In the Moment

Pileated Woodpecker

For many us, our worlds have turned upside down in a matter of weeks. COVID-19 has put us in situations we are not used to. Last week, I took a moment to write a poem that came to me, inspired by a pileated woodpecker.

“In the Moment”

Out the window I spy,

a pileated woodpecker sitting in the tree,

Peck, peck, peck

“But what about the time?”

I think, “No time to see.”

Tick, tock, tick

I stop and realize,

this is where I should be.

Knock, knock, knock

Opportunities, living life,

in the moment, feeling free.

~Valerie Ormond

Wishing you, your family, friends, and animals the best in these times, and when possible, enjoy the small moments.

How Horses Sleep

To recognize Sleep Awareness Week® on March 8 -14, 2020, I bring you a guest blog from Tuck. Tuck is a community devoted to promoting sleep health awareness. As part of their mission, they’ve created a resource debunking common myths about how horses sleep.

How Horses Sleep

By Jay Summer

Whether you ride horses or just admire the majestic animals from afar, at some point you might have wondered how horses sleep. Maybe you saw a horse lying in a field and wondered if horses sleep lying down or standing up. If you have pets, you probably already know that the sleep habits of dogs and cats differ quite a bit from that of humans. Just like other animals, horses have their own unique sleep requirements and patterns that differ from ours.

This article focuses on everything you might want to know about how horses sleep. Do horses really sleep standing up or must they lie down? Can they dream like humans do? How many hours of sleep do they need on a daily basis? How are horses’ sleeping habits the same or different compared to those of other large animals? Keep reading to find the answers to your questions.

How Horses Sleep

Horses Sleep Both Standing Up and Lying Down

Like cattle and some other animals, horses are capable of sleeping in a standing position. Sleeping while standing is beneficial because it tricks potential predators into thinking the animal is awake and less vulnerable. The ability to sleep while standing is due to a series of leg ligaments and bones called the “stay apparatus” that allows certain large animals, such as giraffes and zebras, to lock their legs.

Contrary to popular belief, horses do not do all of their sleeping standing up. Horses engage in light sleep while standing, but cannot experience REM sleep unless they lie down. Horses regularly take short naps while standing throughout the day, which is likely the reason many people assume horses always sleep standing up.

Horses Sleep Less Than Humans 

Although horses are much larger than humans, often weighing over 1,000 pounds, they do not require as much sleep as humans do. Most horses only need 5 to 7 hours of rest each day, and less than one hour of that rest is REM sleep, one of the deepest sleep stages. The amount of sleep a horse needs changes over their lifetime. Foals can sleep half the day away, while the oldest horses need only a few hours of sleep each day.

Horses also sleep at different times than humans do. They are not diurnal like us, nor are they nocturnal. Horses can sleep at any time, day or night, and generally spread their sleep out across each 24-hour period by sleeping for minutes at a time instead of one long block.

Horses Experience REM Sleep, But Not While Standing

Horses likely dream since they experience REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, while lying down. Horses move their eyes during this deep sleep stage, and sometimes even lightly move their legs. At this point in time, we can’t know what it is that horses dream about, but it seems likely they dream about things they experience in waking life.

Horses Often Sleep with a Buddy Lookout

Horses often lie down to sleep when there is another horse nearby that remains standing. This practice likely evolved as a protective method. If all horses in a herd were to lie down to sleep at the same time, they would become more vulnerable to a predator’s attack.

Horses Can Have Sleep Problems

Horses can experience sleep disorders. If a horse is having sleep trouble, the most common cause is sleep deprivation. A horse might become sleep deprived if it feels that sleep is unsafe, either because there are predators nearby, or the horse is alone and has no buddy to look out for it. Horses can also have trouble sleeping because they are in pain, their sleeping space is not soft, or they must compete for sleeping space with other horses.

Horses Yawn, But Not Because They’re Tired

Like humans and many other mammals, horses yawn at times. Unlike humans, their yawning isn’t a signal that they’re becoming tired or need to sleep.

Both wild and domestic horses yawn, with male horses yawning much more frequently than female horses. Researchers have found that when horses yawn, it is often a signal of stress or frustration. For example, a horse might yawn because they are enclosed in a small area and want more space, or because they see food they want to eat and cannot access it.

