Friesians, Parachutes, and Playlists: 24 Hours with Horse Trainer and Performer Sandra Beaulieu

It is always amazing to learn how our authors manage their days. With most of them working equestrians or equine experts, hours are always an incredible juggling act of horses, clients, and family. This month we caught up with the stunning and talented Sandra Beaulieu, author of FREESTYLE: The Ultimate Guide to Riding, Training, and Competing to Music, to find out how her life balance works as the manager of Little River Friesians in Havana, Florida.

Photo by Susan McClafferty

5:00 am A few years ago I started waking up early to work on my book FREESTYLE. I love the dark and quiet nature of the morning…with my two cups of coffee of course! Don’t get me wrong…I would love to sleep in, but if I don’t work in the morning it just won’t happen. To help me stay consistent I put my cell phone outside my room so I have to get up to turn off the alarm, otherwise I will hit snooze. I am currently working on an ebook specifically for Second Level choreography, which is a supplement to my book FREESTYLE. I also work on blog posts, social media…basically anything that involves my computer.

Coffee and working on the latest eBook. Photo by Sandra Beaulieu.

6:00 am Light yoga and any physical therapy exercises I am working on. I have old riding injuries and a chronic hip flexor issue that takes a lot to maintain. I go to the chiropractor and a masseuse once a week and also use my Magna Wave machine, KT tape sometimes, and Arnica to help improve healing and symmetry in my body. If I ride too many horses in one day or a very wide horse it puts a lot of stress on my body so I do my best to stay flexible and strong.

7:00 am Down the stairs and into the barn…I live in a beautiful apartment above the horses and I love being so close to them. I have quick access in case of emergencies, and it makes my day to hear them whinny when it’s time for carrots. There have been many nights where I need to give medications, bring in a loose horse, or check on a pregnant mare. I help with morning chores and make sure everyone is safe, happy, and healthy.

A beautiful morning bringing in the horses at Little River Friesians in Havana, Florida.

8:00 am – 11:00 am Run back upstairs to make my morning smoothie and take my supplements. Then back downstairs to write out my plan for the day and powwow with Lilian, our barn manager. Every day is different but most of the time I plan to ride two or three horses by lunch. Once a week we plan a trail day where the horses get to venture out and have a relaxing stroll through the woods. Sometimes I am preparing for a clinic, performance, or photo shoot. 

I work on basic dressage training with all the riding horses and add liberty and trick training as well. Lately, I have added some working equitation obstacles and introduced some of the horses to the garrocha pole. I like to keep training sessions fun with a lot of variety. I always play music and have individual playlists for each horse to work on future Freestyles and to keep the energy light and playful. 

Riding Co Fan S at a dressage clinic. He is a thirteen-year-old Friesian gelding owned by Little River Friesians. Photo by Triple C Photography

11:00 am – 12:00 pm  Lunch time for me and the horses. I help the team give out hay, water, and extra supplements/medications. I usually check the social media channels for Little River Friesians while I eat and Lilian and I meet to work on TikTok videos and post to Instagram/Facebook. We love creating beautiful and funny videos of the horses to share with the world. We have mostly Friesians at the farm along with a few Warlanders (Friesian x Andalusian cross) and Andalusians. They are certainly fairytale horses with wonderful personalities that love to entertain.

Preparing Co Fan S for a funny TikTok video. Photo by Rachel Quidagno

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Back to the horses! We have quite a few broodmares that I work with, doing long-lining, easy trail riding, and sometimes ring work. My main priority is to keep them happy and healthy so that they are in the best shape possible for carrying their foals. This includes a lot of grooming time, bathing/braiding, and some trick training for fun. Lilian and I also work together to train the foals/yearlings so that they are well-handled when they are sold. All our weanlings lead very well, stand for the farrier, get baths, and are introduced to the trailer and the round pen before they move on to new homes. 

The “Model” Friesian mares at Little River Friesians: (left to right) Truus Van Het Houkumhuis, Trudi, Trude Van De Kleine Koppel, Sybrich V. Stal Staf Karima. Photo by Kimberly Chason

3:00 pm “Dinner time” is fairly early so the horses can go outside and spend most of their time grazing and out with each other. In the summer months they stay inside under the fans until later in the evening but right now the weather is perfect to be outside from 3:00 pm in the afternoon until 7:00 am the next day. 

