Friday, April 6, 2018

#Fearless #Horse Tale by Sasscer Hill


I love horse racing stories so I'm particularly pleased with my guest today, Sasscer Hill. She is fearless in this experience!
Back in my thirties, I got incredibly lucky and was given a handsome four-year-old steeplechase horse. I named him Rascal, and somehow managed to transform this spirited, high strung animal into a riding horse and foxhunter.
I’ve always been a bit too brave and reckless for my own good, and after owning him two years, I dared myself to ride Rascal in the Potomac Hunt Races. When my friends heard I was racing this two-mile course over four-foot, solid, nailed board-fences, they thought I was nuts. They might have been right.
In the jockey’s tent before my race, I was the only female. The male jocks wore enough bandages and braces over wrenched necks, broken collar bones, and shoulder injuries, that my hands began to tremble. In the race before mine, professional jockeys rode the exact same course I would soon be riding. One of them left in a medevac helicopter. Can you say nervous going down to the start? I was scared to death.
But if you’ve read my books, you might have picked up on one of my themes–that you get what you
give. This was so true with Rascal. I trusted him, so he trusted me. I was kind to him, so he was kind to me. Still, I was scared to death riding him to the starting tape.
I was about to have the most extraordinary experience of my life. I was so focused, and so in tune with Rascal that he seemed able to read my mind. It’s the only time in my life where the world moved in slow motion. There was a big crowd that day, and once the race began, the crowd diminished. I never heard them or saw them. The fences came at me, not the other way around. I became one with my horse, and about halfway through, Rascal was running so well, we had only one horse ahead of us.
Suddenly I realized we were badly positioned. Rascal’s head was even with the hindquarters of the other horse. We were speeding toward the biggest fence on the course. I was terrified he’d try to lift with the other horse, be unable to clear the jump, and crash down on top of that wall of nailed boards. I’ve seen it happen.
He allowed me to slow him, just enough to move back out of danger. But the move had cost us ground. As if reading my mind, he darted to the inside of the other horse, and cleared the fence. I hadn’t even had time to give him a cue. He just did it, then flew by the competition They’d never seen us coming. Now we were on the inside, saving ground. About three quarters through the race, Circus shortened his stride, but was only taking a breather. I did not carry a whip, I knew he’d give me what he had. After the last fence, I shook the reins, and scrubbed him out with my hands and legs. He opened his lead on the rest of the field and we won!
I’ve never been so internally focused. When I finally managed to pull the horse up, I saw my mother standing by the rail waving at me. It was so hard to mentally leave the race and re-enter the normal world, that it took me a while to figure out who she was and why she was there.
When I reached her, she was crying, and said, “Don’t you ever do that again!”
Find Sasscer's novel, The Dark Side of Town HERE
Facebook author page:


  1. Brenda, thank so much for having me on today. I really enjoyed writing this post. On the 19th of April they will announce the winner of the $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Award for Best Book in Racing Literature.I'm one of three finalists and up against Felix Francis! Wish me luck.