2014 A to Z Challenge: H is for Hanoverians
NOTE: Sorry this one's late, readers. Some things I can't control, like my internet connection. H is also for Humpday, but we'll just ignore that and get on with the A to Z Challenge.
Primer: During April over 2,000 bloggers are posting daily on topics that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. My posts will revolve around the research elements that have informed my new historical fantasy, Famine.
Today's letter: H is for Hanoverians
With two characters topping six-foot-three and an early-Edwardian setting, I needed to take horses and horse breeds into consideration when I was building the world of Famine. While Bartholomew has the wealth to own a whole stable of steeds, he's a man of practicality. So I decided that he'd own a pair, and they needed to be riding mounts as well as carriage horses. I required tall and strong horses and a breed that would have been available in the U.S. at the time. So I looked at Old World warmbloods, and Hanoverians fit the bill.
Originally bred as carriage horses, an infusion of German, Spanish, and British bloodlines resulted in Hanoverians that were strong, elegant, and athletic. Standing, on average, 16 to 16.2 hands* at the withers, these horses have the height I needed to accommodate Bartholomew's and Mr. Vernon's stature, and they're highly trainable (good for teaching Matilde to ride). And, well, I've always loved the breed and never could own one, so now I get to live vicariously through my characters. (My book, my world, so nyah.)
*A "hand" is equivalent to four inches
Bartholomew knows his horses:
Matilde glanced up when he reached the drawing room. “We’re going downtown tomorrow.”
“Are we?” Bartholomew accepted a cup and saucer from Mrs. Henderson.
Mr. Vernon added cream to his tea. “Have you asked the horses if they wish to go to town in the rain, Miss?”
“They’re Seattle horses, Mr. Vernon,” she replied. “What’s a little rain to them?”
Bartholomew sat beside the cold fireplace. “Obietnica will object. You know that gelding prefers rolling in the mud to being ridden in the rain.” He blew steam from his tea, and the room returned to silence broken only by clinking silverware upon china and the patter of autumn rain upon the eaves.
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