Horse Ownership in Colorado,  Local Highlight

Local Highlight: Sarah V. Barnes

Meet Sarah V. Barnes

Greetings fellow Colorado horse lovers!

I’ve been invited to introduce myself and tell you a little about She Who Rides Horses: A Saga of the Ancient Steppe (Book One). Set in more than 6,000 years ago, the novel begins the story of Naya, the first person to tame and ride a horse. It recently won the 2022 Best Indie Book Award for historical fiction AND the EQUUS Film & Arts Fest 2022 Winnie Award, also for historical fiction, as well as receiving numerous five-star reader reviews. Not bad for an aging horsewoman’s first effort as a novelist.

Here’s the quick synopsis:

Daughter of a clan chief, bolder than the other girls but shunned by the boys because of her unusual appearance, Naya wanders alone through the vast grasslands where her people herd cattle and hunt wild horses for their meat. But Naya dreams of creating a different kind of relationship with the magnificent creatures. One day, she discovers a filly with a chestnut coast as uncommon as her own head of red hair. With time running out before she is called to assume the responsibilities of adulthood, Naya embarks on a quest to gallop with the filly across the boundless steppe. Unwittingly, she sets in motion forces and events that will change forever the future of humans and horses alike.

Based on extensive interdisciplinary research, She Who Rides Horses imagines an encounter between a girl and a horse that is both timeless and grounded in fact. First and foremost a story, filled with adventure, peril, love and betrayal, the saga of Naya and the red filly also portrays fundamental shifts that occurred when humans went from living as herders and hunter/gatherers, dependent on their own two feet, to becoming mounted nomads, capable of spreading their language, lifestyle and beliefs across a huge swath of Eurasia and beyond. The domestication of the horse altered the course of history, transforming power dynamics, impacting gender relations and accelerating the diffusion of new assumptions about the nature of the cosmos and the relationship between humans and the natural world that we are still living with today. This is how it may have all begun…

I didn’t set out to write this book. I’m a local horseperson, active in the Colorado horse community for over two decades. Based at Nighthawk Equestrian Center, my teaching and coaching business, Anam Cara Equestrian [ ], offers instruction in riding as a meditative art as well as equine-facilitated wellness workshops. In a former life, I earned a Ph.D. in history and spend many years as a college professor. While I’ve always loved both horses and stories about the past, I never dreamed of combining the two as a writer.

To find out more about how some mysterious force in the university brought all my passions together, follow the link to Where Stories Dwell [ ]

If you are interesting in learning more about the history of horse domestication as well as the emerging role horses are playing in our shared future, follow the link to The Rest is History [ ]

And to read the first chapter of the novel, follow the link to Sneak Peak [ ]

If you’d like a copy of She Who Rides Horses, please visit [ ]

or for supporters of independent bookstores: [ ]

I’m also available for barn gatherings, book groups, club meetings or other occasions when horse people might want to get together to discuss horses and writing. You can reach me at

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