Free Jumping – with Video!

American Quarter Horse Billy free jumping for the first time

Billy free jumping. For videos, see links in post.

My husband, Jaime Navarro, and I won a silent auction item at the recent Maryland Horse Council annual barbeque: 1 Free Jumping Session with Steuart Pittman. At Pittman’s Dodon Farm, he and an assistant school a horse through their jumping chute in the indoor arena. According to the auction flyer, “Most horses only need to do it once or twice for them and you to find out just how much talent they have.”

A life-long horseman, Steuart Pittman’s credentials include certification to teach eventing through the preliminary level. I featured him in Believing In Horses as “the current President of the MHC, a well-known local equestrian, and a former grassroots lobbyist,” all true. Dodon Farm’s business ranges from breeding, training, and starting horses to improving riders. I also consider Steuart a “horse saver” (my term), for his tremendous efforts in supporting the MHC’s Unwanted Horse Project and in his work retraining off-track Thoroughbreds. He and his wife, Erin, created The Retired Racehorse Training Project, which recently received its official 501(c)3 charitable status. [Read more…]

A Portion of the Proceeds to Help Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. Booth at Maryland Million

Lucy Krone (left), on the Board of Directors for Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc., received check from Valerie Ormond (right) as a portion of the proceeds from Beliveing In Horses.

The highlight of my weekend came on Saturday when I provided one of the Maryland rescues featured in Believing In Horses with a small donation. When I decided to write a book about unwanted horses, I knew I wanted to include real life rescues and retraining facilities. I’d met Kimberly Clark, owner and founder of Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. (TPR, Inc.) once, and knew she was the type person, and ran the kind of facility, I wanted to accurately portray in the story. Besides bringing awareness to the unwanted horse problem, I had also hoped to recognize the efforts of hard-working volunteers and provide a portion of the book proceeds to two Maryland horse rescue organizations (Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is the other, and they’ll be receiving a check during their Oct. 22nd fundraiser).  [Read more…]

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Virginia Brownie Troop Believing In Horses visit, Fair Hill, Horses on Trailer, Jaime and baby

Fun summer with book signings, trail rides, work, family fun, and more.

As people are going back to school, it seemed a good time to think back on what I did on my summer vacation. Now, this will be the first time I’ve actually had to write one of these, because although I’ve heard of the assignment for years, I don’t remember ever having to do it. There’s no time like the present!
-Stopped blogging for two months. Surprisingly, I thought so few people read my blogs, until I stopped writing and people asked me what happened. So I guess I can chalk that one up to “research.”
-Attended my first American Horse Publications conference. Great fun, good people, and learned a lot. Professional development. [Read more…]

Writer’s Muscles

Now that I’m offically a “writer,” people frequently ask me: “How do I become a better writer?”

My responses may vary some, but the key advice doesn’t change: “Write more and read more.”

I especially like to encourage people to expand beyond what they noramlly write to flex those brain muscles. Reaching beyond normal boundaries also provides writers a good break from their normal routines, and may just unearth hidden talents writers may not know lie beneath.

I took my own advice a few months back and participated in Writing.com’s 15 for 15 contest. Contestants respond to a writing prompt title and image, and write a story, prose, or  poetry in 15 minutes or less for 15 days in a row. I truly enjoyed the people I met virtually through the contest and found it to be an excellent exercise in ensuring I wrote — even just for 15 minutes a day — for over two weeks. I even placed a few days, and below was what the judges named the winning entry one day. I considered it a win that I hit all 15 days, and learned something in the process.

Writing Prompt

[Read more…]

Fun First Events

Since the official release of Believing In Horses on March 21st, I discovered that book events are fun.  My clever and talented brother developed a talk show format for presentations in schools, “Books Alive with Reed Moore,” which gets kids participating and interested in the subject.  Reed Moore (also known as the Believing In Horses EdUCator) made the kids laugh, think, and unable to wait to ask questions.  Even those who appeared disinterested at first couldn’t help but be motivated by Reed Moore’s energy!  Tremendous audiences at Harmony Hills Elementary School, Silver Spring, MD, and Tracey’s Elementary School, Tracy’s Landing, MD, read aloud, played along with the activities, and asked thoughtful questions.  Parents and teachers groaned at some of the campy jokes, but something in common happened across the rooms no matter the age:  sparks.

Eddy Ormond and Valerie Ormond at Books Alive with Reed Moore

Eddy Ormond (left) and Valerie Ormond speak to students at Tracey’s Elementary School as part of the “Books Alive with Reed Moore” Tour.

Author Kathi Appelt, mentioned in my last blog, recommends writing like your fingers are “on fire.”  Author Valerie Sherwood encourages writing about what genuinely interests you so words “catch fire” with readers.  I’m sure if I searched, I’d find many other fiery writing quotes, but I think you get the point.  However, I discovered it is one thing to hear and read others’ advice, and quite another to see that sparkle in people’s eyes in person when a book comes alive.  [Read more…]

The First Horse I See

As an author, I try to heed the advice of other writers who recommend reading as much as possible. Fortunately that advice led me to read The First Horse I See, by Sally Keehn. As an adult, I enjoyed this book even more than I would have had I read it as a young adult, the intended audience. The story was engaging; the characters believable; and the writing superb. Keehn’s literary background shone through in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways, from interwoven themes in the plot to the immersion of poetry and famous quotes as natural parts of the text. It was a beautiful book that left one thinking about far more than horses.

In the story, the main character, Willo, is promised a horse before her mother dies, and Willo’s grandfather and dad follow through with the promise. Against her grandfather’s wishes, Willo falls for the first horse she sees, an underweight, spirited, abused ex-racehorse. Willo’s journey with the untrusting mare are reflective of many first horse ownership situations, but are magnified by the events occurring in the rest of the girl’s life. An absentee alcoholic father; a mother still greatly in her thoughts; a neighbor boy of the right age; a grandfather learning to be a full-time parent; and the pressure to succeed with a difficult horse, all add great texture to this moving novel. [Read more…]