Conclusion

Although there are many differences between the ways humans and horses sleep, there are also similarities. Horses enjoy sleeping on soft bedding and can have their sleep disturbed by noise and stress. Sleep helps horses restore their energy and is closely tied to their weight and other aspects of their health. Like us, horses can be negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

If you enjoyed learning more about the way horses sleep, consider reading some of our other articles about animals and sleep:

Thank you, Kayla Johnson, Community Relations for Tuck Sleep, for sharing this interesting article!

 

Your Amazon Author Central Page

I’m surprised by the number of authors who do NOT have or do not know about Amazon Author Central Pages. And as a reader, I enjoy these pages finding out more about the people who have penned the books I’m about to invest hours of my life in.

Authors benefit from an Amazon Author Central Page in many ways:
1. It’s free
2. You reach your target audience because Amazon is a place readers shop
3. The page allows you to showcase all your published work across genres in one place, including books to which you have been a contributing author
4. You have an opportunity to promote your blog
5. It is very easy to set up and update

Here is an example of my Amazon Author Page – not that it’s the best, but an idea: amazon.com/author/valerieormond

Since Nate Hoffeneider at The Digital Reader did such a great job explaining the process, I recommend you see his post, How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Profile.

In case that wasn’t enough, see these tips from Written Word Media: The Complete Guide to Making a Great Author Page with Amazon Author Central.

And now that you’ve developed your amazing Amazon Author Central Page, here are some ideas to help you make it sing. And yes, I do know some points overlap, but this is free advice!
https://www.amarketingexpert.com/five-quick-ways-to-ramp-up-your-amazon-author-central-page/

Good luck!

~Valerie Ormond

Winning Veteran Writing Awards in 2019

I am happy to close out the year announcing two prestigious military and veteran writing award winnings in 2019. The Military Writer’s Society of America presented me the President’s Award for exceptionally meritorious contributions to the organization at its annual membership conference in Albuquerque, NM. And in December at the Kentucky Horse Park, the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival awarded my latest book, Believing In Horses, Too, its Winnie Award for Best Veteran Fiction.

President of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Bob Doerr wrote to me, “Winning the President’s Award requires a lot from a member. It requires dedication, initiative, and hard work. As you know, winning awards is great, but our organization’s primary goal is to be of some benefit to our veterans and their families. I know that is also something close to your heart.

I have volunteered with MWSA since 2013, helping lead veteran writing workshops, assisting with conference planning, and serving as a book awards judge. I also spearheaded MWSA’s Ambassador Program to expand veteran writing workshops from a small cadre to a group of volunteers across the country conducting free veteran writing workshops in their regions.

Regarding the Winnie Award for Best Veteran Fiction, the award means so much to me because the EQUUS Literary Awards recognized my book for its support for veterans and their families. Our military, veterans, and their families often face situations people are unaware of. I had hoped to bring that aspect of military life out through this story.

As a 25-year Navy veteran, the spouse of a veteran, and the daughter of a veteran, I used my experiences to write the fictional Believing In Horses, Too. The book tells a story about a young girl in a military family who matures through her experiences with horses, people, and equine therapy.

Thank you to MWSA and the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival for your valuable support and recognition this year. And a happy “cheers” to all in 2020!

Equestrian Author Spotlight: Meet Valerie Ormond

Thank you to Carly Kade Creative for this wonderful interview and sharing my story with her many readers and followers. Here is Carly’s beautiful post, and please take a look at some of the great equestrian authors she has featured since starting this series in 2016. I’m honored to be in their company! #authorsunite

In this 40th Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with fellow equine author Valerie Ormond. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth — writing, books and horses! In the interview, horse book lovers will meet the horse that inspired her to write horse books with an important message. She says, “I believe self-doubt is the single biggest obstacle to people achieving success. One does not have to be rich, famous, brilliant, or beautiful to be successful. It takes belief, and determination, to make a difference.” I couldn’t agree more. Happy reading!

https://www.carlykadecreative.com/blog/equestrian-author-spotlight-meet-valerie-ormond

 

Standing Ovation for Military Writers

Thank you to Ovation Riding for their “Standing Ovation” for Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and author Robin Hutton and I for our upcoming contributions to the Albuquerque veterans’ writing workshop. I’m thrilled to meet Robin in person in a few days having followed the Sergeant Reckless story for years and having lived in Korea. Her newest book, War Animals: The Unsung Heroes of WWII, tells amazing tales, too, in a riveting look at what our animal heroes did for us all. Here is the link for the full story, and so glad to be part of this team!