26 Pickup—The Half Ton
Idea: A story or book from the perspective of Walt’s horse.
I read the other day that horses can hear your heartbeat from ten feet away, and that they can infer your moods and condition long before you arrive. I’m not so sure I believe that, but I do think that they’re incredibly intuitive animals and have an almost psychic ability to read human beings when in close contact with them.
I don’t know how they do it, but whenever I head down to the barn in the mornings or at night, I can always tell that those horses know what kind of mood I’m in before I get there.
I’ve spent most of my life on horseback, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. To this day, they’re still my favorite writing partners, listening closely to what all I have to say about whatever novel I happen to be working on, and never uttering a word of advice.
As knowledgeable as I am, I’ve got a specialist in the field that has forgotten more about horses than I’ll ever know, a fellow by the name of Buck Brannaman. Buck was the model for the character in the book and movie, The Horse Whispererand is the world leading practitioner of horse handling in the vaquero tradition. Buck’s place is about ten miles from mine and whenever I get a question I go straight to the horse’s mouth, Buck. There’s also a marvelous documentary on his life and work called simply, Buck.
Writing an entire book from the perspective of a horse though, that might be a bit challenging… I’ve seen those books where the story is told from the perspective of animals, but I can’t help but think that it’d be a challenge in that there’s no dialogue unless you wanted to go full Mister Ed. Of course, you could use an internal monologue, but that presents a number ofproblems, too.
Maybe a short story, but I think there would be another character in line before I could get to a horse, Dog. I have to say that I really enjoy writing Dog as a character and think the TV people really missed the boat by not including the character. He and Walt have a pretty unique relationship, and I take advantage of that by not having the Dog talk—he doesn’t have to… I’m not sure if there’s anybody else in the books who knows Walt as well as Dog. Dog spends the most time with him, and it goes without saying that Dog is extraordinarily smart.
I don’t know. I have learned enough to know that you should never say never—so, you never know…
See you on the trail,