4:00 pm This is usually my time to work with Rovandio, my personal horse. Right now we are learning how to do Working Equitation and having fun preparing for shows/clinics. Rovandio is nineteen years old and requires a lot of maintenance so while I am grooming him he has the Magna Wave on him, his nebulizer for breathing, and I give him his homeopathic remedies, arnica, and herbal cough syrup before we ride. We usually do a short walking trail ride to warm up and work on dressage and obstacles, depending on how he feels that day.

I have known Rovandio since he was born and owned by my close friend Bethanne Ragaglia. When he was older I started training him full time and taking him to perform with my horse Douwe. He is a handy horse, easy to ride with one hand, and has a comfortable stride. I started painting from horseback with Rovandio, and we have performed at Equine Affaire and were invited to the World Equestrian Games and Equitana as well.

Painting from horseback while riding Rovandio, a Lipizzan/Andalusian/TB cross gelding. Photo by Kimberly Chason

7:00 am Usually I try to catch up on my own social media channels at this time and make sure to include my sponsors, Adams Horse Supplies, Espana Silk, and Kastel Denmark. I check to see if Little River has any comments/messages and return emails as well. 

Before I have dinner I enjoy taking the four-wheeler out to the horse’s paddocks to give them carrots and check that their fly masks/sheets/blankets are on properly and that everyone looks happy and healthy. During this nightly drive I stop by the beautiful meadow where my heart horse Douwe is buried and say goodnight to my special boy. He tragically passed away last summer due to a ruptured spleen and the past year has been a difficult time for me to grieve and figure out my life without him. 

My heart horse Douwe was a lot of fun in photo shoots. We used to perform a lot together, blending bridleless riding, liberty, and tricks. Photo by Kimberly Chason

8:00 pm Wind down from the day with a healthy salad, sometimes a glass of wine, and an episode of whatever I have been watching recently. I like to watch familiar shows I have seen before…if I watch something new and exciting I just want to stay up all night to see what happens! I love watching shows and movies that have horses and beautiful costumes like Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Bridgerton. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time period!

With Douwe, the Friesian gelding that changed my life. Photo/art by Kimberly Chason

9:00 pm My goal is to be in bed by this time, and I usually write in my journal before I turn the lights out, reflecting on my day and appreciating all the positive things in my life. I look forward to the future but do my best to stay present, enjoying my dream job surrounded by the beautiful, special horses of Little River Friesians.


Sandra Beaulieu’s book FREESTYLE is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Enjoy this? Check out other author interviews in the “24 Hours” series:

Dr. Stacie Boswell
Cathy Woods
Dr. Jenni Grimmett
Dr. Bob Grisel
Tik Maynard
Jec Aristotle Ballou
Kendra Gale
Jean Abernethy
Yvonne Barteau
Jonathan Field
Emma Ford
Jochen Schleese
Heather Smith Thomas
Lynn Palm
Daniel Stewart
Doug Payne
Janet Foy




Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

It’s a Fergus Time of Year

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Do you remember the first time you saw a Fergus the Horse Cartoon? Was he trading super clever commentary with the ever-cynical Grace? Was he stepping slickly and not-so-innocently to one side, away from the mounting block where his brave rider (alas) was attempting to climb astride? Was he pulling a laden sleigh in the company of a joyfully mismatched team? Was he photobombing a famous landmark or equestrian event?

As horse lovers, we feel pretty darn lucky to have Fergus in our lives. His antics, and those of his equine friends, ring beautifully true—he is truly “everyone’s” horse. And sometimes, when things are tough at the barn or at work or in the world, it just feels good to indulge in that which makes us laugh.

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In the past four years, Fergus has starred in three books of his own. The first, THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE, is a compilation of popular Fergus comics, plus the history of how his cartoon self came to be. The second and third books are shorter and tell silly stories of particular Fergus adventures: FERGUS: A HORSE TO BE RECKONED WITH pairs our favorite cartoon horse with a young lad bent on starting a reticent Fergus the right way, with groundwork and thoughtful horsemanship. FERGUS AND THE GREENER GRASS is this year’s release—a delightfully surprising comic adventure in which Fergus leaves his life of comfort behind and sets off on a hilarious journey. His exploits lead him over, under, and through all manner of obstacles as he strives to reach the bigger, better prize that beckons, always just a little farther away…and on the other side.

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Whether you’re 5 or 95, whether you just “like” horses or have had them your entire life, Fergus will make you smile. And this time of year, there’s nothing better than that.

THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE, FERGUS: A HORSE TO BE RECKONED WITH, and FERGUS AND THE GREENER GRASS are all available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Watch as famous trainers read Fergus the Horse:

Here’s what people are saying about Fergus and his books:

“My family loves the Fergus comics and this book will make it even easier to share his wisdom and humor with others. I know what I’m buying for Christmas presents this year!”—Stacy Westfall, Clinician, Freestyle Reining Champion, Winner of the 2006 Road to the Horse Colt-Starting Competition, and 2012 Cowgirl Hall of Fame Inductee

“If Sgt. Reckless were alive today, she and Fergus would be the best of friends! Fergus brings a smile to my face every time I read his cartoon.”—Robin Hutton, Author of the New York Times Bestseller Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse

“How cool to have Fergus and his buddies corralled in one spot! I’ve enjoyed his escapades so much over the years. This book will be a great way to enjoy them again and share them with others.”—Christine Hamilton, Editor, Western Horseman Magazine

“Fergus is that rare example of a horse with his hooves in two communities: He speaks for horses, and he speaks for people who love them. When I read a Fergus comic panel, I always chuckle, first loudly and then ruefully because the comic is funny—and I’ve been in that situation before.”—Larri Jo Starkey, Editor, The American Quarter Horse Journal

“Jean Abernethy has an artistic gift and a comic wit that makes us all grin. I am thrilled that so many of Fergus’s adventures can now be viewed together in a book.”—Lisa Wysocky, Author of My Horse My Partner and the Cat Enright Equestrian Mystery Series

“I’ve only recently become acquainted with Fergus, but we immediately hit it off. He’s just the kind of horse I like to get to know and figure out—not afraid to speak his mind, a great sense of humor, and he can teach us all a thing or two. Horses have always been my greatest teachers…but Fergus is the first animated one!”—Jonathan Field, Trainer, Clinician, and Author of The Art of Liberty Training for Horses

“Just as Snoopy is cool and Calvin and Hobbes is imaginative, Fergus the Horse is gen-u-ine equine.”—Saddle Seeks Horse

“Have you seen Fergus the Horse? If not, you’re in for a treat. … Abernethy portrays Fergus with bright, colorful illustrations that will enthrall readers of all ages. You’ll likely recognize your own horse in his amusing predicaments.”—Trail Rider Magazine

Want more Fergus? Find him on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM!

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business located on a farm in rural Vermont.

 

What Do Guy McLean, Sgt. Reckless, The Horse Radio Network, and 300,000 Facebook Fans Have in Common?

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A cartoon horse named Fergus, that’s what.

“If Sgt. Reckless were alive today, she and Fergus would be the best of friends!” says Robin Hutton, author of the New York Times bestseller Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse. “Fergus brings a smile to my face every time I read his cartoon.”

“For many years I have heard people say, ‘If only they could talk,’ when it comes to horses,” says Australian horseman, poet, and entertainer Guy McLean. “Fergus is doing just that: sharing his everyday life and letting all of us know what’s really going on in the intricate minds of our beloved equine friends.”

Now Fergus the Horse, winner of over 300,000 Facebook hearts and quite easily identified as the most popular cartoon equine the world over (one of his posts has had over a million likes!), has a new book—THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE—and it’s available to order NOW from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK TO LISTEN

CLICK TO LISTEN

“We’re going to go ahead and make our first Christmas recommendation,” proclaimed host Glenn the Geek on a recent episode of the Horse Radio Network’s “Horses in the Morning.” “If you’re looking for the book that any horsesperson will like, at any age…[THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE] will bring a lot of smiles.”

You can catch the full interview with Fergus’ human creator Jean Abernethy on “Horses in the Morning” Episode 1277, which first aired on October 14 (CLICK HERE). And be sure to watch for the November 2015 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine, which features a profile of Jean, her little cartoon horse, and their great big success.

And we’ll be sharing more information on upcoming book signings with Jean and Fergus at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto and at the Equus Film Festival in New York City! Check back soon!

