A Fun, Timely, Sensitive, and Perceptive Story

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By Valerie Ormond

J.B. Max Publishing, 2014

ISBN 978-0-9736330-4-7

Fiction, 246 pages

Soft Cover, Kindle

Reviewed by Margaret Evans

“Sadie felt so isolated. She couldn’t share or communicate her worry with her family. And living in a community with no other military people, no one else would understand. So she lived a life of constant secret fear which grew every day. She needed a distraction.”

Gold medal award winning author Valerie Ormond’s Believing in Horses, Too takes thirteen-year-old Sadie Navarro to new challenges. Sadie wants more than ever to make her father proud by riding in her first show on her gelding, Lucky. Her father, Lieutenant Commander Navarro, is deployed to Afghanistan. She always fears for his safety and during the first six months of his deployment, Sadie had preoccupied herself by taking on the challenge of saving ten horses on their way to an auction and a very uncertain future.

With the horses now in safe homes, Sadie needs a new challenge and riding in her very first show on Lucky is the answer. But she isn’t prepared for all the steps it takes to get ready for a show and Lucky is as green as she is. It doesn’t help that a particularly nasty rival in the show ring sets out to dash Sadie’s dreams and puts Lucky’s safety at risk.

But Sadie is also challenged and excited when she goes to visit one of the horses she had saved. Goliath is now part of an equine-assisted therapy program and Sadie is fascinated by how horses help people with special needs, especially military veterans. She knows this is something very special she wants to do. But does she have the courage – or the skills – to do it?

Believing in Horses, Too is a fun, timely, sensitive and perceptive story of Sadie’s struggles, inner fears, hopes and triumphs.

Author Valerie Ormond brings great insight into Sadie’s story. Ormond had a career in the US Navy before starting out as a writer. She is a lifetime member of the Naval Intelligence Professionals and Disabled American Veterans, and she is a strong supporter of military and veteran families.

Her first novel, Believing in Horses won the Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal for Young Adult Books and the Gold Medal for Children’s Literature in the Stars and Flags Book Awards. Ormond owns and rides horses and lives in Maryland with husband Jaime Navarro.

Believing in Horses, Too is a great read for both young riders and parents who want to understand the many special talents that horses offer.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.

Thank you, Margaret Evans, Canadian Horse Journal, and Horse Journals for this nice review and introducing new readers to this book!

Maryland is for Horses


The Maryland state slogan should be “Maryland is for Horses;” it makes much more sense than “Virginia is for Lovers.” It’s not just the history, the legacy, and the facilities, but our fellow citizens’ support. Although I’ve been involved with horses since my first riding lessons at Kettering Stables in the 1960’s and grew up watching horses run at Bowie Race Track, I did not understand the far reaching impact horses had on communities, businesses, individuals, and industries until recently. I’m not an economist, but I can use my own personal example to illustrate how one person’s horse habit can affect the local economy. [Read more…]

Author Pays It Forward for Other Authors

I hope you will stop by and check out my guest author interview on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog – she asks great questions! Besides offering writing tips based on her career as a writer, Cheryl hosts authors from around the world to help them gain exposure. In her words: “On this blog, I ‘Pay it Forward’ to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too ‘Pay It Forward’ to any other author.”


Cheryl Holloway's Blog [Read more…]

Inspirational Young Horse Saver

I reconnected with a childhood friend recently whose daughter, Nicole, volunteers with Freedom Hill Horse Rescue. My friend mentioned Nicole was preparing her end-of-year book report and diorama on my book, “Believing In Horses.” When I saw her diorama and read her report, I found it so touching that I wanted to share them with others. In times when children are often criticized for being self-centered and lazy, I’m happy to highlight one who is not.

So, from my youngest contributor to this blog, I bring you 10-year-old Nicole Cavanaugh, an inspirational young horse saver.

Nicole Cavanaugh's diorama for Believing In Horses

In this scene from “Believing in Horses” Sadie is going to Freedom Hill Horse Rescue for the first time. Sadie is visiting Freedom Hill to sign up as a volunteer and to show them her presentation about the horses that need to be saved. She is hoping they will help her save the horses that are going to be auctioned. This is an important moment for Sadie because this is the first time she asks for help to achieve her goal. (Nicole Cavanaugh)


The Navarros are moving to Bowie, Maryland, because Sadie’s Dad is in the military and is being reassigned for a few years. One of those years he will be in Afghanistan, which makes Sadie sad. Her reward for being so good about the situation is a horse. Sadie’s grandmother sends Sadie a horse. His name is Color Me Lucky but they call him Lucky. One day Sadie learned about 10 horses that needed to be saved because they were going to auction. Many horses that go to auction are killed for meat. Sadie decided she [Read more…]

Riding Invisible – Book Review

Riding Invisible
It’s been awhile since a book review, and since I found this particular book so interesting, I wanted to share “Riding Invisible” by Sandra Alonzo with you.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved “Riding Invisible” and had a hard time putting it down. The story begins with young Yancy running away from home on his horse, Shy, and the journal of his adventure. [Read more…]

Making A Difference, One Horse, Or Human, at a Time

Hello readers, I was a finalist in Angelea Walkup’s HorseGirlTV Guest Bloggers competition!  Please see the guest post at http://www.horsegirltv.com/making-a-difference-one-horse-or-human-at-a-time/.  Thanks, Angelea, and Team HorseGirlTV for inviting me to stop by.