This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.


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Monday, September 27, 2021

THE SAND POUNDERS OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD DURING WWII

 It's not your fault if you have never heard of the Sand Pounders...most people haven't! 


For two years during World War 2, the U.S. Coast Guard had a mounted beach patrol. After the U.S. was attacked by Japan on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the call went out to Horsemen across the country to enlist in the new division of the Coast Guard called the Sand Pounders. Their job was threefold: 

“We have been tasked with protecting American shores against sabotage, enemy submarines, and enemy landings. We have three basic functions: to detect and observe enemy vessels operating in coastal waters and to transmit information thus obtained to the appropriate Navy and Army commands, to report attempts of landing by the enemy and to assist in preventing such activity, and to prevent communication between persons on shore and the enemy at sea.” (The Sand Pounder pg. 66)

Cowboys, jockeys, show jumpers, horse trainers, and rodeo riders answered the call. In all, 24,000 men signed up to patrol 3700 miles of coastline on the east coast, the west coast, and along the Gulf coast. 

I was born in 1951, just a few years after WWII ended. My family lived in Oregon and we often went to the Oregon Coast. My father took us to Fort Stevens, the only place in the continental U.S. that was shelled during the war. He talked to us about the war but he never mentioned the Sand Pounders!

It was just a few years ago that I stumbled upon them. I began researching. I was able to get a copy of the newly released confidential report that the Coast Guard had submitted so many years before. I researched for a year. (Which is why I haven't written a blog post for so long!)

Thus...my new novel was born! 

"The Sand Pounder - Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII" is a young adult to adult historical fiction. Set on the Oregon coast, it is the story of an older teen who wants to become a sand pounder. The only problem is, SHE is a girl and they are only taking men. Let's just say it is a "Mulan" story- if you know what I mean! I mixed in a lot of horse stuff, a little romance, and information about both the Sand Pounders and what life was like for citizens during world war 2. 

I am honored to receive the Maincrest Media Award for outstanding Historical Fiction before the book was even released. The release date is September 28th, 2021. 
Here is what the critics are saying: 
“Evans’ writing and use of descriptive imagery is incredible.” Maincrest Media Awards

 “The Sand Pounder is one of those rare historical novels with a charm that appeals to both young and old readers.” Vincent Dublado for Readers’ Favorite

 “M.J. Evans does an excellent job of winding the era's history and the lesser-known job of the Sand Pounders into a realistic story of a mature teen's determination to make a difference in her world.” Diane Donovan for Midwest Book Review:

 “A gripping YA historical novel packed full of twists, turns, and memorable characters. Highly recommended!”  The Wishing Shelf Book Review(UK)


This fun and informative book is available NOW on my website: 
and wherever books are sold. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Bold Minstrel - A Heroic Horse For All Seasons!






 Bold Minstrel ridden by owner William Haggard at Devon in the hunter classes.

    When I was growing up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, I purchased a dapple gray 3/4 Arabian with my own money. Because Tai was such a wonderful horse, dapple-gray became my favorite color! As a result of my love of dapple-gray horses, I want to share some information with you about a fabulous, famous horse named Bold Minstrel. 
    Bold Minstrel is the only horse in history to medal in three Pan American Games and one Olympic Games in two different disciplines: Eventing and show jumping. This amazingly talented thoroughbred was born in 1952 (or 1951 depending on the source,) in Camargo, Ohio. He was purchased by William Haggard as a five-year-old. Haggard loved riding him in hunter classes and eventing. (Dressage, cross-country jumping, and stadium jumping.) Because he was such a big, stocky horse, Billy nicknamed him "Fatty." By jumper standards, he was quite fat. 
    Haggard began showing Fatty in hunter classes, his flashy looks and beautiful form winning him numerous championships. Then Haggard switched to eventing, earning a spot on the U.S. Team in the Pan Am Games in 1959 where the team came home with the silver medal. Four years later, the team came home with the gold in San Paulo, Brazil. Between the two games, Haggard and Bold Minstrel still had fun winning in the hunter ring. 
    Surprisingly, the team was not selected for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, when J. Michael Plumb's horse, Markham, had to be euthanized on the flight over, Haggard loaned Bold Minstrel to the veteran rider. Bold Minstrel was flown over to Japan just two weeks before the competition. You and I might be awfully nervous about riding a new, strange horse in the OLYMPICS after only two weeks of training.  The talented horse caught the eye of the famous Olympic Equestrian, William Steinkraus. For several years, Steinkraus tried to convince Haggard to compete with the horse in Jumpers, or let him do it. So, when the horse was twelve years old, Haggard loaned him to Steinkraus.

    

Bold Minstral being shown by Bill Steinkraus

    Steinkraus remarked that the horse was not only brave and talented, but had a mind of his own when it came to completing a jump course of enormous jumps.Nothing made owner William Haggard more proud than when Fatty broke the world record in the old Madison Square Garden, winning the International Puissance by clearing the 7'3" wall!


