Meet Rebs, a Blue-Eyed Gentleman Looking for the Right Home

It’s #AdoptAHorseMonth and TSB is proud to be celebrating equine adoption alongside our fellow Partners of the ASPCA’s Right Horse. 

TSB has partnered with the ASPCA®’s Right Horse Initiative to establish Right Horses, Bright Futures—a program to help secure new beginnings for very special horses in need of new homes. TSB sponsors each “Right Horses, Bright Futures Horse” until he or she is adopted, offering scholarships to cover care and public updates to our readers and followers in an effort to help locate the right person or family for each equine in transition. Our sponsorship focuses on spotlighting longer-term equine residents or horses with additional needs.

MEET REBS

Our fourth RHBF horse is from Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio. Rebs is a 15-hand American Quarter Horse. He is 16 years young and complete gentleman! He gets along with others and doesn’t mind if he is stalled or out in the pasture. Rebs does have the beginning signs of DLSD (dropped right fetlock) so he is best suited as a pasture buddy, but he moves sound and does not require any maintenance other than a fly mask to protect his beautiful blue eyes. If you meet this guy, you will love him!

Can Rebs find a bright future with you or someone you know? Click Here for more information about him.

SPECIAL UPDATE! BISCUIT HAS BEEN ADOPTED! 

We are so excited to share that our Right Horses, Bright Futures horse Biscuit has found her new family!

“I’ve had ‘Biscuit’ who has recently been renamed to ‘Sadie,’ for a little over two weeks now,” says her adopter. “She’s been doing great! She’s still a little spooky around my other mare and farm animals, but she’s getting more comfortable every day! Thank you guys so much for her.”

We wish Biscuit-Sadie a wonderful new life with her person!

You can read more about all our RHBF horses on the TSB website. Click Here for their stories.

TELL YOUR ADOPTION STORY

All this month the ASPCA’s Right Horse is collecting adoption stories to help inspire the horse-loving community to consider adopting a horse of their own. This month, the first 20 adopters to submit a 100-word adoption story will receive a prize pack. If you’ve adopted from The Right Horse, we encourage you to share your experience by submitting your story here: https://therighthorse.org/share-your-story/ 

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

We’re Counting Down to Buy A Horse Book Day!

Only 5 days left until #BuyAHorseBookDay ! Join TSB and Heels Down Media to celebrate horse books—and all those who write them, read them, and make them!

When?

Tuesday, May 10

What Do I Do?

Buy a horse book at your favorite tack or bookstore, take a selfie, post about your favorite horse books, tell others your reading recs (or what you’ve written!), and tag your post #BuyAHorseBookDay (and don’t forget to include @horseandriderbooks and @heelsdownspark for added likes, shares, and chances to win!)

What Can I Win?

Every order from our online bookstore www.HorseandRiderBooks.com on May 10 is automatically entered to win a $100 shopping spree at our online bookstore, plus books will be given away to our favorite social posts throughout the day! Watch social for author and media contests and giveaways, too.

What’s the Point?

Horse books are not only fun to read, but they educate and inspire, and buying them supports SO MANY independent creators and small businesses. Let’s join together and make this an annual event that is positive, exciting, and inclusive!

What Else Should I Know?

Sign up for the Heels Down Spark, the only daily equestrian newsletter (and our FAVORITE at TSB), for reviews of some of Heels Down’s favorite horse-themed books and for their discounts and giveaways during the week of May 10.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Heels Down Spark

PLUS, TSB is running a sitewide sale on May 10 in honor of Buy A Horse Book Day! Enjoy 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING in the US!

CLICK HERE to visit our online bookstore now.

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

Elegance Is Looking for a Home

As we approach the end of 2021, we are celebrating new beginnings, such as the beginning of our partnership with the ASPCA®’s Right Horse Initiative to establish Right Horses, Bright Futures—a program to help secure new beginnings for very special horses in need of new homes. TSB will sponsor each “Right Horses, Bright Futures Horse” until he or she is adopted, offering scholarships to cover care and public updates to our readers and followers in an effort to help locate the right person or family for each equine in transition.

Our first two Right Horses, Bright Futures horses will come from Right Horse Adoption Partners Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri, and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio. Our sponsorship will focus on spotlighting longer-term equine residents or horses with additional needs at the two facilities.

