Local professional horse trainer and educator Susan Carpenter Noble became inspired when she heard from a young student that he did not read many books because nothing was out there “for us ranch kids.”
Hearing that “just broke my heart,” said Noble, of Lewis.
So she started writing stories that weave her experiences as a horse instructor into two books that young readers and adults can relate to and learn from.
Published last year, “Cowgirls Don’t Quit,” and the sequel “The Free Horse” are set in the Dolores and Cortez areas.
The novel’s characters are based on Noble’s former students, her experiences and people she has known in her 20-plus years as a horse trainer.
“It is about real life. I can write about horses and cattle drives, and I really enjoyed the creative storytelling too,” Noble said. “There were times the story went in a direction I did not expect.”
The stories have an upbeat pace that also mix in the hardships and realism of agriculture lifestyles.
“They are realistic. Things can go wrong, but what you learn from that can lead to positive outcomes,” Noble said.
Her writing explores the challenges and adventures young people have as they work on the ranch or farm, learn to ride and care for their horses and negotiate adolescence.
“In Cowgirls Don’t Quit” 11-year-old Meghan Callahan goes on a cattle drive and proves her courage and tenacity with family members and friends.
In “The Free Horse,” Meghan learns hard lessons as she trains her horse, Savannah, and in the process strengthens her friendship with a girl with Down syndrome.
“Free Horse” was listed at a top pick for younger readers in the November issue of Colorado Country Life magazine.
Noble’s knowledge of horses comes through in the books. Besides being interesting tales, they have an authentic educational value.
“Part of my intent was to include horse lessons within the stories as a way to share what I know with young people who want to learn,” she said.
According to an author biography on Square Peg Bookstore, Noble has won state championships in reining, Western riding and working hunter. She has coached students to compete dressage, trail and barrel racing techniques, among others.
When not in the arena teaching, she can be found typing away on the keyboard, telling the kind of horse stories she would have liked to have read growing up.
She is working on the third book in the series and is going on book tours now that the gatherings are starting up again.
“I am blessed to learn all that I have about horses, and I don’t want to keep that to myself,” Noble said.
Her books are available at the Dolores River Campground and online at Square Peg Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Contact Noble at firstname.lastname@example.org.