Fatty was retired from competition at the age of 18. After that, he returned to the Haggard farm where he enjoyed a life of Fox Hunting. Bold Minstrel has been inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. 


Learn about another famous horse: "PINTO" the holder of the record for the longest horseback ride in history!
Click here to get the book about him from Amazon: 
Click here to get the book from Barnes and Noble:






Tuesday, December 22, 2020


Please enjoy this author interview by "AllAuthor"


Q.What is one lesser-known fact about your childhood?
I bought my own horse when I was 13 and had to support him myself. I babysat, cleaned houses, and walked polo ponies between chukkas (the play period.) I loved that horse, and I was so busy taking care of him, I never had time to get in trouble!

Q. Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?
My grandkids!!! They always tell me how much they love my books. That keeps me going.

Q. How would you describe your experience as a former teacher?
I loved teaching teens and pre-teens. I enjoyed the depth I could get into with my high school students, but I loved the energy of the younger teens in Junior High. I also learned that a good teacher is kind of like being on stage and entertaining an audience.!

Q. Why do you mostly write about horses or horse-fantasy creatures?
I have been a horse-lover since birth...I call it "being born with manure in my blood!" I started taking riding lessons when I was eight. When I wasn't on a horse, I war reading both fiction and non-fiction books about them. Thus, I developed a love of reading as well. Fantasy has always been a favorite genre of mine so combining fantasy and horses seemed like the perfect fit. have expanded my horse stories to include "coming of age," and "historical fiction" to challenge myself.

Q. What developed your love for horses?
As I mentioned, I was born loving horses. Owning my own horse and sacrificing to take care of him served only to deepen my love. Your love increases as you serve and sacrifice.

Q. What inspired your first original story? Did you share the tale with anyone?
My first book was a non-fiction book titled: "Riding Colorado." it is an equestrian trail guide book and is the first of a now, four-bok series about trails to ride in and around colorado. I researched and wrote those books for the selfish reason that I wanted to find all the cool trails to ride. I had five other horse friends testing the trails with me, so, yes, I shared the experience with them. 


As we would drive to the trailheads, I would tell them the fiction story I was creating that became "Behind the Mist-Book One of the Mist Trilogy."


Q. What is the significance of the title of your book, "In the Heart of a Mustang?
For several years, I worked for PATH, Intl,., The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. There I witnessed the healing power of horses not only for disabled and handicapped people, (I write about that in "PERCY-The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run,") but I was also touched by the effect horses have on troubled teens. I coupled that with my  interest in the bands of wild mustangs running free in ten western states and came up with "In the Heart of a Mustang." People who have adopted these wonderful horses love them so much.





Q. How much did you research about the longest Horseback ride in history while writing your book, "PINTO!"?
"PINTO!" took me two and a half years to research and many miles of travel. I started doing research on the internet. I found a little...just enough to pique my curiosity. I traveled to Oklahoma City to visit the National Western and Cowboy Museum. the research librarian didn't even know they had a collection of material. But, after searching in their basement, they found a box of original photographs and a few articles from the time. I went up to Bainbridge Island, Washinton to their little historical museum and was greeted like royalty. They were so excited that I was going to write about their hometown heroes. They have a permanent exhibit of the Overland Westerners and a driftwood sculpture of Pinto. In their collection are all the original journals still in existence that two of the men kept. I was able to take home a flash drive with the transcriptions of the journals. I read every word and highlight the events that Pinto could tell about. It was so much fun!





Friday, December 4, 2020

HORSE BOOKS MAKE GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFTS!

 Happy holidays! I teamed up with a whole herd of equestrian authors to bring you some virtual holiday cheer on the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. In the special holiday episode, we share our favorite horsey holiday memories and some great christmas gift recommendations because horse books make great gifts. Plus, we are getting into the holiday spirit with a spur jingling giveaway for our readers!

The Horse Books Make Great Gifts Giveaway ($200 value) includes:
Eight full-length paperbacks of each book in the Horses, Hearts & Havoc collection
Beautiful pillow to prop on while reading
Snuggly blanket to wrap around yourself while immersed in a story
Holiday Tin Collection from Grey Horse Candle Company
Mug for sipping your favorite hot beverage — tea and hot chocolate included
Door hanger to keep interruptions at bay
Canvas tote bag to carry it all
Padfolio for making notes
Set of fun equestrian magnets
Watch the full video packed with holiday cheer and enter the giveaway here: https://www.carlykadecreative.com/.../a-horsey-holiday...

Here is my contribution to the effort:




Pinto Update Nov v1 1

Sunday, September 20, 2020

PINTO! Receives its 10th Literary Award!

I'm excited to tell you that my historical fiction novel, "PINTO! Based Upon the True Story of the Longest Horseback Ride in History" received the first place award for middle-grade history from the Chanticleer Book Awards! If you love horse stories ala "Black Beauty," you will love PINTO!



PINTO! is available on my website: www.dancinghorsepress.com

Or on Amazon: PINTO!
Or on Barnes and Noble: PINTO!