A Fun, Timely, Sensitive, and Perceptive Story

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By Valerie Ormond

J.B. Max Publishing, 2014

ISBN 978-0-9736330-4-7

Fiction, 246 pages

Soft Cover, Kindle

Reviewed by Margaret Evans

“Sadie felt so isolated. She couldn’t share or communicate her worry with her family. And living in a community with no other military people, no one else would understand. So she lived a life of constant secret fear which grew every day. She needed a distraction.”

Gold medal award winning author Valerie Ormond’s Believing in Horses, Too takes thirteen-year-old Sadie Navarro to new challenges. Sadie wants more than ever to make her father proud by riding in her first show on her gelding, Lucky. Her father, Lieutenant Commander Navarro, is deployed to Afghanistan. She always fears for his safety and during the first six months of his deployment, Sadie had preoccupied herself by taking on the challenge of saving ten horses on their way to an auction and a very uncertain future.

With the horses now in safe homes, Sadie needs a new challenge and riding in her very first show on Lucky is the answer. But she isn’t prepared for all the steps it takes to get ready for a show and Lucky is as green as she is. It doesn’t help that a particularly nasty rival in the show ring sets out to dash Sadie’s dreams and puts Lucky’s safety at risk.

But Sadie is also challenged and excited when she goes to visit one of the horses she had saved. Goliath is now part of an equine-assisted therapy program and Sadie is fascinated by how horses help people with special needs, especially military veterans. She knows this is something very special she wants to do. But does she have the courage – or the skills – to do it?

Believing in Horses, Too is a fun, timely, sensitive and perceptive story of Sadie’s struggles, inner fears, hopes and triumphs.

Author Valerie Ormond brings great insight into Sadie’s story. Ormond had a career in the US Navy before starting out as a writer. She is a lifetime member of the Naval Intelligence Professionals and Disabled American Veterans, and she is a strong supporter of military and veteran families.

Her first novel, Believing in Horses won the Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal for Young Adult Books and the Gold Medal for Children’s Literature in the Stars and Flags Book Awards. Ormond owns and rides horses and lives in Maryland with husband Jaime Navarro.

Believing in Horses, Too is a great read for both young riders and parents who want to understand the many special talents that horses offer.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.

Thank you, Margaret Evans, Canadian Horse Journal, and Horse Journals for this nice review and introducing new readers to this book!

Brave HEART – Horses Helping Military

BraveHEART_CoverI recently had the opportunity to work with the Brave HEART program on several writing projects. Brave HEART (Heroes Equine Adventure & Riding Therapy) “provides an environment where Veterans, military members, and their families come together to facilitate healing and strengthen relationships through equine interaction and outdoor activities.” A 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Brave HEART program supports those who have served, or still serve, at the peaceful Larkspur Lane Farm setting in Hagerstown, Maryland.

While speaking with the founder and Executive Director, Laura Lane-Unsworth, we determined one of the Brave HEART projects would be a tri-fold brochure to help inform people about Brave HEART’s work. Laura was most helpful in getting me the top five points to get across, testimonials, and a general feel for the tone of the brochure. I put together the words and then enlisted the help of my talented graphic designer friend, Brittany Klein of Radiant Resolution, LLC, to display the information in a far more pleasing manner than I could. I am not a graphic designer – at all – and know the value good graphic designers bring to any visual project.

In the end, here is a snapshot of the final product. It was a real pleasure working with such a fine team and helping support such a worthy cause.

Brave HEART_Brochure

If anyone is in the neighborhood, stop by the Maryland State Fair at Timonium Fairgrounds and visit Brave HEART at the Horses Healing Maryland Military’s Military Riding Showcase on Friday, Sep. 2, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. And while you are there, you can even pick up a brochure to learn more about Brave HEART.

Tribute to Loftmar Stables

DSC00882Today marks the final day of Loftmar Stables’ operations at the end of a 33-year successful business impacting so many lives. My husband, Jaime, and I, and our three horses –  Chance, Billy, and Lucky – enjoyed 10 years as part of the Loftmar family. I wish Jan and Raul Martin the best in their well-deserved retirement. In a small way of thanks I wanted to recount some of the positive influences Loftmar Stables had on us. [Read more…]

Maryland is for Horses


The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

“Believing In Horses, Too” Awarded Grant

MHIBThank you to the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) for selecting “Believing In Horses, Too,” for a 2016 grant award! The funds will be used to purchase and donate a copy of “Believing In Horses, Too,” for every Maryland county public library system and Baltimore city. “Believing In Horses, Too,” tells the story of a young girl who worries about her Navy father serving in Afghanistan. She turns to her love of horses to distract her from her problems. Her adventures with horse rescue, show competition, and equine-assisted therapies present her challenges, and she learns about overcoming adversity through friendships and personal growth. [Read more…]

Author Pays It Forward for Other Authors

I hope you will stop by and check out my guest author interview on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog – she asks great questions! Besides offering writing tips based on her career as a writer, Cheryl hosts authors from around the world to help them gain exposure. In her words: “On this blog, I ‘Pay it Forward’ to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too ‘Pay It Forward’ to any other author.”


Cheryl Holloway's Blog [Read more…]