My Book: Riding Horseback in Purple

The Dream

As a child, I dreamed of owning a horse.  But those dreams went dormant with the realities of life: making a living, raising children, feeling trapped in a city.  I set the dream aside.  But I also lived frugally and craved a life where I could hear frog and bird songs, and see the stars.

In my late fifties, I thought it’s now or never.  And I took the plunge and bought a beautiful, well-trained Norwegian Fjord Horse mare.  Fortunately, I had no idea how many steep learning curves I would need to climb.  Those learning curves were eventually shared in my new book: Riding Horseback in Purple.

The Book

Although I have always loved writing, I had no plans to write a book about horses or work with horses.  Hundreds of experts have done that very nicely.

Then I broke my shoulder.  Well–to be perfectly honest–I had a horse accident and smashed my shoulder.  I couldn’t do much of anything for a several weeks and I couldn’t ride for several months.  Friends started to say: “You have learned so much; you should write a book!”  At first, I smiled politely.  Then I started to think about it.  I was not an expert in dressage or nutrition or hoof care or colic or saddle fitting.  But I was an “expert” at being an adult beginner.  I already had expertise in adult learning and leadership through my education and career.  I knew how to do research and interview people to draw on their experiences.  Perhaps I did have something to offer?

Norwegian Fjord Horses

There are many well-known breeds of horses such as Thoroughbred and the American Quarter Horse.  But as I researched different types of horses, I encountered a rare breed that captivated my interest.  “Fjords” are sturdy, strong, versatile and often calm horses with a reputation of being good for beginners.  The more I learned, the more determined I was to build a relationship with the right Fjord horse. It took many years for that to happen and I haven’t regretted my decisions for an instant.

Disney Studios | The Norwegian Fjord Horse in the lower left is my horse's sire, Prisco.

Disney Studios | The Norwegian Fjord Horse in the lower left is my horse’s sire, Prisco.

Riding Horseback in Purple

The “Riding Horseback” part is obvious, but why Purple?  This was inspired by Jenny Joseph’s famous poem: When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.  It is a poem of assertion and rebellion: about mature women shedding society’s expectations and following their dreams.  It fit.

Although Riding Horseback in Purple is not exclusively about the Norwegian Fjord breed, Fjords figure prominently.  Fjords are quite spectacular in many ways, and not well known.  You may know that Disney’s movie “Frozen” features a Fjord named Sitron.

Around the time Frozen was released, I learned that Sitron was modelled after my horse’s sire Prisco.  You can see Prisco’s photo in the lower left.  It is exciting to have these links between the book, my horse, her sire and their former owner, Lori Albrough.  To learn more, visit Lori’s blog.

I am delighted that Riding Horseback in Purple has been getting five-star reviews and you can easily purchase it internationally through many outlets as a paperback or e-book.

More about Riding Horseback in Purple.

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4 Responses to “My Book: Riding Horseback in Purple”

  1. Tasia HooperJanuary 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

    I am interested in this book!!!

    • Alice MacGillivrayJuly 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      I don’t know if I ever replied to you Tasia! Hopefully you know it is available through, and theoretically many thousands of other outlets.

  2. Yvonne ArmstrongJuly 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Hello Alice,

    I was intrigued when I saw your paper on our resource list for module 2. I went and found it on the RRU library site and was even more fascinated as it relates to an industry I am involved in, nuclear. I found your site at the bottom of your paper and came to investigate. I now want to purchase your book (when I have free time to read for leisure!), as your description screamed at me, “about mature women shedding society’s expectations and following their dreams”. I have done that in many facets of my life, namely quitting a well-paying job to follow my dream of completing a Masters, and finding a new passion, competing in fitness competitions in my late 40s. Not to mention I am a big DIsney fan and Frozen in my favourite of all.
    Thank you for inspiring me and I am purchasing this book to read in a year’s time!

  3. Alice MacGillivrayJuly 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks for the note Yvonne! I am in awe of your fitness competition hobby. Isn’t it fun how exploring one new thing can lead to many new and surprising things?

    When you get the book, you will see other photos of Prisco (Dutch) who inspired the Disney horses.

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