A Touch of Class

Growing up as a horse lover in Maryland, I never imagined I would win an award like Maryland’s Touch of Class Award someday. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations, or events that demonstrate national or international excellence. The Maryland Horse Industry Board honored me and my second book, Believing In Horses, Too, for  our winning entry in the 2019 EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Awards.

The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) presented the award at Maryland Horse Council’s Virtual Annual Meeting in Nov. 17, 2020. MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord said, “We have so many talented artists in Maryland – writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, and more – and Valerie is one of them.”

MHIB’s official announcement read, “Valerie Ormond’s second novel, Believing In Horses, Too, won a Gold Medal in the Military Writers Society of America Book Awards; 1st Place in The Authors’ Zone Book Awards; Best Y.A. Fiction in the Stroud Arts Book Festival; Best Book in Juvenile Fiction in the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, and Best Veterans Fiction in the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Award. Congratulations!”

Past winners of the Touch of Class award have been world champion Maryland horses, mules, and riders. Disciplines have included dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers, jousting, steeplechase, polo, mounted shooting, rodeo, driving, pentathlon, polocrosse, endurance, therapy, and racing. Individual winners have been barn owners, facility managers, horse trainers, competitors, breeders, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Maryland established the prestigious Touch of Class Awards program in September 2011.

The award is personally rewarding to me as I see my Believing In Horses books as a coalescence of my horse, military, research, and writing experiences. The Believing In Horses, Too story is based in Maryland and highlights equine therapies, show competition, rescue horses, veterans, and military families. I appreciate the state of Maryland for supporting me and my work with this remarkable touch of class.

 

 

Enjoy the Magic Equestrian Moments of 2017

Relive the wonderful equestrian moments of 2017 through these photos and videos of horses in freedom, training, competition, and in their natural habitat. Thank you to Arnd Bronkhorst Photography for this beautiful gift to share with Believing In Horses blog readers.

Watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/247117227

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Written in the Margins

I break all the rules of what is considered “good” blogging. I don’t stick to one theme; my subjects are all over the place. I don’t incessantly “market” (polite word for “promote”) my own work. I don’t ask for opinions just to get people to interact with me, as suggested by marketers, (although I appreciate comments). So, in my continued rule-breaking, I’m going to post a review on a recent book I enjoyed, and it’s not even about horses.

Alma Margaret Permar’s Written in the Margins, Poems Touching the Essence of Life, (Wheatmark 2011) shares life experiences and emotions in a beautiful, well-displayed collection. In Permar’s own words, “There are the margins: the places where we’ve written notes to ourselves that reveal the essence of our journey.” Her poems range from just a few words to two pages in length in this 185-page volume, with most pages including one poem. Like much of reality, the writings cover happiness, grief, wonder, and hope. Permar’s choice of words and ability to capture the deepest of thoughts in soothing prose make for a wonderful read. [Read more…]

The Art of Photography

Lucky Southern Maryland Horse Association Show 2010

I appreciate the art of photography, which is one of the reasons I chose this form of “illustration” for  my novel, Believing In Horses. Besides the fact that the story is modern and photographic images are intertwined in the plot, I truly value what it takes to capture a good photograph. I studied photography in high school, college, and at the Defense Information School and understand the supposed qualities of good pictures. I also know that I can’t take a good picture to save my life, which may help explain why I appreciate the art form so much.I love the picture here, whether it follows all the conventions of the “rule of thirds,” contrast, or not.

This picture, to me, tells a story. The position of the horse’s head, the slightly tattered barn door, the garment bag peeking out from behind the last ribbons — they all tell us something about that exact moment in time. I happen to know the story, which makes it easier, but I would hope that even the casual observer could view this photo and feel like it meant something. [Read more…]