Meet Elegance

Elegance has been with Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary since August of 2020. She is a 15-hand, 16-year-old dun Mustang who had someone in her life do her very, very wrong. She is hesitant with humans because of this history, but Happy Trails has started this pretty mare on the journey to trust again. In the last month, Elegance has made great strides forward. She has been introduced to new objects and materials and now enjoys grooming sessions with a handler. She successfully completed a trim of all four feet, and stood like a champ. She has accepted a saddle and saddle pad. Elegance has a willingness to learn and seems to want to trust humans again. With the right person in the right home, she will flourish.

Elegance Quick Facts:

  • Height: 15 hands
  • Breed: Mustang
  • Age: 16 years young
  • Temperament: Some energy
  • Adoption fee: $300
  • Location: Ravenna, OH

Can Elegance have a Bright Future with you or someone you know? We are hoping that by sharing his story with our extended horse family, we can all help find her a wonderful home. 

CLICK HERE for more information about Elegance.

We will share updates about our Right Horses, Bright Futures Horses soon! Watch this space.

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

Come See Us at Equine Affaire!

This is the week! Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts, is happening Thursday 11-11 through Sunday 11-14, 2021. Come see us at Booth 846-847 in the Better Living Center at the Eastern States Exposition and find all our newest books and hottest sellers, as well as amazing sale bins, author book signings, and chances to win great prizes. We all know that this year’s holiday shopping is going to be frantic and frustrating due to the ongoing supply chain nightmare and shipping issues, so we’re going to be ready to make it easy for you to get it all done, in person, at special event prices.

EA has an all-star lineup of TSB authors presenting this year, including:

LYNN PALM
Author of THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION and YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO WESTERN DRESSAGE

DAN JAMES
Author of LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP

JIM WOFFORD
Author of STILL HORSE CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, MODERN GYMNASTICS, and CROSS-COUNTRY WITH JIM WOFFORD

WENDY MURDOCH
Author of 50 5-MINUTE FIXES TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDING and 40 5-MINUTE JUMPING FIXES

SHARON WILSIE
Author of HORSE SPEAK and HORSES IN TRANSLATION

SALLY BATTON
Author of THE ATHLETIC EQUESTRIAN

DR. JOYCE HARMAN
Author of THE HORSE’S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK and THE WESTERN HORSE’S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK

JANET JONES
Author of HORSE BRAIN, HUMAN BRAIN

PLUS, we’ll have special guest appearances from Northeasterners Melissa Priblo Chapman, author of DISTANT SKIES, Chris Lombard, author of LAND OF THE HORSES, and the annual giant FERGUS THE HORSE photo-op.

Follow us on FB, IG, and Twitter for updates during the show about book signing times and Q & A sessions with authors! And please swing by Booth 846-847 in the Better Living Center to say hello. We love to talk about books and horses.

Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HorseandRiderBooks   
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TSBbooks   
Check us out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/horseandriderbooks/  

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

Moonshadow Is Looking for a Home

We at TSB are so happy to announce a new partnership with the ASPCA®’s Right Horse Initiative to establish Right Horses, Bright Futures—a program to help secure new beginnings for very special horses in need of new homes. TSB will sponsor each “Right Horses, Bright Futures Horse” until he or she is adopted, offering scholarships to cover care and public updates to our readers and followers in an effort to help locate the right person or family for each equine in transition.

Our first two Right Horses, Bright Futures horses will come from Right Horse Adoption Partners Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri, and Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio. Our sponsorship will focus on spotlighting longer-term equine residents or horses with additional needs at the two facilities.

Meet Moonshadow

Moonshadow originally came to Longmeadow Rescue Ranch as a stray and was adopted out for six years before being returned to the ranch at no fault of his own. Unfortunately, Moonshadow became unpredictable under saddle, and he is not able to be adopted as a riding horse. He is available as a beautiful, intelligent, easy-keeping pasture pet and would also do well with a person interested in groundwork, horse agility, trick training, or liberty. Moonshadow has a knack for learning new tricks and skills and has already spent numerous hours with the Longmeadow groundwork team!

Moonshadow Quick Facts:

  • Height: 13.3 hands
  • Breed: Peruvian Horse
  • Age: 18 years young
  • Temperament: Energetic, engaged
  • Adoption fee: $350
  • Location: Union, MO

Can Moonshadow have a Bright Future with you or someone you know? We are hoping that by sharing his story with our extended horse family, we can all help find him a wonderful home. 

CLICK HERE for more information about Moonshadow. He can’t wait to meet you!

