Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's a Maybe: The Retired Racehorse Book

Sometimes I think that my greatest talent is coming up with awesome ideas and then sticking them on the back-burner until I have "time." (As if "time" were something I was ever going to possess, to clench in my fist, to cackle a villainous laugh over. I've got you at last, Time! Probably not.)

Stuck on my backburner I have various art projects (what to do with that charming little Sam Savitt paperback before it decays entirely? Something amazing. I'll look it up later), an entire manuscript imaginatively named The Eventing Novel (I'll completely rewrite that eventually), and, most annoyingly of all, the Retired Racehorse book.

I've been planning the Retired Racehorse book since the day I started Retired Racehorse Blog. You might know it, a little WordPress project that made me moderately Internet Famous amongst a small proportion of Thoroughbred enthusiasts and got me a lot of Facebook friends. (Hi Facebook friends! xo) I meant to just keep training Off-Track Thoroughbreds and blog about their training as I went, and eventually put it all into a lovely retraining manual, since it can be difficult to consult a blog before you go out to ride.

But it spun all out of proportion and somehow I ended up a writer in New York City. I attribute this development directly to Retired Racehorse Blog, and I still want to write the book, out of appreciation, at the very least! The blog deserves its book!

The problem, of course, is that I'm not training horses anymore, and I can't just make up fixes for problems. I don't have a set curriculum for a horse. I'm not Natalie Keller Reinert Horsemanship MasterClass, Inc. My blog posts were mentally composed as I was riding, thinking through the problems that the horse was presenting me as I tried to trace them to their roots in his early training as a racehorse.

And then yesterday I was in the basement of the Strand Bookstore, which is one of my favorite places to be (certainly it's my favorite basement) and I found a gorgeous little vintage hardcover of Ahlerich: The Making of a Dressage World Champion, by Reiner Klimke. It's basically a detailed—incredibly detailed—training diary of one of the most wonderful dressage teams we've ever seen. Just wonderful.

I didn't buy it, because it was $40 and my price limit for books is closer to $1.

But it did remind me that I had a perfectly good diary of training a retired racehorse from racetrack to amateur eventer in five months, and I really ought to pull the Retired Racehorse Book off that back-burner.

Except I still really don't have time.

And then today I saw a WordPress plug-in called Anthologize, which is supposed to make your blog into a book automagically, and I thought, this is the sign! I'll do it today! 

But then I read the instructions, and it doesn't work on WordPress.com hosted blogs. (i.e. dot wordpress dot com blogs, aka free blogs.)

So I pulled out my hair for a few minutes (it's really long and I can spare a few strands) and then took a deep breath. I'll still do the Retired Racehorse Book. Just not at this exact moment. When I have time.


Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation... I would BUY that book!

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

Thank you Anonymous! You're not my mother, are you?! LOL

Sarah said...

OK this was very funny:) I would totally buy a training book that actually made me laugh (and not because the techniques are ridiculous). Go find that Time! :)

Leslie said...

Natalie, you sure have a cool sense of humor! Had me chuckling.

Personally, I remember those years when I was always saying, "when I have time". Looks like that time is now, basically. Unfortunately, I tend to squander it most days, get distracted to other things.

Some days I feel like the hunting dog who's saying "Where's the squirrel? There's the squirrel! No wait!! There's a rabbit over there.. Oh shoot, I see some leftover food...." Yesterday, I actually cleaned out the medicine cabinet,which hadn't been done in a very long time, but I'd originally had another agenda for the day.

Good luck! The book sounds like a great plan.

Dreaming said...

I so understand all those projects waiting for time to magically materialize!

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

Thanks guys! Every now and then my sense of humor arises. Fortunately, the training blog was pretty funny as well. I think you'd like it...

I know.. I'll MAKE some time. I made fried chicken earlier and didn't even set fire to the kitchen. I can probably make time too. Later. I'm reading Lin's book right now.

TBDancer said...

Reading your post today was like listening to the tape that plays in my head: "Later. Tomorrow. Now now. Soon, I promise." Etc.

My house is filled with projects to be done "in a bit." I too have lots of projects for books, topics for blogs, plans for "stuff"--and yet I sit in a house that hasn't heard the sound of the vacuum running for more than a few minutes--in over a MONTH.

I too would buy your book ;o)

Alison said...

Hi Natalie, as I read your post, I thought you might be struggling with the The Retired Racehorse book because it might not be the best 'genre' for your funny style. Although I love horses, I would not pick up a nonfiction book about training racehorses cause it ain't gonna happen. But I WOULD eagerly pick up a memoir (See Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richardson) told with your sense of humor OR a novel where the heroine is training racehorses and told with humor. I think your 'voice' might not be as suited/unique in a training book, which is why your blogs were popular because people loved your quirky take on training. Humor is the HARDEST thing to write for people, so if it comes naturally to you, it is a gift!

Laura Crum said...

I agree with Alison. Hey, Alison and Natalie--for a very funny look at endurance, go to Haiku Farms (listed on sidebar) and read about the Bad Luck Fairy and her horse, Holdmybeerandwatchthis. Humor IS very hard to write--I can't do it at all--and Aarene is pretty darn good at it.

Natalie Keller Reinert said...

Thanks guys!

Oh yes, I couldn't possibly write a manual. And, like you said, no one would read it. What are the most interesting parts of riding manuals? The introductions, where the trainer talks about his/her amazing experiences with horses! Everything else is for skimming and looking at pictures.

I've decided... "You Can't Hug a Thoroughbred" will be a collection of essays, gathered around the progression from racehorse to sporthorse.

And it will be funny as hell.