From June 7 to 11, 2021, TSB author Janet Jones, PhD, whose HORSE BRAIN, HUMAN BRAIN has become a runaway international bestseller since its release last year, was a featured presenter at HETI Seoul. Hosted by the Korea Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (KATH) and Korea Racing Authority (KRA), the 17th HETI International Congress was held as both an in-person and virtual event. Janet traveled to Seoul to speak to attendees in person.
The goal of HETI Seoul was to welcome experts and officials from all over the world to catch up on the latest trends taking place in the field of equine-assisted activity and therapy. In her presentation, Janet discussed what it is about equine brains that makes horses so good at equine-assisted therapy for humans. She introduced some of the reasons:
Horses have no prefrontal cortex and therefore cannot judge their human handlers.
Horse-and-human communication depends on nonverbal body language.
Horses learn and respond quickly in “pure” form with little emotional baggage.
Horses have little to no categorical perception and therefore notice small details.
The horse’s primary emotion is fear, as is common to wounded human psyches.
Methods that calm equine fear also help control human fear.
Successful horse-and-human interaction requires mutual trust built over time.
Horses’ size and power requires humans to abandon techniques involving force.
During her talk, Janet explained how each of these items affects human wellness and aids in many types of therapeutic intervention (read more in her official conference abstract HERE).
*Photos above: Janet presenting six neurological reasons for horses’ excellence at equine-assisted psychotherapy; the foreign speakers, organizers, the HETI Board, and leaders of the host organizations Korea Racing Authority and Korea Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship at the Presidential Dinner held at Seoul’s Floating Island on (on top of!) the water of the Han River; Janet presenting the Best Volunteer Award to a young Korean rider who worked tirelessly to help everyone.Photos courtesy of Janet Jones.
“I enjoyed the HETI Congress immensely,” says Janet. “The organizers managed every detail, the presentations were informative, and all the complex online hybrid and translation technology worked. I met lots of interesting new people and got to discuss global and local horse industries with many of them.The presentations had simultaneous translation into multiple languages–I think simultaneous translation is pretty cool, though perhaps it is more common nowadays than I was aware! Final convention counts showed 909 participants from 37 countries—remarkable given the global pandemic at this time.”
The 18th HETI International Congress is slated for 2024 in Budapest, Hungary.
In this excerpt from STILL HORSE CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, Olympian and tale-teller Jim Wofford shares a formative experience with an equestrian coach that told him all he needed to know about what it takes to be a good rider.
When I first came to Gladstone in 1965, Richard Wätjen was coaching the dressage team, and I audited his lessons whenever possible. Wätjen, German by birth, was classically trained at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna after WWI and had become a coach after WWII. Tall and portly, he was a legend in the dressage world, and must have been a tough old buzzard as well. In the winter of 1966–67, Nautical Hall, the indoor riding arena at Gladstone, was one of the coldest places on Earth, but no matter how cold it was, Wätjen taught in slacks and street shoes, wearing a dark green Loden greatcoat. He was not an inspiring instructor, and his comments were brief and pungent. “More,” was one of his favorites, along with “Again,” and “No.” I never knew if teaching in a second language was a problem for him, or if it was just his style, and I was too intimidated to ask.
He was dedicated to obtaining a correct response from his horses by establishing an inside leg to outside rein connection. One day a student remarked that he wanted to start work in half-pass. “No,” said Wätjen, in his heavy German accent. “Vee vill put him in shoulder-in for two years, und zen vee vill put him in half-pass in two days.” His point was that once the basic response was correctly established, the horse would put his forces completely at our disposal. In terms of my overall development as a horseman, I might have gotten as much from my auditing as from riding at the time.
Once Wätjen had finished his work with the Team horses, he taught occasional outside lessons for dressage riders. A woman showed up for one lesson with a very fancy, recently imported horse reputed to have set her back a princely sum. (Given the fur coat and diamonds she was sporting, I don’t think she noticed the cost a bit.) It was obvious after she careened around the ring for a few minutes that she couldn’t get this creature even close to being on the bit.
