|My gelding, Bud and George the burro.|
|My new mare Lily.|
Before the automobile, how many and what kind of horses a family had determined their livelihood and how much money they had. Farmers needed draft horses for planting and harvesting their crops. Cowboys needed horses to take care of the herds of cattle. Horses were needed to pull buggies, wagons, and stage coaches to move people and freight before the trains made their way across the country.
Because the animals were considered for their work and not for pleasure, most weren't named from affection but more as a way to distinguish one from another when talking about them. The animals were treated well, but not pampered like today's horses that wear blankets in the cold and fly masks in the summer.
They received ample feed, were brushed and rubbed down after use, and put out to pasture when they were no longer strong enough to do their jobs. Or they became the babysitter for young children in the family beginning to learn to ride.
All my westerns, historical and contemporary, have horses in them. Some also have dogs and cattle. The heroine in my action adventure series has a pet cockatoo. I tried having a bird for a pet at one time, but couldn't stand the mess they made.
What is your favorite pet? Is there an animal from a book that has stuck with you? Or a character who was fond of animals?