Sunday, September 24, 2017

Starving?

 When I starting writing books about the Amish and horses, my brand became "Amish Horses."

Little did I know that I was diving into a controversy.

My Amish neighbors are experts with horses and take great care of their steeds. Apparently, other people have had the misfortune of witnessing something to the contrary.

It is not wise to lump an entire race or ethnic group into a pot and label them. That is called profiling.

Each person in every people group should have the right to be seen and known for who they are as an individual, not pre-judged.



Beautifully fit workhorses on an Amish farm.

I would love to mediate between those who have never met an Amish person and my Amish neighbors.

First of all, let me acknowledge the truth in some of these accusations. Yes, unfortunately, there are some individuals in every people group that are cruel to animals or other humans. But, let's not accuse all NFL players of using dogs wrongly because we heard about a few who did.

The first thing you should know about the Amish and why their horses look so thin: Amish use a breed of horse that is naturally thin. The best breeds for pulling a buggy are trotters and pacers, horses that have been bred for hundreds of years for use on racetracks. This would be much akin to the dog breed, Grayhound. What if you owned a Grayhound and your neighbors didn't understand that these dogs are born looking hungry.

Some of the kindest people I have ever met are Amish. I have personally known elderly Amish men that love their horses like family members, caring for them tenderly, weeping when they pass away at a ripe old age. I've also known sweet little Amish children that love their ponies as much or more than city kids love their dogs.


I promise that you will find many a fat pony and overweight draft horse on Amish farms all over America. There is a good explanation for this: draft horse and pony breeds are naturally "easy keepers" unlike trotting horses. Workhorses would be more like Bulldogs and ponies like Pugs. 

I have traveled all over the U.S.A. visiting Amish communities and I have found that most Amish horses are dearly loved by their owners. I will admit that have witnessed a minority that are less than enthused about their horses, and even a few that are harsh.

If you know of an individual that mistreats an animal, you should be bold enough to speak to them about it. Please, don't hide behind your computer and toss accusations against an entire people group.

Instead, take time to look for the good in people. You will be pleasantly surprised when you personally get acquainted with Amish people.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Amish Park (revealed)



 Once you've clicked on the picture all you need to do is scroll down to see the full cover revealed




Be sure to continue scrolling to read more about Amish Park, a novel.


-What a difference one week can make- 
         Pete and Lisa Heller have already decided to end their marriage long fight with a divorce. However, their 10-year-old daughter has another plan. Natalie believes that Amish Park, a theme resort offering guests a realistic experience on an Amish farm, may be the answer to all her family’s problems. Her 16-year-old sister, Carrie, is uninterested and absorbed with her phone until the power fades and an Amish lantern sheds new light. The Heller family gets a little more than they bargained for when their aging tour guide uses a team of draft horses to soften Pete’s heart. Slip on your work boots and join the Heller family’s Amish vacation; an unexpected journey to a better place.

        (Amish Park is a fictitious theme park. It would be fun if there was a real place like it!)

Amish Park, a novel, will be released this October, through Dove Christian Publishers
Keep up to date by following this blog or Thomas Nye on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cowboys and Amish Girls




What happens when a rodeo cowboy crosses paths with an Amish girl in a runaway buggy?

Truman (the cowboy) is trying to figure out what went wrong between him and his cowgirl, and how he can win her back.

Charity (the Amish girl) is wondering why she isn't like most Amish girls.

When Truman and Charity began to offer each other advice, sparks fly, and it turns into a comedy!




Charity's dad says, "Cowboys and Amish girls are like vinegar and oil, they don't mix!"

Truman tries his cowboy tricks on Charity's ornery horse. Charity's brothers pull a few tricks on their cowboy visitor.
Join this vinegar and oil duo on an unexpected adventure, in Cowboys and Amish Girls.





Cowboys and Amish Girls, one of three fun stories in...
Springs of Love

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Let Me Open the Gate


Here is my favorite picture I've ever snapped. This little Amish boy is opening the gate for the girl on horseback. I'm assuming she is his older sister.

My good friend, Lue Shetler, took me on a scenic tour of Amish country Ohio. We saw parts of Holmes and Wayne Counties. The area is breathtaking.

If you are like me, and find driving past Amish farms to be one of life's most entertaining and peaceful pastimes, then you need to visit this part of Ohio.
Everywhere we turned, we saw something wonderful and/or interesting. As you can guess by my blog title, I love Amish horses, especially workhorses. I was completely in my element.

I told my friend, Lue, "This drive will be the inspiration behind my next novel."


These draft horses and draft mules were enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon about as much as I was.
 Hopefully, I've opened the gate just enough to encourage you to head into Amish country. Check out my books, they are all designed to take you on a virtual tour of an Amish farm.
Here is a link: Thomas Nye on Amazon
At first, the books look expencive, don't let that scare you away. They are available for much less if you scroll down. (click on the small words that say, "more buying choices" or "new and used") All of my novels are available as eBooks as well.

Isn't this about the most inviting road you've ever seen. Drive on ahead, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Amish Horses 101


If this is the first time you've visited the Amish Horses Blog, you may not know much about Thomas Nye and his Amish horses. Let me give you a quick background about how a guy like myself ended up learning the art of driving horses from Amish farmers.

I was born with a love for horses. Although I grew up in town, I always managed to find a friend with a pony. So much so, my step-dad teased, "Are you only willing to make friends with someone if they have a horse?" This step-dad of mine grew up in Idaho, and he took our family out west to visit his cowboy brothers every summer. These experiences continued to drive my horse obsession.