Then magic happened. Telling this unfortunate lady to ride in and “get down,” Wätjen turned toward the corner of the arena where Rick Eckhart and I were cowering. Pointing at us, he said, “Boys. Come here.”
Next thing we knew, we were holding the horse while, in street shoes and gabardine slacks, Wätjen laboriously stepped aboard. He would have been in his late seventies by this time, and his beer belly indicated he wasn’t much for exercise. I knew he had been a fabulous rider in his day—a long time ago. He walked off gathering his reins, then moved into working trot. By now the horse was starting to settle into the contact and produced a few transitions from working trot to collected trot, followed by extended trot across each diagonal. This happened with no discernable aids, as Wätjen sat bolt upright in the saddle. Some canter work followed, including several flying changes remarkable for their straightness and fluidity.
All this only took a few minutes, with no preparation or warm-up. In the meantime, the dressage rider was standing with a stupefied look on her face, and I was pretty impressed as well. Wätjen walked back to the center and gestured that we should hold the horse while he carefully stepped down, gave him a pat, and said, “Nice horse.” The owner began to babble about how grateful she was, and how impressed. “How ever did you do that?” she inquired.
Gesturing with his hand toward her shoulder, Wätjen said, “Vell, you must sit mit a straight line from shoulder, to hip, to heel.” She replied eagerly, “Yes, yes, I am doing that.” Wätjen continued, “… und zen you are riding mit a straight line from elbow to horse’s mouth.” The lady pounced on this statement with glee, “Yes, yes. I have been doing this.” “Goot!” said Wätjen. “Now you must practice for 30 years.” I started to crack up at what I thought was a masterful put-down, but I happened to take a look at Wätjen’s face. He wasn’t putting her down, or kidding. He was serious.
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!
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.”
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!”
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:
There are some authors who inspire us, even out of the saddle. Jen Marsden Hamilton is one of those. She always seems to reach out just when we at TSB need a shot in the arm and encouragement to keep on, keeping on. We connected with Jen recently to talk about her book STRIDE CONTROL, what’s it’s like to own a field of sunflowers, and what Mark Twain has to teach all of us.
TSB: Your book STRIDE CONTROL provides exercises and advice for practicing striding at home so you can perform your best. Why is stride control integral to jumping success, both in the ring and cross-country?
JMH: The average hunter course is about 100 strides and 8 jumps. Jumper courses, depending on the size of the arena, could be 150+ strides and up to maybe 16 jumps. The cross-country count can be 12 to over 30 over several miles, with lots of jumps and combinations.
Obviously, on a course the rider/horse spend more time on the ground than in the air. Best to spend that time wisely.
The ability to control the horse’s stride to a jump and within lines enables the horse to do his job—jump!
TSB: In your book, you describe yourself as a “watcher” who copied her heroes when you first rode and competed in the fifties. What is the benefit of being a “watcher”? Should young riders learn in this way today?
JMH: In the old days, riding lessons taught a very basic position, how to post to the trot, and how to canter. Basically how to “go” and “whoa” and not fall off.
One of the best ways to learn is to watch the best of the time. Your choice is to do that or remain stagnant.
Of course I think young riders should watch the best. Watching the best inspires! But one must never forget the progression of skill development to greatness.
TSB: You use the word “strategy” in your book to describe the plan you provide for each of your exercises. How does one devise a strategy for developing new skills and practicing new exercises without the benefit of a coach and when working on one’s own?
JMH: Read STRIDE CONTROL! Anyone can have a plan: Find exercises to take you toward your goals and follow the strategies to promote learning. Over time, your exercise strategies can be fine-tuned to your personal needs.
TSB: One of your catch phrases is “Be a star!” When did you first start saying this to your students and what does it mean to you?
JMH: I can’t remember when “Be a star” became my thing, but it has lasted over time and is so meaningful to so many in different ways.
Rapport allows for personal interpretation and positive affirmations.
TSB: What is one lesson you hope readers will take away from your book?
JMH: Teacher-directed lessons are great and at times essential when introducing new skills, but nothing replaces personal practice time to develop your feel and how to read a situation.
