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Archive for the ‘TSB Staff Stuff’ Category

Whenever I take a moment to look back at the different ways horses have served us through time, I am once again reminded of how much we owe them. There’s no need to list them all here, I know…there are big, fat history books that can illustrate our intertwined existences quite thoroughly. But how often, as we watch a massive hook-and-ladder roar by or pull the car over for a fire engine to race past, do we remember that at one time horses were the means to firefighting? From around the Civil War until the 1920s, “fire engines” were truly horse-powered. It’s not surprising, perhaps, but when you think about the logistics, as a horse person, you might start to be amazed. Stabling in the firehouse? Harnessing and hitching at speed? Galloping through crowded city streets? Standing calmly beside a raging fire? What wouldn’t some of us give for a horse with the body and mind to withstand such pressures!

This short video gives you some idea as to how the fire horse lived and worked:

In his book BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF, TSB author Sgt. Rick Pelicano explains that the fire horses of our past are good examples of how important brave and “bombproof” horses are to humankind—even today. Here’s the story of one equine hero that Sgt. Pelicano shares:

Tom who was the last “fire horse” in Washington, DC. Tom’s heroic career demonstrates the importance of sane, dependable, responsive driving at a time when people depended upon horses to keep their homes intact and their loved ones safe. The story has great personal meaning to me, since Tom was named for my great-grandfather, Thomas Buckley, who was a member of the DC Fire Department.

Not every horse could serve as a fire horse. They had to live at the station, often stabled with bits in their mouths in order to be ready to run at the sound of the alarm. They had to be strong, swift, and agile, and yet quiet enough to stand in the face of a blaze while firefighters fought the flames and embers around them. They were remarkable examples of how brave and bombproof horses can improve the lives of humans—in more ways than one.

Horse-drawn fire engines were eventually replaced by the motorized sort we are familiar with today, and DC’s last fire horse and his “team”—Tom, Barney, and Gene—made their final ceremonial run in 1925. Tom was retired “to pasture” where he lived 12 more years. Upon his passing, a monument was erected in his memory, engraved with, “In Memory of Tom, Last Horse in the D.C.F.D.”

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The last run of Barney, Gene, and Tom, DC Fire Department horses, June 15, 1925. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, National Photo Company Collection

Thank you to all the horse heroes who have been brave, strong, patient souls we could rely on—our gratitude is deep and true.

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

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Believe it or not, in the TSB offices, shuttered from the frigid air that currently has central Vermonters cornered by a deep freeze, we’re already working on the horse books and DVDs we’ll be releasing Fall of 2018. In an industry where the production calendar races to meet an aggressive series of deadlines and it is necessary to plan new titles well in advance, you often wonder where the time goes… (what DID we do over the last year???) It helps to take a moment before the ball drops (on New Year’s Eve, that is) to revisit the projects of the past twelve months and remind ourselves of the books and DVDs we were proud to publish in 2017.

 

 

EQUUS LOST

A provocative treatise that dares to ask if much of what we think we know about horses is indeed wrong.

50 BEST ARENA PATTERNS AND EXERCISES

A terrific collection of upbeat ideas for essential schooling, adding variety and challenge to everyday workouts.

COLLECTION OR CONTORTION?

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann’s follow-up to his international bestseller Tug of War: A critical examination of flexion and bend on horseback.

THELWELL’S PONY CAVALCADE

An Anniversary Special Collection, featuring three classic books from cartoonist Norman Thelwell.

IS YOUR HORSE 100%? (BOOK)

An introduction to Conformation Balancing (fascia work for horses).

TRAINING HORSES THE INGRID KLIMKE WAY

Olympian Ingrid Klimke’s personal system of bringing a horse along through the stages of progressive development.

THE NEW ANATOMY OF RIDER CONNECTION

Biomechanics pioneer Mary Wanless explores the characteristics of the body’s fascia and  how it not only improves a rider’s balance and coordination, but also enhances “feel,”

THE DRESSAGE SEAT

Classical dressage authority Anja Beran breaks down the physical requirements of the rider’s seat on the horse, as well as its responsibilities during various movements.

SUFFERING IN SILENCE (NEW EDITION)

A revised new edition of Certified Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist Jochen Schleese’s book explaining how much better we could ride and how much better our horses could perform if our saddles fit optimally.

THE BIG BOOK OF MINIATURE HORSES

Experienced Miniature Horse breeder Kendra Gale of Circle J Miniature Horses provides the most complete Miniature Horse resource available.

THE ESSENTIAL HOOF BOOK

The first resource of its kind to combine the most current and useful information available, gleaned from the research and wisdom of top hoof experts around the world, with a unique “hands-on” approach.

OUR HORSES, OURSELVES

Dancer and choreographer Paula Josa-Jones offers new insight as to how to achieve a soft, fluid connection with our equine partners.