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

“How cool to have Fergus and his buddies corralled in one spot! I’ve enjoyed his escapades so much over the years. This book will be a great way to enjoy them again and share them with others.” —Christine Hamilton, Western Horseman Magazine

Acknowledging the Power of Intent and How to “Be of Two Minds” with Horses

“Intent” is a bit of a buzz word around horses these days. Supplied with a variety of related definitions by Merriam-Webster, and the scientific and pseudo-scientific communities, it is most often used in reference to a rider or trainer “having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something or some end or purpose.” Horses, by nature, survive by a keen awareness of “intent,” which may be due to the near constant exchange of energy that occurs between beings, each other, and their environment.

“Directed intention,” writes bestselling author Lynne McTaggert in The Intention Experiment, “appears to manifest itself as both electrical and magnetic energy, visible and measurable by sensitive equipment.”

 

Horses can be aware of our intent...before we are. (Photo by Keron Psillas)

Horses can be aware of our intent…before we are. (Photo by Keron Psillas)

 

“It is possible for a horse to be aware of our intent (our determination to act in a certain way) before we are conscious of it,” says classical trainer Dominique Barbier in THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS, the intriguingly philosophical book he wrote with Dr. Maria Katsamanis, recently published by TSB. “On the molecular level, transmission of intent occurs before our human consciousness is ‘up to date.’ I think that animals have the extraordinary ability to know ‘in the now’ when things are in the process of happening. Their security, their safety, is based on that knowing. In the wild, when the horse is not aware of the mountain lion’s proximity, he is eaten, gone. Therefore, he has developed a very important ability to be able to perceive another’s intent.

“In our case, it is the ‘picture’ in our head that he sees perhaps even before we do. He grabs it instantly. This is why in my book Dressage for the New Age I talk about the ‘two minds’: the mind in the front, which the horse can read, and the mind in the back that the horse cannot read. For instance, if we think that we would like to have the horse do a flying change in the corner after the short side, generally the horse does it immediately rather than waiting for the corner (of course, not all horses but most). This is why it is very important to ‘separate’ our two minds. In order to perform the flying change as we wish, we must have our front mind say, ‘I will keep my normal canter,’ while in the back of our mind we know that we will be asking for a flying change. When we do not learn to separate our two minds, horses (generally) will execute what we want them to do in the moment.

“This brings us back to why we must learn to be instead of do. For those people who have limited awareness of self and of energy, the horse definitely gets it first. When we are not present, we are not even part of the picture. In riders today, this is often the case…and that is why most horses look sleepy, or bored, or both.”

 

Enjoy this lovely inside glimpse of horses that are clearly neither sleepy nor bored at Barbier Farm:

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Ready to explore the power of your intent, and the many other physical, spiritual, and emotional connections that occur between horse and rider? THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS is available at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

TSB Authors Tell Us Why They Love Presenting at Equine Affaire…See Them in Columbus, Ohio, April 11-14

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Equine Affaire will be held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio, April 11 through April 14, 2013! Equine Affaire is legendary for its “horse-centric” educational programs, with clinics, seminars, and demonstrations that highlight a wide variety of equestrian sports, as well as offering instruction in horse training, management, and riding technique. Over the years Equine Affaire’s rosters of presenters have included Olympians; World and National Champion riders; popular equestrian TV personalities; course designers; judges; veterinarians; professors; and of course, MANY TSB authors, who come from all manner of backgrounds and areas of specialty, and countries all over the world.

Visit Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN'S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, at EA Ohio.

Visit Sean Patrick, author of THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE, at the 2013 EA Ohio.

This year EA Ohio attendees have a chance to meet Sean Patrick, author of the bestselling book THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE and four-disc DVD series of the same name. Sean, one of 2013’s Road to the Horse Wild Card Competitors, is presenting tips and techniques for developing a confident and capable partnership with your horse on the trail. You can find Sean at the following locations and times:

• Training Solutions for the Modern Horseman – Thursday 4/11 at 5:00: Youth Pavilion in the Celeste Center

• Trust on the Trail – Saturday 4/13 at 11:45: Rod’s Covered Paddock

• Speed Control in the Back Country – Saturday 4/13 at 4:00: Cooper Arena

• Confidence on the Trail – Sunday 4/14 at 12:15: Cooper Arena

• Creating the Ultimate Trail Horse – Sunday 4/14 at 3:15: Cooper Arena

After and between his clinics and presentations, Sean invites you back to his booth #1004 in the Bricker Building, to say “hello,” ask questions, purchase books or DVDs, and get them signed.

“I look forward to seeing everyone at my trail-riding clinics,” says Sean, “and I hope you stop by our booth to meet my wife Alisha, daughter Madilyn, and Wild Card mount, Joker—all of whom are making the trip north from Florida with me!”