When the in-gate closes, you’re on your own. Internalized skills need to kick in. Take responsibility for the ride.
The exercises in STRIDE CONTROL promote self-directed positive learning in a non-threatening situation. It’s more than okay to self-train over valid exercises that promote correct and safe learning.
TSB: You are based in beautiful part of Nova Scotia and have your own field of sunflowers that blooms in the summer. Why sunflowers? And how did that field come to be?
JMH: My husband Brian is a fixer not a “throw-it-outer.” During the COVID lockdown, he refurbished a 100-year-old seed spreader.
Lots of land + working seeder + 2 bags of sunflower seed = a lovely field of yellow.
Being on the top of a hill the yellow could be seen from a distance. People enjoyed our field and many came for a big handful.
TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?
JMH:Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett: My favorite book, and it’d take a long time to read.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: The story of true friendship.
Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne: I could entertain myself and talk to myself, reciting the lovely stories and rhymes.
No horse. I’m taking a cat!
TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?
JMH: Go swimming bareback in the ocean.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?
JMH: Truthfulness to help me maintain personal balance and someone to laugh and cry with. A tall friend to reach the top shelf is also useful.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?
JMH: I love honest horses. Horses who try their best based on ability. The horse that would be the McDonald’s “Employee of the Month.”
TSB: What is your greatest fear?
JMH: The loss of hope.
TSB: What is your greatest extravagance?
JMH: I have a retro 2002 Inspiration-Yellow Thunderbird. Whenever I’m at a stoplight next to some young pups and they look over and think, “What a waste!” I gun it and leave ‘em in my dust!
TSB: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
JMH: Since I can remember, I’ve asked for both my birthday and Christmas to wake up TALL and THIN. I’ve always been disappointed! I’ve learned to embrace/accept terms like RUGGED and STURDY, but really it is body shaming.
TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?
JMH: Milk, peanut butter, and red jam.
TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
JMH: I think the lyrics of “Happiness—You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” sums up happiness beautifully. If you don’t know the song, have a listen, then sing along, and enjoy. It will bring back memories and help you enjoy the present.
Really, it’s all about smiles and laughter. Smiles of greeting, love, safety, and personal and shared accomplishments. Laughter related to joy and memories, and just shared laughter with family and friends.
I can’t wait to have our whole family back together again! The smiles and laughter will be wonderful!
TSB: If you could have a conversation with one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
JMH: Mark Twain. He was the ultimate watcher and commentator on society. I love his quotes. In fact, I’m living by one of his quotes: “I have achieved my 70 years (74 now) in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else.”
TSB: If you could go back to December 2019 and go one place anywhere in the world with as many or as few people as you would like, where would you go, who would you bring, and what would you do?
JMH: In December 2019, I was planning and booking a trip to Kenya for Brian and me, our daughter, her husband, and our three grandchildren. I have been lucky to teach in Kenya several times and make friends there. I wanted to take everyone on safari and meet our friends before the “grand-ones” were too old and grumpy.
Hopefully, by the time the world opens our family will still want to travel with us and we won’t be too lame or jaded.
TSB: What is your motto?
JMH: Whatever you do, do it with total conviction and be a star!
Jen Marsden Hamilton’s book STRIDE CONTROL is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.
We are a small, in-house staff at TSB, and being horse people makes the job of publishing equestrian books a highly personal pursuit. The cool thing is, many of the freelancers we work with are “horsey,” too.
Andrea Jones has been indexing for us for many years. If you buy TSB books, chances are, you’ve looked up a name or subject in one of her indexes before. Andrea has a super appreciation for the kinds of ways an index should be formatted to best feature the information our readership will want at the tips of their fingers. And one of the reasons she does this so well is that she is a horse owner.
Upon losing her horse of 17 years, Moondo, in 2020, Andrea found herself in that heartsick place of mourning the passing of a wonderful friend and knowing that her second horse, Jake, needed a herd mate. Andrea’s story of what it is like to search for and find a new horse when you really weren’t planning on it reminds us of the sweet surprises that can await on the other side of sadness.
