with inconclusive DNA results, and have heard other similar stories); or B.) A colt of Lloyds covered Chroicoragh’s dam while out to pasture, which has also happened before. In England and Ireland, it is common to turn out a stallion with a band of broodmares, and let nature take its course. If there are young colts in the bunch who decide to take a turn, they can sometimes impregnate the mare.

Either way, I’m happy with Chroicoragh, I don’t care who her sire is. I’m still convinced it’s Lloyds – she and all of her siblings inherited his gorgeous head – I just see too much resemblance there to think otherwise:

Lloyds on the left, Chroi on the right
Lloyds picture © Loretta Rawlings
Lloyds filly on the left, Chroicoragh at the same age on right.
Photo © Kent Gypsy horses

When I saw the filly on the left, I did a double take – I thought it was a photo of Chroicoragh that I hadn’t seen before. Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me if Chroicoragh’s sire is Tony the Tiger, I love her all the same.

Good luck finding YOUR dream horse! I know I left out many many other great stallions, but I only have so much time! These guys are my personal favorites.

Which one is yours? Leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!

Thanks for reading,


P.S. for more great photos, please visit Elizabeth Sescilla’s Flickr feed.

50 Shades of Grey – Why Readers Will Love It and Writers Will Hate It

I first heard of 50 Shades of Grey when one of my customers asked for it, before it had even been released. The book and its sequels, 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed, have been the biggest literary blockbusters since Harry Potter or Twilight, pushing sales upwards of (reportedly) 10 million copies in six weeks. Since its release, I’ve had a difficult time keeping copies in stock at the grocery store where I merchandise books, and every week, for every one that sells, more and more copies come in.

As the hype grew, so did my curiosity. I had to see what all the fuss was about, so I picked up a copy, along with a young adult fantasy novel as backup. Good thing I got the backup. I can usually tell if I’m going to like a book as soon as I read the first page. Right away, 50 Shades had me rolling my eyes, much like its main character, Anastasia Steele does, a reported 41 times throughout the book with her cohort, Christian Grey.

Why readers will love it:

  • Cinderella-familiar storyline (regular girl meets extraordinary boy who sweeps her off her feet and showers her with expensive things);
  • Easy plot & characters to follow. You don’t need to hold a timeline of events & a roster in your head like you had to do with The Millennium Series;
  • Why, the sex, of course!

Why Writers will hate it:

  • It’s an easy read—a little too easy. Nothing flows, It doesn’t take you away to another place. More like this happened and then that happened and here’s what I was wearing, and OMG he is so HOT!!
  • It is rife with repetition. If I had to read one more time how she bit her lip or how his pants hang on his hips just so, or how they call each other by their surnames (“Miss Steele;” “Mr. Grey”)…I’m tempted to get out my red pen and edit my own paperback copy, just for the hell of it.
  • It is rife with two amateur writing mistakes: 1. adverbs—tons of them—which is a rookie error, usually caught by an editor; and 2. Cliché: the aforementioned Cinderella-esque storyline, punctuated by scenes stolen from Pretty Woman (the bathtub scene; the piano scene). And I’m not the only one who noticed. See this article at The Daily Beast for more.
  • keep reading for the #1 reason writers will hate 50 Shades of Grey.
Hey that was a pretty good scene, I think I’ll put it in my book.

In fact, if I were describing it to someone I’d say it’s like Pretty Woman or Cinderella, only Prince Charming is into kinky sex. Really kinky sex. And OMG, he’s really hot.

I must admit, I got drawn into the steamy scenes—you’d have to be a eunuch not to.  But I would find myself halfway through the page saying, “wait, what? That just doesn’t happen…” I mean you have to give her props for imagination, but a lot of it just doesn’t play realistically. I could go into gory detail, but it would cause major spoilers, and would be a bit TMI, even for me. (Seriously, how many of you out there had multiple O’s your first time? Guys, put your hands down.)

And—disclosure—I didn’t even finish the book. I tried, but I kept getting so frustrated. Not that kind of frustrated either. One of the main things that bothered me is that here you have this main character who is supposed to be a smart, intellectual woman—however young and sexually inexperienced—making really stupid decisions. Dan Brown does the same thing in his books; writes these incredibly intelligent women, who for whatever reason can’t seem to do anything for themselves until the dashing Professor Langdon sweeps in to save the day.

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Hey Tom? Never ever let Ron Howard talk you into that straight-hair-blowout again, okay?