Another TSB author, USEF Hunter/Jumper and Equitation Judge Geoff Teall, is presenting at the following times and locations:

• Honing Skills over Fences – Thursday 4/11 at 9:45: Coliseum Arena

• Hunter Seat Equitation – Thursday 4/11 at 1:15: Coliseum Arena

TSB author Geoff Teall will give hunter/jumper/equitation clinics at EA Ohio.

TSB author Geoff Teall will give hunter/jumper/equitation clinics at EA Ohio.

“I always look forward to working at Equine Affaire,” says Geoff. “It is a great pleasure to work with so many illustrious clinicians, and in front of so many interested people, at one time. I truly believe it is a great experience for all concerned.”

In addition, the authors of the hit book KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE Eunice Rush and Marry Morrow will be at the Midwest Trail Ride and Outpost Store booth #1214 in the Bricker Building to talk to you about your personality and your horse’s…as well as how to find the “perfect equine match” and then train your horse as best suits his personality.

“Marry and I are really looking forward to Equine Affaire,” says Eunice. “I have attended for many years, and I find so many events that capture my interest—but Fantasia [a nightly musical performance that celebrates the horse] tops the list! Checking out all the new horse products [in the massive trade show] is my main focus for the daytime hours. I feel very privileged to participate this year and can’t wait to talk to people about our unique approach to human/horse relationships.”

Eunice Rush (left) and Marry Morrow (right), authors of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE.

Eunice Rush (left) and Marry Morrow (right), authors of KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE.

“Attending Equine Affaire is always exciting,” adds Marry. “Being a trainer, I enjoy many of the presenters, but this year I am really looking forward to seeing Monet Phillips (Horse and Rider Biomechanics), Lisa Fry (Equine Reiki), and because I have never seen it, The International Jousting Association! Of course, spending time with our friends from Midwest Trail Riders is going to be part of the fun!”

CLICK IMAGE to see more of Equine Affaire featured artist Jennifer Brandon's work!

CLICK IMAGE to see more of Equine Affaire featured artist Jennifer Brandon’s work!

Do you like the 2013 Equine Affaire artwork? We love it, and are exceptionally proud that his year’s featured artist is Jennifer Brandon, a wonderful and talented animal portrait artist and designer who created the cover art for the new young reader fiction books CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED. Be sure to check out more of her work online at jachestudio.com.

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Receives Support from the “Painting Racehorse”–Watch the TODAY SHOW on April 9th to Hear the Story!

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption has a new "champion"! Metro Meteor, the Painting Racehorse, will be on the TODAY SHOW April 4, 2013. Tune in and check it out!

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption has a new “champion”! Metro Meteor, the Painting Racehorse, will be on the TODAY SHOW April 9, 2013. Tune in and check it out!

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes.  The New Vocations focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. Close to 4,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception, including 429 ex-racehorses that were placed in 2011. These horses have come from 18 different states and have been adopted by families throughout the country.

New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford expanded the organization’s reach when she wrote BEYOND THE TRACK: RETRAINING THE THOROUGHBRED FROM RACEHORSE TO RIDING HORSE, alongside cowriter Amber Heintzberger. Their marvelous book provides the most thorough, clear, step-by-step system for successfully transitioning ex-racehorses to new careers, providing thousands of horses (and their lucky owners) the opportunity to enjoy each other in both recreation and sport. In addition, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of each book goes to support the New Vocations program.

Now New Vocations has a rising star in the art world on its side: Metro Meteor, a contemporary artist who, while you may not have heard of him yet, is about to break into the big time when he appears on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.

Although he has only recently been recognized for his artistic eye, there is already a waiting list for Metro Meteor’s abstract paintings…and 50% of the proceeds from all sales go directly to New Vocations! Why does this emerging artist choose to champion the cause of racehorse adoption? Well, because (of course) he started his life on the track (did I forget to mention he’s a HORSE?)

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Metro won his first race and placed in his first stakes race as a two-year-old. Running turf races out of Saratoga and Belmont, Metro won eight races and $300,000 in purse money. But he was prone to bone chips in his knees and underwent two surgeries during his racing career before his knee issues led him to only racing in low-level claiming races. Luckily, the manager of the racing partnership that owned him retired the horse and put out a call for a good home—and Ron and Wendy Krajewski took him, hoping for a trail horse.

