Horses and murder—words not commonly associated with each other unless you are Dick Francis. But here at Wendy Hill Farm, we tend to our horses and read murder mysteries and crime novels (and write them too).
While the days of the Old West are long gone, horses are still significant in the lives of many of us. Did you know that there are over 3.5 million horses on American farms and ranches? Plus another 300,000 mules and burros? Wisconsin, with over 100,000 horses, is ranked 10th in horse population in the United States.
So it’s not a big leap to have horses in a modern crime novel set in the United States. If the setting is in or near a wilderness area, horses would be a logical means of transportation. With their beauty, graceful movement, and power, horses make a colorful accessory.
When you live with horses, you become familiar with their personalities. Yes, horses do have personalities. Like people, some horses are smarter than others, some have bigger personalities, some are more intuitive, etc. Many horses enjoy interacting with humans. So what do you think about a horse being a major character in a modern crime novel set in a wilderness area in the West? A horse that is intelligent, intuitive, curious, and loves his human. A horse who you want on your side when you are in a tight spot.