More visual inspiration-excerpt #3

April 7, 2013

Since my novel spans so many years I needed a vision of an older Preston and Konrad so I trolled the internet for more images. I don’t know if other writers work this way, but as I said, I need a visual or a playlist to help me along. Of course I could continue to use more images of Nacho Figueras, the to-die-for face of Ralph Lauren Polo, but I had someone a little different in mind.

Here’s an older Preston and Konrad, plus another excerpt.

This scene takes place in Seville, Spain where the boys have gone to check out the Andalusian horses.

The next morning, we took a bus to a stud farm in Jerez de la Frontera. We passed the two-hour drive by feasting on the bocadillos we’d purchased at the bar near the hostel. The “sandwiches” were stuffed with salty Iberian ham and goat cheese, and we shared a wedge of cold potato omelet spiked with chorizo. Two liters of mineral water helped to wash down the hefty breakfast, and then we napped the rest of the way. By the time we arrived at Finca Mejia, where the horses were bred and controlled, we were eager to begin our tour.

I’d never seen an Andalusian, although I’d heard about this special breed. Anyone who loved horses knew they existed, but few had the money to own one. Highly prized as a warhorse, due to their speed and agility, their numbers had dwindled throughout the centuries. After reaching dangerously low levels, exportation of mares had been strictly forbidden to give Spanish and Portuguese breeders the opportunity to develop and expand their stock. The majority of them were bred here in the Andalusia province of Spain, thus the name. In Portugal they were called Lusitanos. Universally, they were known as the pure Spanish or Iberian horse.

Kon and I sat side by side with other prospective buyers and horse aficionados, hardly able to contain our excitement. The owner of this particular stud farm was quite aware of the impact his animals made as they entered the arena. There was a collective murmur from the crowd when the string of horses stopped within ten feet of the wooden fence separating them from the audience. They were magnificent! Most of them were gray and averaged fifteen and a half hands. Abundantly thick manes and long flowing tails set low and tight against their bodies, were distinctive features.

Before the animals were allowed to circle the ring so we could admire them from different angles, the owner gave a brief lecture on the origin of this ancient breed. In heavily accented English, he explained that these horses had lived on the Iberian Peninsula for thousands of years. Known for their strong but elegant build, they were prized as a war or cavalry horse until mounted knights began using heavier and heavier armor. They were soon replaced with larger but slower moving draft horses. The trend was later reversed with the development of firearms and the need for a more rapid and agile animal.

“Why were they in such demand?” a visitor asked. “They’re good looking but so is the Arabian.”

The owner of the farm was a white-haired gentleman who sat on a horse like a warrior. The pride in his voice was clearly evident as he extolled the virtues of this particular breed. “These horses evolved in hilly and rugged terrains, señor. Fighting for survival and grazing amidst the rocky landscape led to the development of a strong arched neck, hind legs positioned well underneath the body, with strong hock action, and small rounded hoofs. These attributes make the horse much more agile than the standard Arabian or other breeds, and they are, without a doubt, quite beautiful.”

“I see,” the man nodded.

“But your prices are outrageous,” another person commented. “I can buy two thoroughbreds for the price of one Andalusian.”

“You can also drive a Fiat rather than a Mercedes,” the Spaniard acknowledged haughtily. “Furthermore, your attitude has already cost you one of my animals. I suggest you visit another stud farm if you intend to buy.”

“My money is as good as anyone else’s,” the guy volleyed.

“It’s not always about money,” the Spaniard replied. “I’m very selective about my buyers. I would never sell one of my horses to anyone who couldn’t fully appreciate its value.”

“Bah!” the prospective buyer spat out before standing and blundering out of the arena.

“Shall we proceed?” the Spaniard asked coldly, scanning the rest of us to see if there were other visitors who wanted to join the deserter.

“Yes,” the group begged collectively.

What followed was an educational afternoon, learning about his magnificent animals, their care, their bloodlines, and their availability. We drifted off into small groups, each with a guide, so we could ask questions and take our time without worrying about someone else’s agenda. Our companion was Miguel, a young Gaucho about Kon’s age. He walked and talked with the swagger of ownership, which prompted me to ask, “Are you a family member?”

“Don Alvaro is my grandfather.”

“The old dude?”

Si.” Yes, he said, nodding.

“Is he as tough as he sounds?”

Miguel laughed. “Tougher.”

“I know all about those kind of men,” I admitted. “My Dad is demanding as hell.”

Abuelo loves his animals more than anything else.”

Konrad whistled suddenly and we stopped. “Now, that is a beauty,” he said, walking toward a frisky young mare that pranced as he approached. She was dark gray with a snowy white mane and tail. Her oval eyes sparkled with intelligence, and she bobbed her head as Kon got closer, acknowledging his presence with a flick of her tail and a flutter of long lashes.

“She’s flirting with him,” I said, astounded.

Es una coqueta, a teaser,” Miguel said.

“She’s a sweetheart,” Kon said, stroking her gently. “What’s her name?”

“Dulce,” Miguel said. “It means ‘sweet’.”

“What a perfect name,” Kon said admiringly. “May I ride her?”

“What is your profession if you don’t mind my asking?” Miguel stated, trained to cross-examine potential riders.

“I’m a professional polo player.”

Miguel looked Konrad up and down appreciatively. His eyes lingered a little too long, in my opinion, making my hackles rise. The young Spaniard was just as hot as Kon in a swarthier, dark-haired kind of way. If I hadn’t been so madly in love, I would have paid a lot more attention to the slim-hipped brunet who was staring at Konrad with blatant interest.

7 Responses to “More visual inspiration-excerpt #3”

  1. Juliana says:

    These are a couple of yummy men! ;) Thanks for the excerpt!
    OceanAkers @ aol.com

  2. mickie b. ashling says:

    You’re welcome, Juliana!

  3. Penumbra says:

    Oh my, gorgeous! :D Count me in please!

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. mickie b. ashling says:

    Very inspiring:) You’re in, Penumbra.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Yup, that picture sure makes it apparent why Kon’s getting all that attention!
    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  6. mickie b. ashling says:

    His eyes are so arresting:) Thanks for commenting, Carolyn.

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