A Touch of Class

Growing up as a horse lover in Maryland, I never imagined I would win an award like Maryland’s Touch of Class Award someday. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations, or events that demonstrate national or international excellence. The Maryland Horse Industry Board honored me and my second book, Believing In Horses, Too, for  our winning entry in the 2019 EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Awards.

The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) presented the award at Maryland Horse Council’s Virtual Annual Meeting in Nov. 17, 2020. MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord said, “We have so many talented artists in Maryland – writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, and more – and Valerie is one of them.”

MHIB’s official announcement read, “Valerie Ormond’s second novel, Believing In Horses, Too, won a Gold Medal in the Military Writers Society of America Book Awards; 1st Place in The Authors’ Zone Book Awards; Best Y.A. Fiction in the Stroud Arts Book Festival; Best Book in Juvenile Fiction in the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, and Best Veterans Fiction in the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Award. Congratulations!”

Past winners of the Touch of Class award have been world champion Maryland horses, mules, and riders. Disciplines have included dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers, jousting, steeplechase, polo, mounted shooting, rodeo, driving, pentathlon, polocrosse, endurance, therapy, and racing. Individual winners have been barn owners, facility managers, horse trainers, competitors, breeders, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Maryland established the prestigious Touch of Class Awards program in September 2011.

The award is personally rewarding to me as I see my Believing In Horses books as a coalescence of my horse, military, research, and writing experiences. The Believing In Horses, Too story is based in Maryland and highlights equine therapies, show competition, rescue horses, veterans, and military families. I appreciate the state of Maryland for supporting me and my work with this remarkable touch of class.

 

 

Believing In Horses Out West

It’s official; I am well into writing my third book with a working title of Believing In Horses Out West. Young Sadie ventures to a Montana dude ranch to check on Sunny, the Palomino mare she rescued last year. But the family vacation takes a turn for the worse when Sadie unravels a mystery involving unsavory ranch hands putting Sunny and other horses in grave danger.

Why write about a ranch? Ranches are near and dear to my heart. The year my father died, I decided to do things I’d always wanted to do, like visiting a dude ranch. I signed up for the Hooves of History Cattle Drive that included a week-long trip at Homeplace Ranch with a three-day cattle drive in the middle. I traveled by myself to Alberta, Canada, and fell in love with the ranch lifestyle. It would not be my last ranch trip.

Two years later as I drove myself across the county to my new duty station in San Diego, I stopped at several ranches along the way. It was at the Circle Bar Ranch in Utica, Montana, that I decided to buy my own horse when I arrived in California. I had put off having horses in my life for too long, and the ranch brought me back to my senses and the realization that if I waited for the perfect time to have a horse again, it might never happen.

I met my husband after that trip, and we’ve since enjoyed trekking around the globe and experienced one of the most spectacular trips of a lifetime, the Red Rock Ride. We made friendships that have lasted for years, and much of the scenery is still captured in my mind.

I want to share the information I have in my personal database about those experiences. Ranches are not all about riding; they are about a lifestyle. It’s about hospitality, enjoying the outdoors, meeting new people, and living the cowboy and cowgirl life for a brief moment in time.

I hope I can inspire readers to sit back and enjoy the ride. My goal is to paint pictures with words that help people escape and get a glimpse into another world they may not have seen. And just maybe, a reader or two may be motivated to take a chance and decide to believe in horses out west one day, too. The journey begins….

 

Paperback Giveaway! Bookstore for Horse Lovers

It’s a celebration now, all right! To honor the global launch of The Bookstore for Horse Lovers, we are giving away a number of fiction and non-fiction horse books signed by the authors!

HORSE BOOKS WRITTEN BY HORSE LOVERS!
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Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast – Believing In Horses!

Valerie Ormond and Believing In Horses

I was so happy Carly Kade included me in her wonderful lineup of equine authors for Episode 42: On Believing in Horses, Local Media & Telling Military-Related Stories with Valerie Ormond (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast).

Watch on YouTube, listen to the audio version, and see Carly’s superb interview style. The show notes contain some interesting side tidbits, too.

Thank you, Carly, for this opportunity, and for inspiring me to begin my third book in the series. More about that later….

So Proudly We Hailed – Opportunity

 

I received an email from the Executive Director of New Musicals Inc. yesterday. He asked me if I could help get the word out to veterans who have stories to tell, or writers and composers who might want to be involved in adapting stories for a musical webseries. The So Proudly We Hailed event’s tagline is “a musical webseries honoring veterans in their own words.” I wanted to share this unique opportunity with you. I also found the New Musicals Inc. organization interesting and would have never known about them had they not reached out to me. [Read more…]

Actively Learn with “Believing In Horses, Too”

Educators from Actively Learn discovered the Believing In Horses series after the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test featured an excerpt of the first book in its 2015 annual test. Following discussions, Actively Learn decided to feature two excerpts from Believing In Horses, Too in their creative curriculum. Actively Learn uses a new approach to learning by providing free English Language Arts (ELA) and other content embedded with standards-aligned assignments to help students learn. [Read more…]