Rose Miller – Horse Author Interview

Rose & Praise Hallelujah

Image from Connie Kleiman

Rose Miller

Website & Places you can find me online
Her Book: The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot

Where I am
I live in the Goshen area in northern Indiana close to Notre Dame on a 75 acre horse farm.

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was raised on a farm in north central Pennsylvania next to the vast, beautiful Tioga State Forest, and went to a one room country school from grade 3 to 8.

My sister and I got our horses when I was 15 and she was 10. We wandered around those forest lands and thought we were in Heaven.

I married my husband Hal when I was 19. We moved to Indiana and I worked with him in his chiropractic office. We lived on a quaint little farm in Middlebury, Indiana, during our early years, but a tornado in 1965 destroyed it. Years later we moved to our present farm where I pursued my childhood dream of raising horses. We raised four children: a son and 3 daughters, but lost our oldest daughter, Sharon, to breast cancer in 2004. Now we have two young granddaughters who love the horses and all our animals. I am 70 years young and enjoy writing about all my many animal friends.

The Horse That Wouldn't TrotWhen did you first start writing about horses?
In 1993 I wrote an article for Voice Magazine, the official Tennessee Walking Horse publication, about Tennessee Walking Horse conformation and how it is different from trotting horses. Since then I have written several articles for several Walking Horse publications, and then the big book project.

Tell us about your newest book The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot.
It tells of my 30 year long journey to become a horsewoman: the joys, disappointments, disillusionments, and accomplishments of owning and loving horses. It is a memoir type, but many lessons can be learned as I relate my experiences.

I also trace some of the history of the Tennessee Walking Horse, and expose an ugly secret used by some trainers of show horses to get their horses to gait in an extreme style, called “soring.”

My hope is that as more horse and animal lovers hear about this abuse, they will complain to their congressmen for more USDA horse show inspections. A portion of all my sales is donated to NWHA and FOSH two active organizations that fight soring.

Why Tennessee Walkers? 
Well, I certainly didn’t start out wanting this fabulous breed. I had loved the Arabian horses since I was a child, but when I got my first Arabians I discovered to my great dismay, I couldn’t ride them! Their spirited trots killed my back.

It was my husband who told me about “the horse that didn’t trot,” the Tennessee Walking Horse, and suggested strongly that I had better investigate.

Rose & Praise Hallelujah

Image from David Pruett

You’ve also written articles for various publications. Do you enjoy the lengthy process of a novel or the quicker nature of articles more? 
Honestly, I like both. I enjoy sharing my expertise quickly via articles, but the book has been a marvelous and even spiritual experience. I became much more immersed in the book. It became a healing process, helping me deal with the loss of my daughter and some of my beloved horses.

Who are your main literary influences?
I never aspired to become a writer, it just sort of happened. The books I enjoy most are animal non-fiction of all kinds. However, Mark Rashid is a horse trainer/clinician and author of many horse books, and his early ones were written in a conversational storytelling manner, but shared all types of horse related incidents and lessons. I learned a lot from his books, especially, “Horses Never Lie.” He argues that horses love passive leadership more than alpha leadership. When I began writing my stories, I discovered I was telling my experiences much as Mark had: in storytelling fashion. As a child, I loved Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. I read them all and that is why my first horse was an Arabian.

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Yes, strangely, it is a Jersey cow we had on my childhood farm.

Her name was Buttercup and of all the animals in my life, including amazing dogs and splendid horses, when I cross over to the great green pasture in the sky, I will run to greet her.

She fulfilled a great need as a confidante to a young child, teenager and young wife. I will always love Buttercup.

Rose, Black Cashmier & Final Praise

Image from Terry Young

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Three years ago, we remodeled the master bedroom. It expanded across the whole end of the house and is encompassed on three sides by big trees. Sitting there is like being in a tree house. I can leave the noise and stress of life by closing the door and entering my retreat.