FERGUS AND THE GREENER GRASS

The opinionated cartoon horse and bona fide social media star is back in an all new comic adventure.

SPORT HORSE SOUNDNESS AND PERFORMANCE

Relying on her veterinary background, in-depth research, and dozens of interviews with top riders and trainers from around the world, Dr. Cecilia Lönnell provides guidelines for nurturing a happy, healthy equine athlete.

HORSES CAME FIRST, SECOND, AND LAST

In his autobiography, renowned equestrian coach Jack Le Goff tells the whole story, from impoverished beginnings in Morocco, to the tragic death of his father, to his successes as a competitive equestrian.

IS YOUR HORSE 100%? (DVD)

The DVD companion to the book by the same name, introducing Conformation Balancing (fascia work for horses).

FIT & FOCUSED IN 52

Coach Daniel Stewart combines his popular rider mental conditioning techniques with ideas for physical conditioning, giving readers quick-hit recommendations for one exercise for the mind, and one for the body, for every week of the year.

CREATIVE DRESSAGE SCHOOLING (NEW EDITION)

Offering a wide variety of ideas to spice up training routines, this paperback edition of the bestselling handbook provides fresh exercises for practicing classical-riding basics.

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Our very best wishes for a safe, peaceful, and very happy New Year.

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

Here’s what we published in:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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HorseBookGift

My grandmother loved books. My mom loved books. And I, necessarily, learned to love books, too. I read voraciously—everything I could get my hands on—but even my earliest memories of finding books in the children’s section of the library involved something else: horses.

Every year at Christmas I would ask my parents, and Santa, and God, for a pony. Our small suburban Florida home with the sandy backyard and neighbors seemed to me plenty big…we had a toolshed I imagined to be perfect for the right-size equine, and I was undeterred by the prospect of riding up and down our paved streets and sidewalks. Of course my parents, Santa, and God all knew better, and so the real pony never materialized, but I still got horses for Christmas every year…in the form of books.

Unknown-1One of the first horse books I vividly remember receiving was The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble. My grandmother gave me the book when I was four or five (I still have it), and I remember gazing at the beautiful illustrations for hours, knowing that I loved horses just as much as the girl in the story…so much that maybe one day I would turn into a horse, like her.

UnknownI was given A Very Young Rider by Jill Krementz the Christmas after I started taking riding lessons. It was published in 1977, the year I was born, which had little to do with why I loved the book then, but holds meaning for me now. I still have this tattered copy, too.

437364779.0.mThe Christmases came and went. I tore open copies of Marguerite Henry’s classics, Walter Farley’s, and Mary O’Hara’s. I devoured them all, and took out others from the library when I’d finished. No, I didn’t have a pony of my own in the backyard, but I had Morgans and Arabians and Mustangs. I trained and rode and cared for hundreds of horses each year of my childhood.

CERIWhen we did finally move to Vermont and I grew more serious about riding, the Christmas horse books began to change. I got the United States Pony Club Manual of Horsemanship, The Whole Horse Catalog, and eventually Centered Ridingthat was when I was 10 (I wrote about it HERE). Little did I know that one day I’d be part of the company that published this very book.

 

Second-Day and Next-Day Shipping are available through 12/21/17 at our online bookstore if you know someone who might, like me, love to find a few “horses” under the tree.

Happy Holidays,

Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor

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

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TSF

Trafalgar Square Farm

When you are caught up in the never-ending must-dos of book publishing, you can find yourself tired, your creative and entrepreneurial energy tapped, your head spinning and your hands ready to unfurl themselves from the keyboard and (instead) curl themselves around the comforting curves of a glass of wine, fireside. But while the pressure is undeniable, there is always a steadying constant: how thankful we are to get to do what we do and learn more every day about horses, riding, and how to be better at both.

In recognition of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday, here are five lessons we’re thankful to have learned this year from TSB’s amazing authors:

Lesson 1   As horse owners, we don’t have to turn control of our horses’ hoof health to our vets and farriers, and just write the checks whenever they tell us we need to do something. It is possible to gain a much more thorough understanding of the function of the hoof, which will not only help us better comprehend what is required in regular maintenance, it will also help us advocate intelligently on our horses’ behalf when they are injured or unsound. It likely never occurs to most that we can and should learn the ins and outs of the equine hoof beyond the general knowledge absorbed in early barn jobs and from 4-H and Pony Club. But Susan Kauffmann and Christina Cline’s THE ESSENTIAL HOOF BOOK is like a bright light going on in a room that has only been candlelit. It introduces a whole new world of responsible horse care.