We will share the story of our second Right Horses, Bright Futures Horse soon! Watch this space.

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

Celebrating Our Local Vermont Bookstores for Independent Bookstore Day

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 24, 2021, is Independent Bookstore Day, a day to celebrate the small but mighty independent bookstore–your local source for books, events, and most importantly, community! Indie bookstores suffered terribly over the past year as lockdowns and changes in purchasing habits during the pandemic devastated their bottom lines. As an independent book publisher, fighting hard for every sale is a familiar struggle, so we ask you to join us tomorrow and show your support for your favorite local bookstore.

We are very lucky to have three independent bookstores our staff frequents (and who carry select TSB books!) in locations near our main offices in North Pomfret, Vermont. We checked in with each shop to see how they are doing and what their reopening plans are–if you are in the area, we urge you to stop by and visit these stores, and if you aren’t, please consider placing an order online!

NORWICH BOOKSTORE

291 Main Street, Norwich Vermont

Liza Bernard and Penny McConnel met in 1988 at a book study group. Penny was working at the Dartmouth Bookstore, then one of the oldest independent bookstores in the country. Liza was supporting herself designing and making hand woven and knit clothing, and later as an independent art consultant and graphic designer. 

In the early 1990s both Penny and Liza were approaching work transitions, and imagining what might come next. Always envious of Penny’s position being surrounded by books and the people who loved them, and knowing their work styles were complementary, Liza broached the idea of opening a bookstore together.

Here we are almost 30 years, and one pandemic, later, and the Norwich Bookstore continues to be a favorite destination for families and a hot shopping spot for locals (their complimentary gift wrapping is legend!).

“Since we opened the doors on August 1, 1994, we have enjoyed bringing writers and readers of the vibrant Upper Valley community together,” says Liza, “from offering personalized recommendations to hosting internationally acclaimed author events.” 

PHOENIX BOOKS

2 Carmichael Street, Essex Jct, Vermont | 191 Bank Street, Burlington, Vermont | 2 Center Street, Rutland, Vermont

With 20 years of bookstore ownership behind them (Mike and Renee owned The Book Rack and Children’s Pages in Winooski, Vermont, from 1993-2003), Mike DeSanto and Renee Reiner opened the first Phoenix Books in Essex, Vermont in 2007. With support from the community, they then opened locations in Burlington in 2012 and Rutland in 2015.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to provide books and to foster a love of reading in our communities,” says Social Media Manager/Floor Manager Katie DeSanto. “It’s why we’re here!”

YANKEE BOOKSHOP

12 Central Street, Woodstock, Vermont

Vermont’s oldest continuously operated independent bookshop first opened in November 1935 and has been serving Woodstock and the surrounding towns ever since. Yankee offers a terrifically curated collection of books, as well as vinyl, stationery, gifts, and awesome puzzles (I bought MANY in 2020!).

The shop’s eighth and current local owners are Kari Meutsch and Kristian Preylowski who purchased the shop in February of 2017 with the help of the owners of Phoenix Books: Michael DeSanto and Renee Reiner.

But the past year undoubtedly challenged the usual ways our independent bookstores could interact with their customers, and seeing as that interaction is such a huge part of the connection we feel as neighbors and customers, we asked our locals how they felt the events of 2020 strengthened their place in our community. 

“From how-to-knit to thrilling mysteries, people are turning to books to learn and to be entertained,” says Liza Bernard from Norwich Bookstore, “so we quickly pivoted from in-store browsing to recommending books by phone, email, and via our website for pickup from the porch. We turned to zoom for author events and book discussions! While not as up-close and personal, online events have the advantage that we can easily accommodate many more in the audience–and from all over the world. And we can host authors from far away such as when Nuala O’Connor signed in from Ireland to talk about her book, Nora. The challenges have underscored how important collaborations are! We have always partnered with other organizations and forged new connections in 2020.”

“Like so many other small businesses, we had to ensure our customers and booksellers worked and shopped in a safe environment,” Phoenix’s Katie DeSanto says. “We’ve heard many times from our customers over the last year that they feel comfortable shopping with us because of the safety precautions we continue to adhere to. It’s absolutely our number one priority.

