I think Maggie made a small mistake, that or I'm reading it wrong. She says in chapter one (while Puck and Finn are on the beach after their race) that the horses caught this year will be raced in the future and that the horses caught the previous year(s) start training for this race. But later contradicts with horses like Skata, pulled from the sea this year, for this race. What do you think? Did I just read that wrong or is it a discrepancy? Something about the timeline is off, too. (1/2)
(2/2) Maggie has the book start in Mid-October (it states that somewhere early on) and then says the race is on November 1st. This would leave about two and a half weeks for training the horses, which already is barely enough time to train much. Especially if we go with horses being caught and trained in the same year. And the book seems to imply that the events take place over longer than two weeks. But maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, I love this series and I want to see what y'all think.
Yeah, the particulars of some of the mythology and race rules have always come across as a little vague to me, though I don’t mind it because it gives us a lot to talk about! I too was a little confused about the timelines at first, but I don’t think Maggie contradicts herself in these instances. But then again, I could be wrong since it’s been some time since I’ve read the book. (I AM SO DUE FOR A REREAD!!!)
Okay, so I found what the book first says about Skata: “That first day, Gorry has me…try a piebald mare he has dredged from the ocean some indeterminate time before.”
So that doesn’t tell us when exactly Gorry got her, just that Sean doesn’t know when it was. I don’t remember if the book offers more information about her origins later, but this quote would still fit with Gorry catching her in a previous year. Also, the horses have only been out for a day at this point, so it’s not likely that she’s freshly caught. I do think it’s her first year racing, though, and maybe Gorry hasn’t had her for longer than a year and doesn’t want the expense of continuing to train/board her. He’d much rather sell her for an enormous profit because he thinks she might make Malvern (and Sean) nervous. Keeping capaill uisce for multiple years is a large investment, which is why Malvern had Sean release the bay mare without the white, who was untrainable.
I believe the race season takes place over three weeks. The first week after the capaill uisce make land is for beach training and trying out mounts and culminates in the rider’s parade at the Scorpio Festival. While she’s at the Festival, Puck states that it is “two weeks until the races.” Since you can’t change mounts after the rider’s parade, a week is definitely not enough time to catch and train a fresh capall uisce. But it might be enough time to determine if the one you’ve got already is willing to listen to you well enough to race that year. All in all, three weeks doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of time if you’ve already been working with your horse for many seasons.
Which bring me to this: Corr is family to Sean (they’ve made each other what they are), but to men with bowler hats or faces that belong on pound notes, the capaill uisce are a commodity. I think there’s a contrast between the old way of racing (it’s about being, i.e. finding a deep connection to Thisby), which is what Sean does in forging a long-term bond with Corr and why Tommy Falk’s black mare was released, and the newer, flashier version of the races (it’s about wanting, i.e. feeling unsatisfied with what you have and where you are), which results in the races standing for commercial gain or entertainment and, ultimately, in horses and riders becoming disposable.
Anyway, I hope this helps clear some things up and doesn’t muddle things further! If anyone has anything else to add, please do! :)