Believing In Horses, Too Wins Again!

“A great read. Filled with inspiration and drive.” —Stroud Arts Book Festival”

Believing In Horses, Too won the Best Young Adult Fiction book and Literary Excellence Award in the 2018 Stroud Arts Book Festival awards. This win follows previous awards including a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America and 1st Place in Young Adult Fiction in The Authors’ Zone book awards.

Book festival Executive Director Guy Lozier said, “You have achieved A Gold Award for your efforts. The judges were impressed with your solid literary achievement.”

“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.

The author, Valerie Ormond, is a Navy veteran, horsewoman, and Chief Executive Office of her own business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC. Both of her books, Believing In Horses, and Believing In Horses, Too, are multiple award-winning books featuring horse organizations, volunteerism, and life challenges. Ormond’s non-fiction stories have appeared in books, magazines, and news articles worldwide.

Believing In Horses, Too is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and retail outlets listed on To help celebrate the latest award, the Believing In Horses, Too eBook is on sale for $.99 until Sep. 12.



Benefits of Horseback Riding

Please welcome guest blogger Mike Shortridge –  all the way from Australia!

Horseback riding is an enjoyable pastime for all ages and can be a fun hobby. But it also comes with amazing benefits including offering good exercise and helping to strengthen your muscles.

A ride provides significant exercise, but also offers benefits including improved balance, coordination, and even a meditative effect, helping riders forget about everyday stresses for the duration of the ride.

We caught up with Russ from and asked for his top ten ways in which horseback riding can benefit your overall health. Here they are.

1. A moderately intense workout

While riding a horse might look easy, anyone who has ever tried it can testify that it’s not the case. Balancing in the saddle takes a lot of muscle effort even at a standstill, while actively riding and guiding a horse can be incredibly strenuous, providing a great workout. Riding a horse to a light trot uses up as many calories as any other type of moderately intensive exercise.

2. Stronger muscles in your core

Horseback riding requires balance in the saddle to stop you from bouncing around. Staying in place makes use of all your core muscles. So regular riding can help you on the way to better abs, keeping your central core lean and strong.

3. Better overall posture

The position for riding can help to align hips, back, and pelvis, and strengthen your core, meaning more time in the saddle can lead to a much-improved posture. The more regularly you ride, the better your posture can become.

4. Improved muscle tone

Riding horses helps exercise your lower body providing better toned muscles. You use lower body muscles holding the position to remain balanced while riding and improve your muscle tone and overall flexibility.

5. Physical labor

Looking after a horse including mucking out stalls, pushing wheelbarrows, and carrying food also add to the daily workout. All these activities will help you to burn more calories and get stronger and fitter alongside the riding itself.

6. Better balance

Every time the horse moves and turns you need to keep your balance to stay on. The more you ride, the better you will get at staying on and being balanced, which will help you gain strength for when you are out of the saddle.

7. Increased awareness of your body

Riding a horse helps you to be more aware of your body and core muscles as you start to use them on a regular basis and see noticeable improvements in your strength and muscle tone. All the benefits from the increased awareness and strength will also translate into your everyday life away from the stables.

8. Faster reactions

Riding a horse means constantly being aware of what is around you and what is happening with the horse. You need to watch out for low branches, anything which might spook the horse, and any sudden movements which could throw you off balance, so your quick thinking and fast reactions will improve.

9. Improved coordination skills

Many things need to happen at the same time when riding. You use your feet, hands, core and mental faculties all at the same time to keep the horse under control and stay balanced, leading to improved coordination skills overall. This works particularly well for children and has been shown to create large improvements in childhood coordination overall.

10. A calming meditative effect

Focusing solely on the rhythm of the horse and riding outside can have a positive impact on your mental health with almost a meditative effect. When riding, your focus is completely on the horse and your surroundings meaning all stress, worries, and concerns are left behind during your time in the saddle.

There are many benefits to horseback riding for adults and children alike, including regular exercise, fresh air, improved coordination, and quick-thinking skills. Riding has also been proven to be beneficial in other ways, particularly for children, improving confidence and developing better coordination. Horses provide therapeutic benefits for children in bonding with the animals and taking on the responsibility of looking after them. As an enjoyable family event, horseback riding can bring everyone together while offering all these health and mental benefits at the same time.

About Mike Shortridge: Mike is a freelance writer who contributes to and other equine-related blogs internationally.

Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

Photos via Pixabay used under Creative Commons CC0.

Carly Kade Creative

I had a chance to visit in person with Carly Kade during the American Horse Publications 2018 Conference, and I don’t think I know of anyone with a more appropriate business name than “Carly Kade Creative.” She does it all – writes, creates videos, does graphic design, takes photographs, and has amazing marketing talent.

I first met Carly virtually when I featured her post on book reviews, which then led me to learn more about her award-winning equine romance novels. Here is my review of her first book, In the Reins. [Read more…]

Creating and Managing Successful Internships

Maryland Horse Council Intern Holden Rafey interviewing Olympian Joe Fargis (photo courtesy of Holden Rafey)

I landed my first professional job at WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Md., after serving as an intern while a student at Towson University. At 21-years-old, I became the station’s assistant Public Relations Officer with real duties and responsibilities and had the opportunity to work with industry icons like Oprah Winfrey. I owe that job and experience to my supervisor during my internship, Joyce Kashima. [Read more…]

A Tribute to My Dog, Amos

I lost my dog, my kind, sweet soul, Amos, last month. It shook me how hard I took it. A wonderful mix of loving Labrador retriever and laid-back bloodhound, he was the perfect dog companion. Rescued from a situation where he had been chained outside, he found a better life and lived to the age of 15. I have so many fond memories of him. [Read more…]

More Information = Better World for Horses

AHP Equine Industry SurveyAmerican Horse Publications Launches Fourth Equine Industry Survey, Sponsored by Zoetis
by Christine Brune | AHP Press Room |

On January 22, American Horse Publications (AHP) launched its fourth Equine Industry Survey at Horse owners who live in the United States, are 18 years of age and older, and who currently own or manage at least one horse are invited to complete the survey by April 1, 2018. [Read more…]