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.
-Showed Lucky Western in the Southern Maryland Horse Show Association. Highlight: judge told me he needs to in the English ring because he moves so good. Proud horse mom.
-Some firsts on trail rides: first time we had all three of our horses out together, and first time for a bed and breakfast overnighter with horses (Fairwinds Farm and Stable). Love that trailer.
-Presentations/book signings at Loftmar Stables, West River Summer Camp, to the best-behaved Brownie troop ever from Virginia, and to the South County Senior Center. All good.
-Chaired the Prince George’s County Equine Industry Task Force’s Subcommittee on Unwanted Horses and Ethical Treatment of Equines. Hope to educate/inform the community on issues. [Read more…]

Measuring Success

How do you measure success as a writer?

Novel Publicity posed this as one of its author Facebook page questions last week.  I’ve considered this question regularly, and need to come back to it when I get off track.  I SHOULD develop a writing mantra along the lines of “Success equals creating something meaningful.”  Okay, need to work on the mantra, but I think you get my point.

Forces must have realized I needed to think about it, as I came across Charlotte Carter’s blog entry, Win Vs. Compete.  Her final question:  “Where do you fit on the competitiveness scale?” I’m very proud of my military background and heritage.  However, spending 25-years in competitive organizations among extremely competitive people drove a competitive edge into me that I don’t think was there by nature.  And now, as a writer, it’s time to focus on what I want as part of the process and in the end, not what someone else has defined for me as success. [Read more…]

Believing In Reading

Senator Reilly, Read Across America

Senator Ed Reilly donating Believing In Horses for each elementary school in his district in honor of Read Across America Day

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Dr. Seuss (I Can Read with My Eyes Shut)

Today marked the 14th anniversary of Read Across America Day, and this year, I got to be part of the celebration!

Maryland State Senator Edward R. Reilly (R-District 33, Anne Arundel County), selected my novel, Believing In Horses, as his book donation for each of the 24 elementary schools in his district.  Senator Reilly invited me to the State House in Annapolis to deliver the books with him during the Maryland State Education Association’s celebration of Read Across America.

The National Education Association’s (NEA’s) Read Across America Day, which falls on or around Dr. Seuss’s birthday annually, is the nation’s largest reading event.  Senator Reilly and I will each be visiting schools to read and discuss Believing In Horses in a continuing celebration of Read Across America throughout the year. [Read more…]

The Story Behind the Music

Thanking the band

Valerie and Gaelic Storm’s Jessi Burns

I mentioned in my last blog that there was a story behind the music in the Believing In Horses book trailer, and here it is.

I LOVE Gaelic Storm’s music.  If you’ve seen the book trailer, you’ve heard their music.  If you haven’t seen/heard the trailer, click here, and you’re in for a musical treat.  Gaelic Storm is perhaps most famous for being the “band” in steerage in the movie Titanic.  Their use of traditional Irish instruments including bagpipes, fiddle, and Irish drums combined with an upbeat rock flavor and lots of spirit make for a foot-stomping, heart-pounding sound like no other.  When thinking about music to accompany my book trailer, the choice was easy:  it HAD to be Gaelic Storm. [Read more…]

Endurance

“Endurance” seems an appropriate topic today, in celebration of the 33 Chilean miners rescued, following their 69 days trapped underground.

In horse parlance, the Endurance discipline tests the stamina of horse and rider as they race to compete a long course; at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) it was a 100 mile course.   When my husband, Jaime, and I volunteered to support the WEG, we were pleased that our second assignment would be supporting the endurance competition.  We both had great interest in the sport and admiration for the athletes, even though we hadn’t participated in endurance riding – yet.   Hey, the senior member of the U.S. team, Jan Worthington, competed in the Games at age 70.  Talk about hope and endurance! [Read more…]

Wowed at the World Equestrian Games

I am one of those fortunate women whose husband also enjoys horses.  Okay – don’t hate me for that.   But because of this shared interest, we get to do a lot of things together that many of my other horse friends don’t share as couples.  When we found out the World Equestrian Games (WEG) would be held in the U.S. for the first time ever in Kentucky, it was an easy decision that we would attend.  I had to be a bit more convincing when I suggested we volunteer to support the Games.  After a year’s coordination with the volunteer staff, we received our assignments as Horse Inspection Stewards, scheduled to support Reining, Endurance, and Dressage.

As we approached the fourth place we had been told to park at 5:00 a.m. on Sep 24th, we decided our real mission as volunteers was to “work out the kinks in the system.”  A sense of humor always helps in these situations, and it was a warm, dark morning, with very few people in the Kentucky Horse Park.  We sported our Ariat-provided cobalt blue Competition Support Volunteer uniforms and credentials, which we had picked up on Day One, and looked as if we knew exactly where we were going.  We were scheduled to support Reining, which the WEG describes as “a Western sport that displays the precision and style of horse and rider.”   We wound our way to the Reining barns and met up with some other Competition Support Volunteers and the head Federation Equestre International (FEI) Reining Steward, Eric.  Success!  Eric politely informed us he didn’t need us for at least another hour, and to just relax.  So, we relaxed while observing the early morning routine of the grooms, trainers, and exquisite equine reining athletes, mostly American Quarter Horses.    [Read more…]