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.

    1. By living next door to Loftmar, we spent more time with our horses than we ever had in the past. We will forever be grateful for the fate that allowed this opportunity to fall into place, and for Loftmar taking us in as boarders and allowing our horses to show they had what it took to be kind, patient lesson horses to students.DSC01754
    2. All three of our horses thrived at Loftmar. Chance and Billy, in Loftmar’s lesson program, worked more frequently than in the past, gained new confidence and skills, and experienced new riders. They found new fans while still being loved and ridden by their original horse “parents.” Our young horse Lucky showed up at Loftmar, never ridden, and has since won a room full of ribbons in multiple disciplines including Western, hunters, jumpers, and dressage. Loftmar’s instructors helped make him the winner he is today.DSC03980
    3. Jaime and I became better riders and learned incredible lessons in horsemanship and sportsmanship. We competed for nine years on Loftmar’s National Capital Adult Equestrian League (NCAEL) team, rode horses in local barns, and met wonderful horse people across the region. Jaime won the annual sportsmanship award for two years – a true honor. And we made bonds with Loftmar lesson horses riding them during weekly team practices. Those same horses gave us their full hearts in every Finale competition, and some Loftmar favorites deserve a special shout out – Mac, Mic, Fox, Everett, and Snickers.483840_4641660194891_1540946259_n
    4. Due to Loftmar’s Certified Horsemanship Association  (CHA) program, I became a CHA instructor at a Loftmar clinic. Loftmar hired me for my first job following my 25-year Navy career, and I found out how hard riding instructors work. I learned so much from my fantastic students, summer campers, and from that life experience.ChanceValCanterwebedited
    5. I also learned how much I didn’t know about horses. Loftmar took tremendous care of our horses, and I believe, saved our horse Lucky’s life. If it hadn’t been for Amanda Tackacs’ judgement call, Jan Martin’s keen eye and experience, and Dr. Elizabeth Reese’s skills, we likely would have lost our four year old colt to colic a few years ago. Experience matters. Lucky is 10 and healthy now, and we thank you all for helping save our special guy.Jaime-2
    6. I wrote books! Loftmar experiences helped me consider plot lines, settings, and horse experiences for “Believing In Horses,” and “Believing In Horses,Too.” And from my very first book signing at Loftmar Stables to the end, Loftmar promoted my books to readers of all ages. Believing In Horses Book CoverBellieving In Horses, Too Cover
    7. Our relationship with the barn allowed us to be horse ambassadors. My husband and I introduced hundreds of newcomers to horses, whether for a walk over to the barn for an introduction, or for a first ride. Those of us in the horse industry know how important it is to introduce people for the first time to the new animals they will learn to love.  And Loftmar accommodated our visitors over the years.Phillip Song, U.S. Naval Academy midshipman receives instruction from horse owner Jaime Navarro for Song's first time on a horse8. I helped many young riders write their own horse stories during Loftmar’s summer camps, and I hope some of those riders will look back on those stories and decide they should write more stories one day. I know it has happened in more than one instance, and that makes me happy.DSC004379.  We brought our grandsons up with horses; they both rode horses before they walked themselves. Now five and seven years old, they have no fear of horses. They earned confidence with horses. But they sure will miss walking out back for their daily horse carrot-feeding time!Seamus and Lucky10.  We got to know the Martin family well and were coached by two generations of professionals. And we thank all the Loftmar staff who all took care of our horses as if they were their own over the past 10 years. We can’t thank you enough!

We have so many unforgettable Loftmar memories and have made friends for life. We thank Loftmar Stables for everything you have done for us. And as you retire, we impart a Navy blessing to you and your new home on the water: We wish you fair winds and following seas.


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…]

Thank You, Local Supporters

031315_2304_ThankYouLoc1.jpgI wanted to take a moment and thank some of the wonderful local supporters who have helped me in my writing journey.
I’ll start with Maryland Senator Edward R. Reilly who celebrated the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day by donating copies of my latest book, “Believing In Horses, Too,” to Anne Arundel County Public Schools last week. [Read more…]

Learning Something New Every Day

Being Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council is not always that secretarial. Take for instance, this past weekend’s Maryland Horse Council Annual Barbeque, when I had the opportunity to play polo on the Maryland Horse Council Executive Committee’s team.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photo by Sue O'Donnell.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photos and videos by Sue O’Donnell.

[Read more…]