“Also, in-person events and story times have always been at the core of our business, and one of our roles in the community. That changed in March of 2020. We quickly began hosting virtual events in April 2020 (even though we were all a little camera-shy at the time) and have enjoyed it immensely since. They’re actually a lot of fun! We are grateful that our customers have embraced the online format wholeheartedly. It’s remarkable that our Events Coordinator, Michele, began her position in January of 2020 and has successfully navigated this brave new world of online author events with the grace and ease of someone who has been doing it for years!” 

We asked if any specific out-of-the-box ideas helped our local indies get through 2020. Liza and Penny at Norwich Bookstore had a Porch Pop-Up Shop when weather cooperated, where they offered cards, puzzles, face masks, and sale books, even during the times when in-store shopping was unavailable. When shutdown began, Phoenix immediately mobilized one- or two-person teams in each store and focused on providing web fulfillment and curbside pickup to their communities. Puzzles and games were big for all three stores.  

As small, locally owned businesses, what have we learned in the past year?

“The understanding of the importance of shopping, banking, and dining ‘local first’ has been growing and hopefully will continue as we slowly reopen,” offers Liza. “When we shop locally, we are making an investment in our own towns and villages; our family and neighbors.”

“Communities have always valued their neighborhood businesses,” adds Katie. “The pandemic highlighted how valuable small businesses are economically, socially, and culturally to neighborhoods. Every book, every meal out, every snow shovel, and every roll of paper towels matters to your local businesses. Keep shopping local, everyone!” 

Norwich Bookstore, Phoenix Books, and Yankee Bookshop all carry select Trafalgar Square titles, as well as wonderfully curated collections of books from all genres. All offer online ordering and curbside pickup. And as of tomorrow, Independent Bookstore Day, all will be open for in-store browsing with protocols specific to each location in place. Please visit their websites for details regarding hours and safety protocols:

NORWICH BOOKSTORE: https://www.norwichbookstore.com/

PHOENIX BOOKS: https://www.phoenixbooks.biz/

YANKEE BOOKSHOP: https://www.yankeebookshop.com/

Thank you to all the independent bookstores for keeping us reading in 2020!

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

Our Friend Jane Savoie

Jane with Woody and Emma in South Strafford, Vermont. Photo by Rhett Savoie.

I first met Jane Savoie when I was 19. I was home from college and looking for a horse job to counter the nights I spent waitressing. Jane needed a groom. She had Eastwood, aka “Woody,” then–a big chestnut with lots of chrome.

It was a long time ago but certain moments are still incredibly clear in my memory: Jane and I standing side by side outside Woody’s stall, watching him, curled up like a big dog, napping. Jane, all business, firmly correcting my mistakes as I learned to meet her high standards for her horse’s care and turnout. Jane, with her sweet dog, Emma, power-walking along the trail that ran behind the barn as I bathed Woody in the sunny wash stall.

By that summer of 1997, Jane had already competed as a member of the U.S. Equestrian Team and written a book, THAT WINNING FEELING!, which was published by Trafalgar Square Books in 1992. She was hard at work on a new project–what would become Cross-Train Your Horse: Books One and Two (and later JANE SAVOIE’S DRESSAGE 101)–writing and rewriting her words with the help of publisher Caroline Robbins, striving to provide a truly clear how-to description of every basic dressage movement. Her aim to empower the amateur rider would become a driving force later in her life as the educational materials she was moved to create multiplied.

More recent memories of Jane are clear, too: Laughing with her and her husband, Rhett, as she related stories from the road over dinner in Wellington. Watching her dance lesson in a slick Florida studio, sensing her absolute commitment to every step. Visiting her when she first got sick, walking with her and our Managing Director Martha Cook, and brainstorming “what’s next?”

During an early treatment for her rare form of blood cancer, Jane had to stay in isolation. Never one to be idle, she decided to finish recording the audio version of her sport psychology book IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS from her hospital bed. “It is so easy to lose yourself in the physically excruciating process of battling back from illness or injury,” she said in her introduction to the audiobook. “I realized, as I forced myself to walk, IV rattling beside me, the 40 laps around the nurse’s station that would mean I’d gone a mile, that it was techniques I talk about in this book—those habits formed over a lifetime—that got me out of bed and placing one foot in front of the other, determined to get strong enough to go home.”

That was in 2016. We were all incredibly lucky she was so determined. Jane’s fight and drive, the building blocks of “her” that helped her attain her riding goals, against the odds, gave her the strength to stay with us another four years, against the odds. We had a chance to share more laughs; we had a chance to watch her dance.