It wasn’t long, even with only light work, before Metro’s veterinary prognosis indicated he needed to be retired completely from work. Ron’s bond with the horse inspired him to find other ways they could spend time together, including groundwork and…painting! Ron is a painter by trade, and using clicker training concepts, he taught Metro to target and “swipe” a canvas with a brush. Ron chooses the colors, but the layering, texture, and form is all Metro.

On a whim Ron offered a few of Metro’s pieces for sale through a local gallery, and they were a hit. He decided to continue marketing Metro’s work with half of the proceeds going toward paying his ex-racehorses expenses and veterinary bills, and the other half donated to help fund New Vocations and their mission to find other “Metros” new careers…and unexpected ways to share time and space with humans.

When Ron contacted New Vocations to explain what he wanted to do, Executive Director Dot Morgan was amazed and excited. “It was an interesting email that became downright inspiring!” she says. “Ron described his adopted Thoroughbred Metro Meteor, how he’d taught him to paint, and that he wanted to commit part of the proceeds to New Vocations. But then he went on to say that six paintings had sold the first week and he was sending 50% of those sales to New Vocations! In addition, an article about Metro’s mission had appeared in the Gettysburg Times and just been picked up by the Associated Press!

“He included a link to a video of Metro painting in his stable studio,” Dot continues. “I watched the video and was astounded! This was potentially one of the greatest awareness building stories I’d ever seen. It was obvious that Metro’s ability to help horses beyond the track would far exceed his numerous accolades at the track. Here was the high profile spokesman that racehorses needed, and it was one of their own!”

You can watch Metro and Ron painting here:

And don’t forget to tune in and watch Metro Meteor’s story on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.

BETHTRBEYOND THE TRACK, a book that was called “breakthrough racehorse literature” by Liz Harris of Thoroughbred Charities of America, is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

Amber Heintzberger, cowriter of BEYOND THE TRACK, has a new book coming out—again featuring off-the-track Thoroughbreds! You can preorder MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON by CLICKING HERE.

And, our new Brookmeade Young Riders fiction series follows the adventures of Sarah Wagner and her off-the-track racehorse Crown Prince. You can order the first two books in the series Practical Horseman called appealing “not only to young beginner riders but also to older and more seasoned horse lovers” by CLICKING HERE.

Buck Brannaman Featured at Legacy of Legends Feb 1-3 in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Buck Brannaman travels extensively throughout the country and the world each year, teaching an approach to training and riding horses that he learned from spending years as a student of the renowned horsemen Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance. This weekend, Feb 1 thru 3, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Buck is one of the featured clinicians at Legacy of Legends, an event that showcases those who exemplify the spirit and ability to communicate a level of horsemanship introduced and taught by Ray and Tom.

The Legacy of Legends Foundation’s goal is to generate funding for scholarships to deserving students in pursuit of a higher level of consciousness in conjunction with the horse. Clinics at this weekend’s event are intended to promote harmony between horse and rider, and preserve the dignity and well-being of the horse while encouraging the trainer/rider to achieve a higher level of horsemanship.

“What our goal is,” explains Buck, “is that once a year we can have an event that truly displays the very things that Ray and Tom had in mind, done by people that actually were students of Ray and Tom.”

The natural horsemanship approach taught by Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance, and now Buck, benefits all levels and types of riders, and has inspired and revolutionized the equestrian world. Due to the success of the highly acclaimed 2011 documentary BUCK, a new awareness of this methodology has extended far into the mainstream.

In September, 2012, TSB teamed up with Cedar Creek Productions to release 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN, a seven-disc instructional DVD series created from over 300 hours of unused footage shot during the making of the hit film BUCK. With this unique DVD series, viewers have the chance to watch many of Buck’s lessons taught, in real time, at clinics around the country. Here’s a “sneak peek” lesson on getting yourself and your horse centered from Disc 7 of the 7 CLINICS series:

The 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD series is available from the TSB online bookstore.

Check out this great deal! THE ULTIMATE BUCK BRANNAMAN GIFT SET includes the documentary BUCK, the complete series of 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN, Templeton Thompson’s SONGS FROM 7 CLINICS CD of music written for and featured in 7 CLINICS, and a Buck tote bag (not sold separately)!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER THE ULTIMATE BUCK BRANNAMAN GIFT SET NOW

The 2013 Legacy of Legends poster by artist and horseman Steve Johnson.