If you like what you read, you can follow Andrea’s blog Between Urban and Wild by clicking here.
Although we knew for months that sweet Moondo would not be with us much longer, I couldn’t face the prospect of looking for a new horse while he was alive.
I had no regrets about spending focused time with Moody in his final weeks, but if we were to continue to have horses in our lives, Jake would need a companion, so late July and early August were an unsettling mix. The raw emotions of loss were shadowed by brain-numbing online searches broken up with phone calls and emails punctuated by an occasional venture into the pandemic summer to look at prospects. I didn’t feel good about any of it. There could be no “replacing” Moondo, of course, but I’ve also never been a fan of getting on horses I don’t know. Then there’s the fact that looking for a horse is like the worst kind of blind dating, in which the one who turns out to be an asshole can dump you in the dirt.
I didn’t mean to, but I ended up buying the first horse I looked at. Not right away, not without seeing and riding other horses, and not without trying to talk myself out of it. But after a few weeks of looking, that first horse was the one I kept thinking about. The fact that Moondo, years ago, was also the first horse I looked at—that I had equivocated but eventually settled on him after seeing who else was out there—was a good omen, perhaps?
Harper is a ten-year-old dark bay Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred cross with a sweet splotch on her forehead and a pair of ankle-high socks. She made a charming impression when I first approached her at the barn where she was living. I was slightly nervous and wondered what horses must think about people suddenly starting to wear masks over most of their faces. I offered my hand for her to sniff, which she did—and then proceeded to lick it very very…very…thoroughly. Very.
Under saddle out on the arena, she was attentive, businesslike, and a little huffy if my cues were awkward or over-strong: she would offer clear coaching if I hoped to revive my dressage skills. We took a short trail ride, during which she was calm, sensible, and interested in her surroundings. Rather than getting worked up about the crew thinning trees around the riding facility, she veered toward the tractor and snarling chainsaws, wanting to see what was going on.
Still, I waffled. I fretted about how Jake would act around a mare. I had reservations about bringing a barn-kept horse up to our rugged high-altitude setting. I worried about her little feet and those skinny super-model-long legs. Back problems had ended her career as a hunter/jumper. But she was sound for light riding, which is all I ever hope to do. The trainer overseeing her sale thought we were a good match, too, and insisted that Harper preferred turnout to the stall. I looked at other horses, waffled some more. After going back and riding her a second time, personality won: I decided I’d be stupid to pass up such a sane and likeable horse.
When I brought Harper home a week later, she backed out of the trailer and stood assessing her surroundings for a few minutes, a slightly quizzical expression on her face. “What a strange-looking show grounds this is,” I imagined her thinking, “Where on earth are all the other horses??” We settled her in the barn pasture to start, letting her get a feel for the place before meeting Jake.
He’d been on his own for five weeks by then, and although he’d taken his isolation with admirable stoicism, he was transfixed to see her on the other side of the driveway and was no doubt excited to properly meet. We waited a few days and hoped the encounter would be uneventful, but a proper first meeting in the equine universe tends toward rude physicality. Curious nose-sniffing whirled to squealing and kicking in a millisecond. Jake landed a kick to Harper’s hindquarters with a heart-stopping thwack, but the impact was a slap against muscle and not a crack on bone. Harper did not accept the message that she would rank in second position with meek deference, gamely charging back at him butt-first.
With herd positions sorted—Jake on top but Harper drawing the line at how much shit she would take from him—the tone changed. Jake, in short, is besotted. Fortunately for household peace and for our vet bills, Harper appears to be pretty sweet on him, too. They’re both food-defensive, and bicker at feeding time, but have shown a surprising willingness to share resources, at least when the weather is mild. Out in the pasture, they hang out so close to one another it looks like they’re hitched together.
I’ve ridden some, but winter weather arrived early and then settled into repetitive freeze-thaw cycles with just enough snow thrown in to ensure a consistent abundance of ice. I’m at peace with not riding in the crummy conditions, though, and it’s not like Harper hasn’t been busy.