Photo by Rebecca Didier

Receiving the call last week, being told she was gone, was an unbelievable blow to all of us at Trafalgar. THAT WINNING FEELING! was one of the first horse books published by Caroline; it was one of the first books Martha worked on when she came to TSB after college. Jane and her passionate, innovative ideas are an integral part of the foundation for what our small company has become. But more profound is the vast impact a friendship of 30 years has–how Jane’s evolution, my evolution, and Martha’s and Caroline’s, were all interwoven. Losing a piece of that is losing a piece of ourselves.  

When I first met Jane, at 19, I had no idea she would become such a force in my life. I guess we can never know that about the people we meet. But aren’t we lucky when it happens.

–Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor

One of our favorite photos of Jane…on Jolicoeur. Photo by Terri Miller from That Winning Feeling!

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

7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman Now Streaming

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Just in time for holiday-movie-watching with your family! TSB is excited to announce that 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN, the Telly-Award-Winning educational video series from filmmaker Cindy Meehl, director of the documentary BUCK, is now available to stream from HorseandRiderBooks.com.

“The biggest challenge in creating the documentary BUCK was taking over 300 hours of footage and cutting it down to 88 minutes,” says Cindy. “We still hear audiences saying they didn’t want the film to end — they want more Buck!”

The valuable but unused footage shot during the making of BUCK was carefully curated to create 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN  a series of seven videos featuring over 10 hours of instruction.

In videos 1 and 2, viewers travel to several Buck Brannaman clinics to learn important groundwork techniques, including: hooking on, leading, halter work, bridling, saddling, backing up, working in circles and half-circles, using the flag, and firming up.

In videos 3 and 4, viewers learn some of Buck’s most important lessons when working under saddle, including the all-important release, which teaches a soft feel and allows the horse to attain collection and willingly move off the leg. Additional instruction covers rider form and position, riding serpentines, “getting the life up” (finding animation), perfecting the stop, and backing up.

In videos 5, 6, and 7, Buck shares more lessons on horseback — such as turn-on-the-haunches, transitions, jumping, and finding the feel — as well as ways to solve problems, including crowding, biting, striking, fidgeting, rushing, anxiousness and sensitivity, and bad attitudes. The series ends with Buck’s best advice, tips, and ideas about working with, riding, and training horses — sage knowledge imparted with the dry wit that the world has come to expect of one of the finest horsemen of our time.

All 10 hours of programming are available to stream as individual programs or a complete series, only from HorseandRiderBooks.com.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

Happy Holidays!

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

Come See Us at Equine Affaire in MA for Great Sales, Contests, and Author Signings!

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We woke up one morning and “poof!” it was November! That means we’ll be setting up shop at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts, in no time at all…or in other words, next week…

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Take your pic with Fergus!

That’s right: Equine Affaire runs Thursday, November 7, through Sunday, November 10, 2019, at the Eastern States Exposition grounds. Come find the TSB booth 846/847 in the Better Living Center. You can browse and buy our newest books and favorite bestsellers, shop our massive sale bins, take advantage of show specials and discounts, sign up to win great prizes, and take your picture with this year’s Fergus the Horse—an EA tradition!

 

We are thrilled to have so many terrific TSB authors presenting at EA this year, including Dan James (Long-Reining with Double Dan Horsemanship), Simon Cocozza (Core Conditioning for Horses), Jim Masterson (Beyond Horse Massage), Cat Hill (World-Class Grooming for Horses), Andrea Waldo (Brain Training for Riders), Paula Josa-Jones (Our Horses, Ourselves), Nancy Loving (All Horse Systems Go and Go the Distance), and Jochen Schleese (Suffering in Silence).

In addition, we’ll be hosting exclusive meet-and-greets and book signings throughout the weekend! Make sure to visit us:

 

Thursday:

11 am and 5 pm, Meet Founder of StressLess Riding Andrea Waldo

 

Friday:

11 am, Meet Renowned Horseman Denny Emerson and EA Clinician Sinead Halpin

1 pm, Meet Professional Groom Cat Hill

 

 

Saturday:

11 am, Meet Movement Educator and Therapist Paula Josa-Jones

1 pm and 5:30 pm, Meet Equine Core Strengthening Specialist Simon Cocozza

2 pm, Meet veterinarian Nancy Loving

 

Sunday:

2 pm and 4 pm, Meet Equine Core Strengthening Specialist Simon Cocozza

 

 

We can’t wait to see you next week! Oh, and if for some reason you can’t make it to Equine Affaire, pop over to our online bookstore for great holiday gift ideas for the horse person in your life. Horse books are some of the most affordable equestrian gear available!