The 2013 Legacy of Legends poster by artist and horseman Steve Johnson.

And do you like the 2013 Legacy of Legends poster? The art is by horseman Steve Johnson—you can read a little about him and his family and the adventures we had together at the Padlock Ranch by clicking HERE.

A Horse Story “Spiced with Danger, Thrills, Injuries, Poor Judgment, Treachery” and More!

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Looking for some young reader fiction that focuses on riding and horses, as well as how to rise above and learn from the social challenges we face as we grow up? Check out the great DiscoverHorses.com review of the second book in the Brookmeade Young Riders Series by Linda Snow McLoon:

Crown Prince Challenged_250“I’m glad the author lets Sarah be a teenager with all of the insecurities and impulsiveness that goes with the territory—and lets Prince act like the greenie he is. He’s still the dream horse every young girl wants, but it’s good for readers to see the down side of a green horse/green rider pairing,” writes reviewer Dale Leatherman. “Competing to be on the Brookmeade team for the upcoming Wexford Hall Cup brings out the best and worst in the advanced riders, and things don’t go as expected for anyone. Kudos to the author for shaking up the action and, well, surprising us. The story is spiced with danger, thrills, injuries, poor judgment, treachery, disappointments–and, yes, challenges, as in the title…McLoon’s experience with horses serves her well in this book as she accurately describes how various situations with horses are handled.”

You can read the full review of CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED on DiscoverHorses.com by clicking HERE.

Linda Snow McLoon’s Brookmeade Young Riders Series is appropriate for horse-crazy readers ages 9 to 14 and are available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

For those tech-savvy kids: Both CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are also available for Kindle devices on Amazon.com and in epub format at ebooks.com.

Print of the Month_CrownPrince_Jennifer BrandonDo you like the cover art for CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED? Check out artist Jennifer Brandon’s equine portraits at http://www.jachestudio.com.

Watch the Making of a Horse Painting Step by Step on Video! And Get to Know an Up-and-Coming Equestrian Artist

As horse people, there’s a lot we love about our new books for young horse lovers: CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED. We totally identify with author Linda Snow McLoon’s sense of time in a horse barn—the smells, sounds, and daily chores that make up horsekeeping and enthrall thousands of young people the world over. We appreciate her attention to “horsey details” often neglected by writers less in tune with what makes a real riding stable go ’round.

And of course, we LOVE the book covers! We are thrilled by artist Jennifer Brandon’s depictions of a young girl and the horse that owns her heart. In the course of her career, Jen has captured the the charm and personality of all kinds of animals—from beloved pets to working class farm animals to million-dollar racehorses. Oil on canvas is her medium, while artistic passion and an understanding of an animal’s personality bring her portraits to life.

We had a chance to talk to Jen about her painting process and ask her how she brings portraits to life. Check out this terrific video where she summarizes the creation of the cover art for CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED:

TSB:  Can you tell us a little about how you became an artist specializing in animal portraiture, specifically dogs and horses?

Jen: Growing up as a farm girl amidst everything alive and beautiful, my love for horses, dogs, and all animals became a very integral part of who I am today. Now, it seems the more people I meet, the more I love horses, dogs, and all animals.

Seriously though, raising horses as a child and having a mom who is a masterful painter who always encouraged me to follow my dreams, pursuing my passion for painting and specializing in equestrian and pet portraits was pretty much a no-brainer.

TSB: Can you describe a little about your creative process and the techniques you use?

Jen: My medium of choice is oil paints, typically on canvas, linen, or board. I love taking still photos of horses I’ve seen in action and re-imagining them through active brushwork on the canvas. It is so much fun to spend late nights in the studio with Billy Joel (my go-to music for painting inspiration) blasting through the speakers. Dancing around with paintbrushes in one hand and a cup of strong coffee in the other, I allow paint to move from my brush to the canvas as the horse emerges from the white canvas.

It all starts with imagining the final image on that stark white canvas. Then I mix together my base color and carefully lay the foundation for the composition. Before I know it, bold fast strokes collaborate with careful meticulous strokes to create a sense of action and movement. I love contrasting colors and values to evoke a mood of drama, while more related subtle tones give tribute to a fond memory.

TSB: What is your experience illustrating print books and what do you like best about it?