She’s been learning to cope with mountain weather, for starters, which started with a blizzard and nine inches of snow shortly after she arrived. She’s been working on growing her own winter coat, and now only wears her fashionista jacket when the weather is truly abysmal.
Jake has been showing her where to stand when the wind blows from what direction, and has persuaded her to try laying down in the snow. I’m not sure she’s convinced it’s worth it to get wet, but probably agrees that snowdrifts can actually be quite cushy.
Harper isn’t perfect—no horse is. To call her food-defensive is a nice way of saying she turns nasty when there’s food around, pinning her ears, swinging her head, snapping. She’s thin-skinned and touchy, and I’m still discovering her quirks, preferences, and less desirable behaviors. But the sensible and calm demeanor that attracted me hasn’t changed; every time I’ve gotten on Harper, I’ve ridden the same steady and businesslike horse.
And I continue to admire her boldness and curiosity. When I first turned her out in the big pasture, I took her on a walk to show her the loafing shed and the fences. When I turned her loose, she set off walking instead of joining Jake in grazing. She took a quick detour to investigate the braced corner of the cross-fence, but kept going, up the slope and out of the bowl that makes up most of the field. Jake followed without enthusiasm: he was ready to eat. From where I stood near the gate, I could see Harper pause atop the ridge, looking over the far fence. Then she headed out again, following the fenceline to the south.
The next morning, Doug reported that Jake was a little lethargic. We decided he wasn’t sick, just tired. Harper, I think, had worked through the night to map her new acreage. Unwilling to let his beloved out of his sight, Jake had dutifully followed.
When I opened the gate into the winter pasture a month or so later, Harper did the same thing. She set off at a purposeful march, not pausing until she could see the fence on the far side of the field. Satisfied she’d located the boundary, she dropped her head and started eating.
Like my old friend Moondo, Harper likes to know where she is, and now she’s home.
Andrea M. Jones lives with her husband and their two horses on a high ridge in central Colorado. In her essay collection, Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado, Andrea explores the realities, joys, and contradictions that come with living in the wildland-urban interface. She continues to examine these themes in her blog at www.betweenurbanandwild.com and is currently at work on a new book about scientific literacy. When she isn’t writing, hiking, riding, or gardening, Andrea works as a freelance indexer; for more information visit www.jonesliteraryservices.com.
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.
One of our favorite things at TSB is when our amazing and inspiring authors connect. What better than to see the people we know, admire, learn from, and care about find common ground in their love for the horse? That’s what happened with our friend and author, Jane Savoie, who we lost to cancer in January this year, and our friend and author Lynn Palm. They appreciated and learned from each other over many years as they both wrote several books, taught thousands of people, and strove to teach riders how to be the equestrians they want to be–whether just riding at home or competing at the highest levels.
Lynn wrote this moving tribute to Jane, and we asked if we might share it with you:
We will all miss the spirit, talent, teaching ability, inspiration, honesty, and passion for horses that was Jane Savoie.
I first met Jane on the phone, and I was so impressed with her positive energy. An international “queen” of dressage (though she never acted like it), she reached out to interview me on classical training for a series of cross-training books she was writing. [Editors Note: These would later be bound together in what is today JANE SAVOIE’S DRESSAGE 101.] Jane had learned that I did hunters, Western riding, and driving (to produce “All-Around” horses) with my Quarter Horses. She was the first in the dressage world to recognize the I was using dressage training with my horses. She sent me her first book to read: THAT WINNING FEELING!, and I read it before my next Quarter Horse Congress competition. I was amazed how I could turn every negative thought in my mind before competition into a positive. I succeeded more than I expected that year and became a Jane Savoie follower from then on! When she asked me to write the foreword for her first cross-training book, I was honored!
As I collected all Jane’s books and always found new things to learn in them–for my horses or students or my own riding–I asked Jane to be a part of three events I created under the name Women Luv Horses. I hosted them in North Carolina, California, and Florida. I asked Jane, along with the top women trainers, competitors, and instructors in the dressage, reining, working cow horse, barrels, and English/Western All-Around disciplines to join me. Jane’s classes were always the best attended and always kept the audience mesmerized. Not only did Jane bring positive education to equine enthusiasts, she brought fun as she shared her passion of understanding the horse.