CLICK HERE to shop our online bookstore.

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

 

“His Confidence Was a Bit Like Porcelain: Easy to Crack.” Jonathan Field and His Horse Hal to Perform at Breyerfest 2019

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Are you packed and ready to head to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of BreyerFest? That’s right, July 12-14, 2019, marks 30 years that Breyer Animal Creations has brought to life a fabulous family festival that combines the excitement of a real horse fair with model horse activities, and this year, TSB author Jonathan Field is a featured performer, along with his wonderful horse Hal. Hal, who was one of the equine stars in Jonathan’s glorious  book THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES, is coming out of retirement and making the trip to this year’s Breyerfest for a very special reason: He now has his very own Breyer model! A very limited supply of the Hal model will be available for sale at BreyerFest.

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Hal Breyer model available at BreyerFest 2019. Limited quantities so hurry! Hal model imagery courtesy of Breyer Animal Creations.

Here is Hal’s story as Jonathan told it in THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES:

 

“Hal’s my number one horse, and my best horse friend. We have been through a lot together, learned a lot together, traveled thousands of miles, and quite frankly, I owe a lot of my career to Hal.  

“A Quarter Horse gelding, Hal was given to me when he was three years old. For many reasons, he had been running into problems with training, and was subsequently bought back by his breeder. After returning home, he tried to pin his owner in his stall and threatened to kick her. He bucked when ridden and was always getting into mischief. Hal is a horse that if you don’t come up with something for him to do, he will happily come up with something of his own. And, it’s likely to be troublesome. 

“So Hal came to me to be restarted. After about a month in training, his owner came to watch me with him. After our session, she approached me with tears in her eyes. I thought I had let her down, but they were tears of happiness. She went on to tell me how much Hal had meant to her from the time she raised him. He held a very special place in her heart and she named him after her dad’s initials. The tears came because she was so elated to see Hal look as happy with a person as he had with his dam. I was taken aback, and very glad my customer’s tears were good tears! 

“That day, I thought we were doing well because of my skill, but the reality was I was a young trainer, early in my career. Looking back, I wish I could take credit for Hal making such a change, but I think we were just a good personality match. He taught me more than I taught him. 

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“I was looking for a horse at the time and Hal’s owner was so pleased with what her horse and I had done together that she said she would love to see how far our partnership could go. So she offered Hal to me that day. I accepted, and promised to make her proud of what we would do together. 

“In a lot of ways, Hal and I hit it off right from the start. He was very sensitive, but also worried. He is a ‘thinking kind of horse.’ If he’s going to buck with you, it’s because he got scared first, then says, ‘I bet I could buck this guy off.’ It is more of a plan than a true prey animal flight reaction. 

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Photo by Robin Duncan.

“In the beginning, it was like every little thing meant something too much to Hal. If he got confused or overwhelmed, he would lose confidence and want to flee. If he couldn’t run away, he would kick or buck. He took everything so personally. Even a simple thing, like how fast I approached to catch him, could put too much pressure on him. 

“Gradually, I learned that if I came toward him slowly and respectfully, he quietly waited with no problems. He was just a horse that was born wired sensitive. His confidence was a bit like porcelain: easy to crack. 

“To this day, I still see some of these attributes in Hal from time to time. Now, he is a star and has his own fan club. At the big expos and events where we perform, many people want to go to his stall and see him. Some of my horses eagerly await the attention, with their heads out of their stalls, waiting for a rub. Not Hal.  

“Then, the amazing thing is Hal and I go out to the arena at show time, and he fills the room with joy! As he gallops around looking right at the crowd, it looks like he is having the time of his life—and I believe that he is. 

“Early on, liberty was the best thing for Hal. It gave him the freedom to move and express himself, building his confidence in me and mine in him. As we started to gain some trust and communication, things changed. I began to have the benefits of a supersensitive horse, but with trust to build a partnership. It was then that my riding with him took off.”

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Photo by Robin Duncan.

Don’t miss your chance to get a limited edition model of Hal at the 2019 Breyerfest! And read more about Hal and Jonathan Field’s other horses, as well as learn his techniques for teaching a horse how to play with you at liberty in his book THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES, available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

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