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…]

Hitting it Big at Borders

Book signing for Believing In Horses by Valerie Ormond on July 16, 2011

Book signing for Believing In Horses at Borders, Annapolis, Md. on July 16th, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

July 16th, will mark a new “first” in the Believing In Horses experience – a book signing at a major bookstore, Borders, in Annapolis, Md. To some, this may not seem to be such a big deal. After all, Believing In Horses is a BOOK, and Borders is a BOOK store, so why should people stop what they are doing to read this post? Let me explain.
Remember the story The Little Engine That Could, about the small engine that pulls a train over the mountain while repeating its motto: “I-think-I-can”? Or maybe for horse lovers, remember Seabiscuit, the scrawny colt no one believed in who overcame all odds to become a world-famous racehorse? Well, getting a book from a small press like J.B. Max Publishing into a large bookstore like Borders represents a similar feat.
You see, large bookstores like to deal with big publishers and major distributors; it’s much easier than working with the less known. However, I’ve found once again, decent people exist who provide chances for the little guys like me. I asked, and the Sales Manager at Borders, Annapolis, welcomed me, as a local author, with enthusiasm and professionalism. Maybe he felt me telegraphing, “I-think-I-can” in my request. [Read more…]

The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running PhotoBut what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about? Well, running is a part of who I am. I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy. I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor. I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better. I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out. I owe a lot in life to my running habit.  [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…]