And out of all of this I concluded that there was only one way to tell my story of this war.
It would be the story of a farm horse sold to the British cavalry and taken off to France.
The horse would be captured in the first cavalry charge of the war, and then used by the Germans to pull ambulances and guns, and he would winter on a French farm.
So this horse (I called him Joey after a foal we had on the farm) would witness the war on all sides, get to know Tommy and Fritz, and a French farming family, all of them enduring the horror of it, the pity of it.
It would be the horse's-eye view of the war, and best told by the horse himself.
Here was my greatest anxiety. For this to work, the reader would have to suspend disbelief instantly.
Get it wrong and it simply wouldn't work.
I had to believe not in the notion that horses could talk or write, of course, but that there could be real empathy between horse and man.
I remembered from Captain Budgett how attached the soldiers had become to their horses, how they had confided in them and would talk to them as best friends.
AH the trouble with you lot is you ain't CAVALRY