War Horse Salute

War Horse Movie Screening

Five stars; thumbs up; must see; prepare to cry.  I was fortunate enough see the Washington, D.C., premier of the movie War Horse presented by the Maryland Jockey Club and the American Horse Council on December 15th.  I had wondered if the movie would live up to all the hype; it surpassed expectations.  See it on the big screen; don’t wait for the DVD, because it won’t be the same.

Although I absolutely loved the movie, I have some advice to moviegoers who have read the book:  leave the book at the door.  Some significant differences between the book and the movie exist.  For example, the book is told from the horse’s point of view, and the movie is not.  Some movie characters were more developed than they were in the book, while other well-developed book characters were almost non-existent in the movie.  I kept letting that bother me, when I should have just enjoyed the movie for what it was.  Both the book and the movie are outstanding; they are just different. [Read more…]

Horse Book Club

Today I met the newly-formed and already-fantastic Horse Book Club at Nantucket Elementary School in Crofton, Md.  Nantucket’s school librarian, Ms. Miller, brought together this group of enthusiastic horse-crazy students to read and discuss my book, Believing In Horses, over the next several months.  Like so many of our educators out there, Ms. Miller, and her assistant Ms. Clark, have gone beyond their required jobs to create a special learning environment for these readers.  Ms. Miller asked if I’d come sign and present the books and talk to the Club on its inaugural day, which of course I happily did.

To make this an ongoing interactive experience, the Club will use a relatively new educational social media platform, Edmodo.  According to its creators, “Edmodo promotes anytime, anyplace learning. Functionally, it allows teachers to post messages, discuss classroom topics, assign and grade classwork, share content and materials, and network and exchange ideas with their peers – but in reality, it is so much more.”  The librarian established a Believing In Horses group in Edmodo allowing us all to discuss and share ideas virtually.  Ms.Miller’s first post:   “I hope you will enjoy our book club. Our first task is to find a neat name for our book club. Think about ‘horse’ words and share them with the group.”

Educational Social Media Tool [Read more…]

Free Jumping – with Video!

American Quarter Horse Billy free jumping for the first time

Billy free jumping. For videos, see links in post.

My husband, Jaime Navarro, and I won a silent auction item at the recent Maryland Horse Council annual barbeque: 1 Free Jumping Session with Steuart Pittman. At Pittman’s Dodon Farm, he and an assistant school a horse through their jumping chute in the indoor arena. According to the auction flyer, “Most horses only need to do it once or twice for them and you to find out just how much talent they have.”

A life-long horseman, Steuart Pittman’s credentials include certification to teach eventing through the preliminary level. I featured him in Believing In Horses as “the current President of the MHC, a well-known local equestrian, and a former grassroots lobbyist,” all true. Dodon Farm’s business ranges from breeding, training, and starting horses to improving riders. I also consider Steuart a “horse saver” (my term), for his tremendous efforts in supporting the MHC’s Unwanted Horse Project and in his work retraining off-track Thoroughbreds. He and his wife, Erin, created The Retired Racehorse Training Project, which recently received its official 501(c)3 charitable status. [Read more…]

A Portion of the Proceeds to Help Thoroughbreds

Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. Booth at Maryland Million

Lucy Krone (left), on the Board of Directors for Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc., received check from Valerie Ormond (right) as a portion of the proceeds from Beliveing In Horses.

The highlight of my weekend came on Saturday when I provided one of the Maryland rescues featured in Believing In Horses with a small donation. When I decided to write a book about unwanted horses, I knew I wanted to include real life rescues and retraining facilities. I’d met Kimberly Clark, owner and founder of Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Inc. (TPR, Inc.) once, and knew she was the type person, and ran the kind of facility, I wanted to accurately portray in the story. Besides bringing awareness to the unwanted horse problem, I had also hoped to recognize the efforts of hard-working volunteers and provide a portion of the book proceeds to two Maryland horse rescue organizations (Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is the other, and they’ll be receiving a check during their Oct. 22nd fundraiser).  [Read more…]

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. [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…]