I will always remember my lessons on tempi changes with Jane as we prepared my Rugged Painted Lark for his bridleless exhibitions at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. She could articulate her teaching so that it was easy to understand, and she could always come up with an exercise to improve a goal. I remember that straightness of the forehand gives the perfect balance I needed for the tempi changes to be more consistent. I hear her in my mind many times when I ride!
We will all miss Jane. I know that she will continue to ride with all the thousands of people who followed her, as I know she rides with me nearly every day.
Love you Jane. Thanks for all you have done for people and horses!
The TSB 2021 Horse Books & Videos Catalog is now available to download (see below link) or request by mail from our website (click here for a print copy). Our cover model this year is the stunning Eddie–some of you have already heard his amazing story, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to share a little about his new family, because it is a love story of a special nature.
In 2018, TSB author Yvonne Barteau’s rescue Horses Without Humans in Bell, Florida, received in 19 horses in devastating condition. Dubbed “The Bone Yard” by volunteers and followers on social media, this remarkable group of animals defied dire predictions that it was unlikely they would all find their way to health.
Miraculously, all of them survived, and one by one, they are being rehabilitated and retrained prior to finding them caring homes. Our cover boy, Eddie, was one of The Bone Yard herd in the worst condition when he was surrendered. Today he shines with health and contentment…and, maybe best of all, he has found a new home with a loving family:
“We moved to Florida from New York in 2016 for work,” says Dr. Dan Dickinson, who along with his wife, Theresa, adopted Eddie in 2020. “At that time, if you had asked me what my wife was really passionate about besides nursing (now she is a nurse practitioner), I would not have been able to tell you. We sent my eight-year-old daughter, Paris, to a horseback-riding camp, locally, and my wife just started spending time with the other horses and learning about them. Then she started taking riding lessons on her own (even when Paris lost interest!).
“Theresa’s passion grew and grew, so in October of 2019, we adopted Dolly, a Gypsy Vanner that Theresa fell in love with. Unfortunately, where Dolly was, the farm hands were scared of her and didn’t give her great care, so we relocated Dolly, boarding her at Yvonne’s place in Bell.
“It was there that we learned Eddie’s story and saw the pictures of him before Yvonne and her awesome team rescued him. My wife fell in love with Eddie, (and soon after, we all did, very very easily!), and so we adopted him! We actually moved out of our house into a slightly smaller house with more acreage so we could have our horses on our own property–we now live on a 9.9-acre horse ranch in northern Gainesville. We love it. Eddie has a voracious appetite, and loves carrots, apples, and just about any horse treats from our local store, Bits & Spurs. He and his sister, Dolly, chase each other and run around like mad in their pasture. And if you ask Paris, Eddie is her horse!
“The story of Eddie’s new life comes largely from the story of Theresa–the most hardworking, compassionate nurse, who I met, fell in love with, and married ten years ago this month. Now everyone knows what her passion and her hobby is. (We adopted an 18-year-old mare named Neigh Neigh this past Christmas season!) I can say it adds to our marriage, as we both take care of and ride these three amazing horses. We have two small kids…and three very very large kids to take care of, too.”
We are over-the-moon happy for Eddie…and Dolly and Neigh Neigh and their amazing human family. The Dickinsons and their herd are providing an inspiring example of how every horse deserves a second chance…and the love of a family.
Horses Without Humans (HorsesWithoutHumans.org) partners with The Right Horse (TheRightHorse.org). TSB is proud to support both of these worthy organizations and invites you to learn more about their efforts to help horses in transition.
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.
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.
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
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.
What saved us in 2020? We had books to publish. The ever-present routine that is our (often overwhelming) publication schedule actually kept us sane: In March, while some titles idled at printers when the world shut down, we were deep in editorial for books that would (hopefully) come out later in the year, designing covers for those already in the proofreading stage, and brainstorming marketing plans for the titles we expected to arrive in our warehouse in the coming weeks. As the months opened and closed, each marked by challenging events and difficult news, we focused on the books in our care and the hope and excitement that each new one always brings.