Lesson 2  It is time to pay attention to fascia—ours and our horses. Fascia is the gossamer white tissue in the body that connects all the parts, including bones, muscles, and all the different body systems. In IS YOUR HORSE 100%?, equine bodywork practitioner Margret Henkels teaches how the warmth of your hands can release accumulated tension and strain in the horse’s body, and in THE NEW ANATOMY OF RIDER CONNECTION, biomechanics pioneer Mary Wanless explains how working with the fascial lines of the body can drastically improve your riding.

Lesson 3  Even when you reach the very top, the truly great continue to question their techniques, educate themselves, and strive to find new ways to do better by the horse. In TRAINING HORSES THE INGRID KLIMKE WAY, gold-medal Olympian Ingrid Klimke writes: “I train further, question myself, consider the views of others, and remain open to all riding styles. Anyone who cares to be a good rider must first of all work on herself: on her inner bearing, her general attitude toward horses, her physical readiness (of course), and on giving aids clearly and ‘with feel’ for the horse.”

Lesson 4  Many factors contribute to successful performance, but the most vital is discipline. In his long-awaited autobiography HORSES CAME FIRST, SECOND, AND LAST, revered US eventing team coach Jack Le Goff discusses the discipline factor in its many renditions, from the self-discipline necessary to train your horse even when it’s cold or raining outside, to the discipline of organization and making sure you know the rules, to the discipline required to be part of a team, putting personal glory aside with the good of the group in mind. This lesson translates particularly well to every part of life.

Lesson 5  Becoming comfortable in our own skin helps us become more trustworthy and better able to soften physical and mental resistance in others—including our horses. In the singularly fascinating book OUR HORSES, OURSELVES, renowned dancer and choreographer Paula Josa-Jones shares new and unique ways of incorporating meditation and gentle exercises in our self-development as horse people, noting that conscious work to quiet our busy minds and familiarize ourselves with our bodies’ shape and movement can help us find true connection with our horses, on the ground and in the saddle.

Wishing all a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of time for family, friends, and of course, your horses.

—The TSB Staff

 

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JLG-Genius

Before we published HORSES CAME FIRST, SECOND, AND LAST, I knew of Jack Le Goff. I knew of him the way any once-young-and-aspiring eventer would: through stories shared by the trainers I rode with through the years, as well as those very fine horsemen and women I’ve had the honor of working with during my tenure at TSB. He existed in my mind as a formidable individual, one who hesitated not in turning the screw in order to elicit improved performance. I knew he was a great coach, but his name caused the same quake-in-my-boots fear that George Morris’s always did…and it also raised the question that any rider with even a smidgeon of self-doubt will admit: Had I been born at the right time under the right star and found myself under his tutelage, would I have found the resolve and personal strength to flourish…to become truly accomplished in the saddle?

In HORSES CAME FIRST, SECOND, AND LAST, we hear of plenty who did flourish with Le Goff as their guide and coach. But what helps is not that they succeeded where I admittedly think I would likely have failed (in that fantasy where I am an elite rider during the heyday of US eventing), but that Le Goff shares his strategies: how and when he chose to be hard or soft, why he’d settle on keeping or losing his temper, and what his reasoning was behind decisions he made concerning coaching and the teams he led. So now we see the path to the medal, but we don’t just hear about the fences cleared, we also know about the tears, the injuries, the heartbreak. The times riders tried, and failed, and tried again. And we come to understand the passion for the horse felt by all involved, perhaps most profoundly Le Goff’s own.

Larger lessons aside, there are also hundreds of fascinating facts and historical notes throughout the book. Here are 10 that stayed with me:

1 In the notoriously hard 9-month course at the Cadre Noir, “students rode eight horses a day for a total of eight hours or more.” Le Goff writes. “For the first three months, six of those eight hours were without stirrups, so the breeches were more often red with blood than any other color…. In the evening, we had to do book work, and we all spent that time sitting in buckets of water with a chemical in it to toughen the skin.”

2 At the Olympics in 1956, the Russian eventing team only had one helmet for three riders, and passed it from one to the other after each performance.

3 Britain’s Sheila Wilcox won Badminton three times and in 1957 at the age of 21 became European Champion, but was never allowed to compete in the Olympics because she was a woman.

4 American rider Kevin Freeman helped save a horse from drowning by holding his head up in a flooded river at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968.

5 Bruce Davidson didn’t know what a diagonal was when he first started riding with Le Goff. Two years later he competed in the Olympic Games.

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Tad Coffin with his copy of Le Goff’s autobiography.

6 You should walk a cross-country course as if that is the ONLY time you’ll be able to walk it. You should have total concentration and envision how you will ride it. A walk simply to get a first impression is a wasted walk.

7 Today, people learn to compete before they learn to ride, and that makes it difficult for them to be truly competitive and to progress to other levels.

8 There is no instant dressage like instant coffee. You can go out and buy a top-level horse if you have enough money, but the true rider should be able to “make” his or her own horse. In eventing, there are often “pilots” who “fly” or ride the horse, and mechanics who prepare him, train and condition him. But the true horseman does both.

