My current work in progress involves chariot racing, and given its substantial equine components, I’ve recruited the aid of horse owners Julie and The Boyz’ Mom to keep it real. (For more about them, read this post.) They love sharing about their horses, and I love learning from them, and hopefully you’ll get some entertainment out of our exchanges.
I recently revised a scene involving messengers on horseback. My critique group didn’t feel connected to the main character, and I decided to elaborate on the sensory details as these riders come galloping up.
The thing is, I’ve gotten close to horses before, but not after they’ve galloped for miles. And while I understand horses generate a variety of body fluids, I’ve no idea what their aerodynamics are.
So of course I went to my horse experts to find out if any of the following could happen:
A. Sweat from the horses landing on my MC
B. Foam( spit) from the horses’ mouths landing on her
C. Her getting a big whiff of the smell of horse sweat
The last one scenario, by the way, was based off my experiences with my runner husband. After a marathon, I can smell him coming.
As for the answer… apparently all of them are possible.
A horse that is accepting of a bit will have foamy drool, and it can fly everywhere, including all over their chest and front legs. If the horse shakes its head, it could certainly fly all over. Same with lather, again, depending on how hot the horse is. If the horse is right in front of her, it would be breathing hard from a long gallop, so she could feel the horse huffing on her. I don’t think horses stink with they are working, but i am probably immune. Most people who work around horses are.
The Boyz’ Mom added:
Yes indeed … Julie is on the money.
Horse sweat smells sweet and warm like musk or sandalwood. I love it.
Horse sweat and saliva can goooo flying to be sure.
The sweat is foamy and the saliva can be like a big foam stringer. I’ve been pelted many a time. Most horse people get their share so no biggy.
I love her description of the aroma of horse. Perhaps perfumers should take note and investigate horse perspiration as a potential new ingredient. (Or maybe they already use it and we just don’t realize it :))
At any rate, I am indebted to my experts once more (thank you!!!) and reminded yet again that a horse-sized helping of gross is all part of being an equestrian.