What effect do you think the Internet has had on writing in general?
I think it is a great way to share books with other authors and animal lovers via networking. It has made research so much easier. I think it encourages people to try their hand at authoring a book.

Has it had an effect on yours?
Without the internet I would never have contemplated writing, publishing and marketing a book myself. I have met many helpful people on the internet, including the Equinest!

What else are you passionate about?
It is a quiet type of abiding passion, but all my life I have been passionate about finding the direction God wants me to travel. I try to see the openings He presents and walk through the doors. This book is a good example and our family may be moving to Arizona, a land with much more sun than dreary northern Indiana. If He continues to make that path, we will move our human and animal family west. After living through a deadly tornado, Hal and I are convinced there is a Divine plan for our lives.

Can you give us a sneak peek into your next book?
After 30 years of breeding, training and showing my horses, I retired and bought gaited riding mules!

Rose & Charlie

My next book: Broomtails and Longears: The Adventures and Misadventures of a New Mule Owner is pretty self-explanatory, but I ended up falling head over heels in love with mules.

The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot will be here in time for holiday buyers, when do you expect it to be available for purchase? 
December 1. Information on purchasing will be on my website.

Last question – If you only had one sentence to convince someone who is afraid of horses to get on one, what would you say?
I don’t think I would. I watched my young 2 year-old granddaughter refuse to get in the saddle with her mom. I was keenly disappointed, but by giving her time, a year later she wanted to do it after seeing a cousin ride. I think it might be an inner connection and drive. Not everyone should become a rider. If they love horses, there are many other things they can do with or for them other than ride.

More to Come

Thanks to Rose for answering the interview and sharing her work. Be sure to check out her website & her blog for the latest information about her book.

Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.

9 Comments on “Rose Miller – Horse Author Interview

  1. Mary Ann (Douglass) VanDruff

    Rose, I can’t wait to purchase your book. I have always had a love for horses and always had one while growing up in those beautiful hill of PA. Have been married to a college professor for 46 years and have lived in the Syracuse, NY area. I have thought about you over the years and wondered where you were. A former classmate Mary Ann

  2. Regi Simmons

    Hi Rose,
    How exciting for you. I am placing an order for my copy of your book and can’t wait to read it. Good luck and thank you for all you have done to help our wonderful breed, Tennesse Walking Horse. I do miss seeing you show your horses.
    Regi Simmons

  3. Shelby Burge

    I’ve known you Rose for six and a half years now and I still love to read all about your adventures. I’ve learned so much from you and at your barn and it amazes me to think how much it has changed me! I started out as a sad, nervous young girl who knew absolutely nothing about anything equine and now I am a confident, enthusiastic rider. Not only that, but through you I have been introduced into the wonderful world of the Tennessee Walking Horse and have met some of the most outstanding horses over the years! You’re book is a treasure and it beautifully enlightens every reader to the challenges of horse-ownership as well as the appalling techniques used in the show world.

  4. Joni Solis

    Wonderful interview and sounds like an exciting life and good book.

    Rose, what about a book about Buttercup the cow. I think people really need to learn more about the animal we call a cow. They are not just for eating. By the way, are you a vegan?

  5. Joni Solis

    I have often thought that a gaited mule would be one of the safest equines if trained right. They are much less of a flight animal than a horse.

  6. Rose Miller

    I am sorry I did not reply when your wrote, I just saw this today. Anyway, the very first part of my life has cow stories. Most of that book is in the computer. I am working on the next book about all our dogs. Have not decided on a title yet. I want it to be out before Christmas 2014 for gifts.

  7. David

    I am rereading” The Horse That Wouldn’t Trot”, a book I treasure. Love our unregistered TWH and a MFT. Lived in Goshen for many years as a student at Goshen College and years later taught there before moving West. Now live in the high desert in eastern NV, semiretired on a family cattle ranch. Just ordered Mules and Miss Muffit. Please keep writing adding to the love of animals books by Joe Camp, Parelli. Walker and so many others! David

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