9 Although he was a brilliant rider, Tad Coffin did not believe how good he was, so while Le Goff would intentionally infuriate some riders to get them to perform, he would instead look for ways to give Tad confidence.

10 The riding coach who is looking to be popular will not produce the desired results, and the rider who does not accept discipline “may be better suited to another pursuit,” Le Goff writes. “Crochet comes to mind!”

I’m certain you’ll find many other tidbits that motivate you or make you laugh or look at your riding differently in this book. Most importantly, by reading Le Goff’s book, you, too, will be able to share his stories and spread his philosophy. And through us all, the best of Jack Le Goff, the man George Morris called “a genius,” will live on.

 

 

HORSES CAME FIRST, SECOND, AND LAST is available from the Trafalgar Square Books online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information or to order.

 

—Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor

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

 

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EquineAffaireMA17-FB

That’s right…it’s that time of year again. We’re loading the books and DVDs in the horse trailer (yes, literally) and getting ready to head south on Interstate 91 for four days of horse-centric fun at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

From Thursday November 9 through Sunday November 12, 2017, the Eastern States Exposition is transformed into an equestrian wonderland. With educational clinics and demonstrations, entertainment, shopping, and most importantly, lots and lots of HORSES,  Equine Affaire is an event you don’t want to miss. TSB is proud to have seven authors presenting this year, including:

Phillip Dutton, author of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON.

Sharon Wilsie, co-author of the groundbreaking bestseller HORSE SPEAK.

Wendy Murdoch, author of our popular 5-MINUTE FIXES series.

Margret Henkels, author of IS YOUR HORSE 100%? book and DVD.

Cat Hill, co-author of WORLD-CLASS GROOMING FOR HORSES.

Joyce Harman, author of THE HORSE’S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK.

Jochen Schleese, author of SUFFERING IN SILENCE.

CLICK HERE for the Equine Affaire schedule to see when TSB authors and other top equestrians are presenting.

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TSB Warehouse Manager Marilyn Tobin with the new 6-foot Fergus!

The TSB booth is located at 846/847 in the Better Living Center—come by and see us! We’d love to meet you! Plus, we’ll have our newest releases, our bestselling favorites, show specials, a chance to earn further discounts, product giveaways, and author signings throughout the event.

And the 6-foot Fergus the Horse is BACK! We have a new Giant Fergus Photo Op to celebrate the release of FERGUS AND THE GREENER GRASS, so be sure to swing by and click a pic. Post it and tag it #FERGUSea17ma…we want to see your photos!

See you all in W. Springfield!

 

 

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Grooming

On the left: That’s me at five years old. On the right: My son at eight.

 

I had my son in front of me on the back of a horse before he was three, hoping—like any formerly horse-mad woman who did little else than muck, groom, and ride throughout her childhood might—that maybe, just maybe, he’d have a little “horsiness” rub off on him. But it was more than five years and many wheeled vehicles later when he finally, out of the blue (although admittedly after rewatching A Knight’s Tale for the thousandth time) asked if he could ride a horse.

I jumped at the chance to see my kid in the saddle at long last. Luckily, while I currently do not own a horse of my own, TSB Managing Director Martha Cook has a Morgan who draws children to him like moths to a porch light.

We arranged for an evening introduction to the ritual of riding…the cross-ties, the currycomb, the names of the different brushes (are the bristles hard or soft?), the order of go when it comes to tack. And while I stood back and allowed my son to learn from another, I felt an intense rush of pleasure, tinged as it so often is, with a distinct sadness.

Gone are my long days of dirty fingernails and face and boots as I passed the time raking aisleways, shoveling the track smooth in the indoor, bringing horses in and turning them out. Oh, and how I used to love to clean tack! The community of the warm room filled with steaming buckets and leather things on a cold day, as I rinsed and wiped and polished alongside others. The satisfaction of the bridles neatly wrapped and hung evenly along the wall, the saddles oiled and covered for another night.

Time used to pass slowly then. Whether it was the slower rhythms of barn life or merely the fact that I was literally counting down the minutes between the horses I’d get to ride, it is a pulse I can barely imagine now, when I sit down at my desk early each morning and suddenly look up to find that it is already time to make dinner.

But for an hour that evening last week, I tasted it again: time slowing. I allowed myself to imagine that I was five again, my first brush strokes on a pony’s side, my first steps beside him, leading him to a mounting block, my first attempts to direct him with a pull of the reins right and left. For that hour, all my worries about the world and our places in it fell away, and I felt, in all its simplicity, happy.

 

riding

Then…and now.

 

Why should little boys ride horses?

Because it will, even if only for a moment, make their mothers very, very happy.

 

Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor

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