Now, I have to say, pretty much my entire life, if I picked up a book and started reading it, that meant I would be reading it ’til the very end, no matter what. I have no idea where I came up with this philosophy. Probably some sort of teacher-infused guilt, or Norwegian stubbornness from somewhere along the line, but I always believed that if you started a book, you HAD TO FINISH IT.

But I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’ve decided not to waste my time trying to read a book I don’t like. There are SO many books out there that I would like to read. Why sit and stew and turn pages that frustrate the hell out of you, one after the other, when there is a whole pile of books on your nightstand, just begging for their spines to be cracked?

At the same time I bought 50 Shades, I also picked up a YA softcover by Kristin Cashore, called Fire. Not that I needed any new books—I have a ton on my shelves that I still haven’t gotten to yet (like that’s ever stopped me from buying a book). But when I got so frustrated with Miss Steele and Mr. Gray, I picked up Fire, just to take a peek.

And that’s when I realized I didn’t need to read all about the Steele/Gray tryst. Because the other book was so. much. better. And it has nothing to do with genre (50 Shades is adult contemporary erotica fiction; Fire is young adult fantasy fiction), it’s all about the quality of the writing. See for yourself in the following excerpts (no spoilers):

Excerpt from 5o Shades of Grey, by E.L. James:

“Ready?” he asks. I nod and want to say, For anything, but I can’t articulate the words as I’m too nervous, too excited.

“Taylor.” he nods curtly at his driver, and we head into the building, straight to a set of elevators. Elevator! The memory of our kiss this morning comes back to haunt me. I have thought of nothing else all day, daydreaming at the register at Clayton’s. Twice Mr. Clayton had to shout my name to bring me back to Earth. To say I’ve been distracted would be the understatement of the year. Christian glances down at me, a slight smile on his lips. Ha! He’s thinking about it.too.

“It’s only three floors,” he says dryly, his eyes dancing with amusement. He’s telepathic, surely. It’s spooky.

Three adverbs! Really? In little more than one paragraph?! Who edited this?? Okay, Heidi, don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t sweat the small stuff…

Excerpt from Fire, by Kristin Cashore:

It had been easy once, taking Archer into her bed; not so long ago it had been simple. And then, somehow the balance had tipped between them. The marriage proposals, the lovesickness. More and more, the simplest thing was to say no.

She would answer him gently. She turned to him and held out her hand. He stood and came to her.

“I must change into riding clothes and pull a few more things together,” she said. “We’ll say our goodbyes now. You must go down and tell the prince I’m coming.”

He stared at his shoes and then into her face, understanding her. He tugged at her headscarf until it slid away and her hair fell around her shoulders. He collected her hair in one hand, bent his face to it, kissed it. He pulled Fire to him and kissed her neck and her mouth, so that her body was left wishing that her mind were not so stingy. Then he broke away and turned to the door, his face the picture of unhappiness.

Now, I’m sorry, but that is some good f*ing writing. Where James over-explains and over-punctuates her character’s every thought, lip-bite and groin-pull, Cashore paints a picture for you to observe from a distance, the characters explaining how they feel with their actions. Kind of goes back to the old “show, don’t tell” lesson I learned from my library critique group.

Okay, okay, so who am I? Right? Who am I to be sitting up here on my high horse, critiquing something that has been so lightning-in-a-bottle successful?

get off your high horse, Heidi

I don’t want to knock Ms. James. I don’t want to sound as if I think I’m somehow better, or above. I mean, not only did she finish her book, but two more, got them published and is now enjoying great prosperity because of it. I say, good for her! I can’t even finish one book, and I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I’ve been working on it (or not working on it, as the case may be. That’s at least part of my problem). And she seems like a pretty cool person. My biggest admiration for her lies in the fact that she negotiated complete control when she sold her movie rights. Now that’s a genius, ballsy move. I bow humbly to that. I wonder if she whipped out some handcuffs when talking to Universal, and gave them a little spanking? ;)

I wish her all the success in the world. I mean, she’s kind of a Cinderella story herself, isn’t she? It’s a great inspiration to the rest of us schlubs hacking away at our blogs, adding to our page counts and red-penning our own manuscripts. It’s proof that with a little talent, and a whole lot of determination, anyone can make it happen. You know what they say, the most successful writers aren’t necessarily the best, they are just the ones who didn’t quit.

And as to that #1 reason writers will hate 50 Shades of Grey? Like most other things creatives hate:

They didn’t think of it first.

So…did you read it, or are you avoiding it on principle? Did you love it? Hate it? Read it while hiding in the ladies room? :) Please, let your voice be heard! Converse! Click reply (below).