Photo on left: Thomas Nye ( age 3 and wearing my favorite hat)

The photo below was taken on my step-uncle's ranch in Idaho.
(little Tommy age 7)

The first time I saw an Amish person was in my nineteenth year of life. I moved to Iowa near an Amish community and was instantly infatuated by that lifestyle. Maybe it had something to do with my love of history and interest in other cultures. More likely, it had to do with the fact that horses are the foundation of Amish life.

This habit of choosing friends who have horses is still an issue with me. LOL

My first friends in Iowa happen to be an Amish family. They took me along to Amish church, Singings, volleyball games and other social events. When they made hay, I offered to help.

Thirty-six years have gone by, and I'm still fascinated by the Amish lifestyle.Within months of my transplant into Iowa, I had my first horse. The photo on left: yours truly ( age 19 and seated on Gulfawn.)

The fist 10 or 15 horses I owned were riding horses. However, I kept watching my Amish friends doing fieldwork with draft horses and a growing urge to get my own team finally got the best of me.

One day, I randomly stopped at my Amish neighbor's place and asked, "Do you know anyone with a team of horses they might be willing to sell?" He sent me down the road a few miles to another Amish farm. I'll never forget the first day I walked into that huge barn, filled with draft horses. For a complete description of what I experienced there, check out my novel, Under the Heavens.

Here I am with my first team. (Lucy and Sally) My Amish friend predicted these older mares would teach me a lot about working with horses in harness, and he was right.

This kind Amish man seemed amused that I wanted to learn his trade. He patiently taught me how to harness and hitch a team of horses, filling me in on many safety issues. We hitched to a wagon, and he handed the lines over. That did it, I was hooked! My heart never returned to the modern world, entirely.

 The team I bought were mares and had colts the next spring. When I took the mamas back to my Amish friend's farm to visit his stallion, he kept my mares for several weeks and used them in six-horse hitches with his horses. Every time I stop in to visit with my Amish friends it is as if I slip back in time a hundred years. My Amish friends continue sharing valuable advice and I pass on their wisdom in my novels. Amish daily life is glorious.

Over the past 25 years, I've owned a number of draft horses which I bought from several Amish families in our community. Each family taught me a little more about horses and these experiences warmed my heart more than I can say. There is nothing quite like being on an Amish farm.

I took this picture of Karma and Karla last evening. I'm still driving horses and writing novels about my wonderful experiences with Amish friends.Whispering to Horses

If you love to read Amish novels, you will get a slightly different view through my books. They are rugged enough to hold a man's interest and sweet enough to make a woman smile. I promise I'll take you on a tour of an Amish barn with rough-hewn timbers, wooden stalls. and rich aromas of alfalfa hay. Then, we'll head out through the gate into lush green pastures. Climb on the buggy seat, and we'll head down a country road listening to a steady clip-clopping of horse hooves under a twinkling, star-filled sky, or through an early morning mist. Experience the peace and tranquility of Amish life. A simple life Under the Heavens.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Still Making Fence


This isn't my most exciting blog, but for those who follow Amish Horses, here is an update.

Yes, I'm still making fence. After spending a solid week pouring over edits in my newest novella, Cowboys and Amish Girls, I went straight to work making this fence.

Last week I shared pictures of my draft horses pulling these corner posts to the far edges of my property. The posts are all set and painted now.


You can see the edge of my pasture where it meets up with my brother-in-law's farm fields. When my wife saw this picture she asked, "Did you get some of the white paint in your beard?"

"Nope, that white is a sign of my aging wisdom."

The fencing material I'm using is called Hot Coat. I first noticed this type of fence while on a book tour in a heavily populated Amish area of Indiana. It's high tensile wire, coated with a white plastic that will conduct a shock. Amish farmers use solar powered fence chargers to keep their fences hot.

We have a local Amish business that sells Hot Coat. Evan's Sales and Service is just down the road from my favorite Amish bakery, Golden Delight. (of course every time I go to get parts for my fence I have to stop and get a donut.)
 I put the fence where I wanted it and then have been questioning how wise I really am, to put a new fence next to an ancient ash tree. Hopefully when the tree does fall it lands in the opposite direction.

My horses still aren't grazing next to my new fence, yet. There will be plenty of horse pics with my new "Amish fence" in the future.

I do have a novella that is all about a fence between an Amish family and a modern suburb.
Whispering to Horses

Thursday, April 20, 2017

To Build a Fence


It's time for a new fence at the Nye home-place.

Karm and Karla were called on to help get the job done. I hitched the team and put them on my little hitch-cart. I bought this two-wheeled vehicle at an Amish farm sale when I got my first team of work horses. That was in 1993. It was old then, and it looks just the same as it did the day I brought it home 25 years ago.
I hooked onto a wooden sled (also known as a stone boat) rolled my logs on, and the horses pulled them.

 Karm and Karla hauled the logs and braces out to the corners of their pasture. I rented a post-hole-digger from a local rental place and made some deep holes for my large corner posts.

In the photo below, you can see my old electric fence, Karla grazing, my pickup truck, and the post-hole-digger.

Once we got our equipment in place, the horses were sent out to pasture, and I put a gas engine to work.

I now have my corner post set. If it ever quits raining, I'll get back on this project and share some finished product photos.