top of page

About the Author

Lenore Mitchell


Mysteries lurk everywhere. We plan our tomorrows, but there's no guarantee that things will unfold as expected. So in a broad sense, the future is an evolving mystery. Some of my stories begin with a death, and final pages often shock. But my intent isn't to dwell on the end of life, but rather on the choices we humans make and the consequences that follow. We're driven by desires of many sorts. Most of us 'color within the lines' so to speak, but others rage against norms. 

Like most writers, I’ve always loved reading, everything from Isaac Asimov’s Sci-fi to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian tales and JK Rowling’s fabulous wizarding world. Mysteries occupy lots of space on my bookshelves, and an entire section about horses reveals a life-long obsession. A Colorado native, I lived with my family in the mountains west of Denver for many years, along with dogs, cats, occasional orphaned raccoons and skunks. And horses. Lots of horses. Both my daughters have always ridden and ‘barn time’ is part of their lives and remains a favorite part of mine as well.

Grab yourself a cup of tea (or whatever you like!), settle into a comfy chair and 'ride along' with the Everything Equine Mystery Series! 




The photo above shows Babe and I competing in a pair-pace one gorgeous fall day.

This involves a two-mile timed jump course, and it's loads of fun! 

Having contributed immeasurably to early human mobility, horses now serve as everything from pasture ornaments to the muscular portion of competitive duos. They’re powerful but they’re prey animals while humans are puny but we’re predators, and yet horses allow us to ride them. That’s downright weird. It’s great, though, because they have a lot to offer, especially in our tech-crazy world. As lives become ever more stressful and complex, our need to connect with nature increases and horses provide one portal. There's nothing like a quiet ride in a shady forest on a favorite horse. At the same time, some horses, mustangs, for instance, can be lightning rods for conflict. I include horses in my stories because controversial or not, these majestic animals are good to be around, and relaxing to read about.



This sketch of Babe is by my beloved daughter, Jennifer, who always supported and encouraged me. She was a graphic designer and made the first version of this page in 2019.

                                              I love her and miss her so very much!

                             Jennifer Mitchell Hancey   February 3, 1973 - August 1, 2020

Although I managed to save enough money to ride occasionally as a child, I was twenty-six-years old and Mom of a toddler when I bought my first horse. Skipper was a bay whose training left something to be desired while the riding lessons I’d taken left gaps in my skill set. No surprise then, that most rides began with a reluctant walk away from the boarding stable, followed by the gelding’s whirl and gallop back home with me clinging on for dear life. That was a short-lived pairing, followed by more riding lessons on various school horses.


Then Babe came into my life. A three-year old Half-Arab. Her registered name, Miss Wapiti, meaning elk, because she was born in the Wapiti Valley north of Yellowstone. She had never been ridden! All I could afford was one month of training for her, but with riding lessons  from a strict British horsewoman and an even stricter German instructor, I mostly stayed in the saddle while Babe taught me about riding and about life. She was a drop dead gorgeous dark chestnut with four white socks and a blaze face, but her disposition was the best thing about her. For the thirty-seven years she was part of our family (yes, she lived to age forty!), she served as a patient teacher for me and both of my daughters on their journeys to life-long love of horses.

Sure, I fell off a time or two in the beginning, but she never bucked nor reared – not ever. One early incident stands out, though. While taking a lesson from a talented and soft spoken dressage rider named Colleen, Babe swerved one way while I swerved opposite, toppling to the ground. It didn’t help that my saddle, a brand new English Stubben, had very stiff leather. But it was totally my fault, and my abrupt exit pulled the saddle around to one side. Babe freaked out and took off, jumping a fence and galloping off into a field with the saddle in that ackward position, stirrups slapping her legs. I raced after her, caught her and picked up the saddle, which had fallen to the ground, surprisingly unharmed. When we returned to Colleen, I was sobbing but Babe was fine. Colleen regarded the two of us for a moment before saying “maybe this isn’t the right horse for you,” which made me cry even more because I loved Babe and wanted so much to be a better rider.

That happened, over time. Babe and I visited Colleen regularly for dressage lessons followed by long rides over open country beside Colleen and her Thoroughbred. Gradually, my riding improved enough that I seldom hit the dirt, although I never attained anything more than Training level in dressage nor more than about three feet over fences.

Then came the real riding. NATRC stands for North American Trail Riding Conference. There’s no ‘conference’ involved, just lots of saddle time. Long distance competitive trail riding challenges and then solidifies the partnership between horse and human. The standard distance for the Open division is sixty miles over two days (eight hours ride one day, about five hours the next). These rides aren’t races, but are timed with deductions for completing too early as well as too late. Oh, and these trails are seldom level. Nope, they involve ups and downs, water crossings and negotiating downed timber. There’s always a mandatory trot, followed immediately by the rider dismounting while a team checks the horse’s pulse and respiration, and then a veterinarian assesses each animal for signs of good condition, indicated partly by the initial pulse and respiration recovery to normal after ten minutes of rest (pulse 48/minute, respirations12). If recovery P & R isn’t within normal range, the team is held back for another ten minutes. Unconditioned or lame horses are pulled from the competition. Random vet checks also occur after a long climb or some other exertion. Riders are judged on proper care of their horse in camp and horsemanship on the ride.

There’s nothing like eight hours in the saddle for really getting to know your horse, and letting them get to know you, too. Rides don’t stop for rain, for hail, for lightning. If you’re lucky, there’ll be some shade to enjoy during the lunch stop, but if it’s raining, you’ll huddle under a poncho and make the best of it while your horse stands tied nearby, doing the same.

Babe and I completed over a thousand miles of NATRC rides in 60 mile increments, and I have a bunch of blue ribbons we earned. But we rode endless miles to get both of us in shape for competitions. Tack included an English saddle and a mild Western hackamore, which has no bit (mouth-piece), and then a halter underneath and a lead-rope loosely secured around Babe’s neck for tying her to trees. Lunch, and the all important hoof pick were in a cantle bag behind my saddle along with a tightly rolled poncho. When first one daughter and then the other reached 11 years of age, they each joined me on a half dozen or so NATRC rides. I loved riding with them, and of course I put them on Babe and rode one of my other horses or sometimes one belonging to a good friend. Every single horse I ever ride makes me appreciate Babe more. She was truly my one in a million mare, my friend, which is why she’ll appear in some way in every novel I write. She’s gone now, but she remains with me in spirit forever.


Photos of Babe and a few of the many horses that we enjoyed over the years.

bottom of page