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Because of Horses

Jul 13, 2018


Note from Elise:  When the last-minute opportunity arose to revisit a favorite episode, I jumped at the chance since I have wanted to re-share one particular conversation for a while now.


Jessie Haas epitomizes what I hope to express through Because of Horses Podcast: how to be true to yourself and the things that give you joy by creating an intentional life doing what you love most. Jessie takes it to the next level by helping horses, horse owners, and the next generation of writers.


That Jessie is an internationally acclaimed and beloved writer whose books have brought immeasurable happiness to horse-loving children and adults alike? Icing on the karmic cake.


I'm thrilled to say author Jessie Haas is, again, my guest on Because of Horses.


Ask a young child what he or she would like to be when they grow up, and you’ll get an imaginative list that — once they reach adulthood — rarely bears any resemblance to the career they wind up pursuing. But occasionally, you’ll meet someone who is doing exactly what they said they’d do all along..


Author Jessie Haas is a perfect example. She was practically born loving horses, as if it was stamped into her DNA. As a young child, she read every horse book she could get her hands on and would read them over and over again, returning to each with just as much joy as the first time she read it. Her passion for writing blossomed in middle school when she began creating her own horse stories. And, just a month before graduating from college, Jessie’s first book was accepted by one of the most respected U.S. children’s publishers. It was then that Jessie realized she could make a career of writing books about horses, beautifully aligning her two greatest interests.


Now, Jessie lives with her husband, Michael J. Daley — who is also an author — in the house they built together and shares the beautiful Vermont woods with their dogs, cats, and three horses. Jessie is the prolific author of over 35 horse books for children and adults, including Unbroken, Chase, Runaway Radish, the Bramble and Maggie series, and books for the American Girl doll, Saige.


In this episode, Elise chats with Jessie about how her passion for horses has guided her life and the choices she’s made, how and why she began writing, what success means to her, and how she continues to pursue her passion.


Topic of Discussion:

[1:44] How Jessie’s innate love of horses has guided her life

[3:51] The special connection to horses and Jessie’s first, mischievous horse that lent a ‘hoof’ in her approach to writing

[8:11] The parallel between the avid love of reading and writing: how and when Jessie realized she could pursue writing about horses as her profession

[12:15] Jessie speaks about her husband, Michael J. Daley, and what it’s like living with two authors under the same roof

[14:20] What it’s like ‘living off grid’ in their self-built home

[16:59] Details of their quirky, cozy home

[19:39] Art influencing life: The role books have played in Jessie Haas’ life and how her life and experience with horses has influenced her writing

[23:24] An explanation of ‘clicker training’ — a training method that transformed Jessie’s lifelong struggle with horses

[25:46] About some of Jessie’s current horses

[28:18] Jessie’s experience as a ‘serially monogamous horse trainer’

[29:57] Becoming a more cautious rider: The potential possibility of getting hurt on a horse and safety measures

[34:11] Importance of hard hat safety

[36:36] The challenges of children’s story writing and Jessie’s process

[39:26] What it’s like to meet young fans — readers of her books

[42:00] The meaningful experience of connecting with young fans through her writing

[43:05] Reading and writing served as a refuge for Jessie Haas as a young girl.

[44:17] The writers that influence Jessie the most today

[47:09] Defining your life around your passion — Jessie’s perspective

[49:26] The distinction between finding work that is engaging and challenging and genuinely finding a lifelong path

[51:35] Being ‘real’ in your career and life — what it means to Jessie

[53:40] Where realism and passion meet — the extended exercise of writing a story

[55:05] What success means to Jessie

[59:41] Where to find Jessie Haas online


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

To recommend someone, please send an email to


Discover More About this Week’s Guest — Jessie Haas

Jessie Haas’ Books


Mentioned in this Episode:

Walter Farley of ‘The Black Stallion’ Series

Jane Austen, Author

Author Michael J. Daley, Jessie Haas’ husband

Marguerite Henry, Author

Terry Pratchett, Author

Dick Francis, Author

Mary O'Hara, Author


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