Of course, the impact of the pandemic affected all stages of a book’s usual evolution. Authors’ lives were upended and so manuscripts were delivered late. Photo shoots had to be rescheduled. Printers were shut down and shipping delays became the norm. Events were canceled, book and tack shops were closed, and publicity and sales efforts moved almost entirely online. And so, the year has been a course in both “steady as she goes” and “think outside the box.”
As we turn the page on 2020 and head into our 36th year as equestrian book publishers, we want to take a look back at the titles we released in the past 12 months. In a year marked by turmoil, the publication of each of these reminded us that, no matter what, we could still count on books to keep us going.
Andrea Waldo reads her bestselling book, teaching you how to handle uncomfortable emotions, such as fear, anger, anxiety, and embarrassment; hone your mental game, focus your riding time to get the most out of your hours in the saddle; and care for your emotional injuries.
After coaching countless riders and horses around the world in the striding techniques that brought her success during her own impressive competitive career, Jen Marsden Hamilton has compiled her knowledge in a concise book of exercises and insightful strategies.
Dr. Stacie Boswell details proactive methods of handling common medical problems and health issues in horses in transition, from nutrition and dentistry to deworming and hoofcare to traumatic injury and emergency rescue scenarios.
Brain scientist and horsewoman Janet Jones describes human and equine brains working together. Using plain language, she explores the differences and similarities between equine and human ways of negotiating the world.
Yoga teacher and horsewoman Cathy Woods shows you how to achieve present moment awareness; find body, breath, and energy awareness; breathe through challenges; listen to your inner voice; slow down; and develop balance and symmetry in the saddle.
Olympian Anne Kursinski’s acclaimed book on riding horses over fences delivers on-target counsel and the kind of sophisticated, quality instruction you can only get in top barns around the world. Updated with over 300 full-color photos.
Master motivator Jane Savoie breaks down the six most common problem areas she sees when horses jump, then fills the rider’s toolbox with targeted exercises on the flat—simple solutions to the nagging problems that prevent riders and horses from doing their best over all kinds of obstacles.
When she was 23, carrying a puppy named Gypsy, Melissa Chapman climbed aboard a horse and rode away from everything, heading west. Part American road trip, part coming-of-age adventure, and part uncommon love story—a remarkable memoir that explores the evolution of the human-animal relationship, along with the raw beauty of a life lived outdoors.
Fergus the Horse, the creation of artist Jean Abernethy, has been entertaining audiences—young and old, in print and online—with his comedic adventures for the past 20 years. Abernethy celebrates his age—and the wisdom that should come with it—with an all-new selection of horsey humor, including many cartoons fans have never seen before.
Canine and equine physiotherapist Katja Bredlau-Morich, author of Kinesiology Taping for Horses, is a pioneer in bringing the method to the dog world. She believes that dogs can benefit hugely from taping techniques, and even better, dog owners and trainers can learn practical steps to using kinesiology tape themselves.
Dr. Ina Gösmeier is a veterinarian who supports her Western medical practice with knowledge gained through the study of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This handbook provides a basic introduction to the guiding principle of determining a horse’s TCM type before making decisions about handling, care, training, or treatment.
In the follow-up to her bestselling WHEN TWO SPINES ALIGN, Beth Baumert explains how to optimize the use of the “thinking mind” in order to become a better learner in the saddle and provides techniques for maximizing mental and emotional harmony with the horse.
We are so grateful for all our authors, and for the readers and viewers whose support is essential to our company’s survival. Wishing everyone a safe and peaceful New Year.
The TSB Staff
Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and videos, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.
The snow has piled high outside the TSB offices in Vermont, and we are feeling grateful for many things.
In a year that challenged us all in ways few of us ever expected, we are grateful to all the readers, riders, and horse lovers who have supported our hard-working authors and our small company’s mission to publish high quality books “for the good of the horse.”
Thank you, and Happy Holidays from all of us at TSB.
Caroline, Martha, Rebecca, Kim, Amy, Lizzie, and Marilyn