Jen: I’m thankful to have had the privilege of illustrating several children’s books. I remember devouring illustrations as a child, page by page. Through bright watercolors and energetic line, I like to encourage creativity and the concept of thinking outside the box and drawing outside the lines. Of course it’s fun to develop the story board, and begin the painting process. But I love seeing the crayon drawings it inspires children to create.

TSB: How did you come up with the image of Sarah Wagner and Crown Prince for the new BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS fiction series?

Jen: After reading about the moment with Sarah and Crown Prince in the barn, it sparked an image of the immediate connection between horse and girl—a concept that hits home for me.

TSB:  Do your subjects, whether fictional or real, “come alive” for you as you paint them? How do you imagine Sarah and Crown Prince would be if you met them in real life?

Jen: More often than not my subjects “come alive” for me. Thankfully my dog is always in my studio with me, so I can always say I was just talking to him…and not my painting. I mean, who would ever talk to a painting?

I do, however, imagine Sarah being very similar to me and my best friends growing up. I feel we could all relate to her connection with Crown Prince. She seems like someone I would’ve enjoyed hanging out with.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember drawing or painting a horse.

Jen: If you look through all my sketch books from my childhood you’ll see a recurring theme…horses…horses…horses. I LOVED drawing horses. I cannot remember the very first time I drew a horse. But I can, however, remember the first commission I received to draw a horse. I was 9 years old. A sweet elderly woman from my church saw an opportunity to encourage a young girl and she paid me $75 to create a conté crayon drawing of a horse for her niece. I’d love to meet her again some day to thank her.

TSB: Do you still ride horses? If so, what do you like best about riding?

 

Artist Jennifer Brandon created the eye-catching covers for the new Brookmeade Young Riders Series by Linda Snow McLoon.

Artist Jennifer Brandon created the eye-catching covers for the new Brookmeade Young Riders Series by Linda Snow McLoon.

Jen: Unfortunately I haven’t ridden since high school. But I can tell you what I used to love most about riding was jumping on the back of my quarter horse and riding bareback and bitless and getting lost in the woods for hours on a breezy fall day with my best friends riding alongside me.

TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse (or a dog!) and a book, what breed of horse (or dog!) would it be and which book would you choose?

Jen: I would have to choose my good ole’ Great Dane. He’s my studio buddy, and only he knows just how goofy I can get while painting.

As far as a book goes, it would have to be Crown Prince Challenged, of course, as I haven’t been able to read the second one in the series yet!

TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?

Jen: Butter and true maple syrup. Sometimes I think I could happily live off of those two ingredients. Romaine lettuce is also a staple.

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Jen: Perfect happiness….I’m not sure I can do the description justice. But it would definitely have to do with being tuned in to what Christ has in store for me, and living my life in a way that reflects his grace, creativity and love. Having a healthy family and friends. Enjoying painting outside on a beautiful fall day. Gardening barefoot. Or finally completing a rock climb that’s been spitting me off!

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?

Jen: Honesty and the ability to laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse (or dog)?

Jen: I can be as goofy and ridiculous as I want and they will never tell!

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

Jen: Wild caught salmon grilled to perfection with maple syrup, a side of roasted root veggies, fresh salad greens and tomatoes from our garden with mozzarella cheese, and a side of yummy garlic bread. Completed with dessert, fresh berries and ice cream from a local farm and a good strong cup a’ jo.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

Jen: I was going to say it’s a tie between painting in Rockport Massachusetts, or climbing in Boulder, Colorado, but then I remembered Italy. Italy takes the cake!

TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?

We’re featuring Jen’s wonderful paintings and prints on the TSB blog in the month’s ahead. Click here for more information about Jen’s custom pet portraits.

Jen: Rien Poortvliet. I’ve found him to be one of the most inspiring painters and illustrators. Not bound to presuppositions or boxes of any sort. He obviously loved his animals and was a phenomenal painter.

TSB: What is your motto?

Jen: “. . . a piece of a beautiful moment.” Derived from a moment in Sienna, Italy, where a grandfather helped his little granddaughter learn how to ride a bike for the first time on the cobblestone streets. A moment when I happened to be a bystander, watching that precious time and relationship. These are the moments that bring a smile to my face. These are the moments that make up our lives. These are the moments I love to express through paint.

Learn more about Jennifer Brandon and her superb creative talent at www.jachestudio.com.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER CROWN PRINCE AND CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED TODAY