The Ultimate Act of “Recycling”

EARTHDAYBLOG

The definition of “recycle” is to convert waste into reusable material. But when it comes to the idea of “recycling,” few of us think of something we waste on a regular basis around the world: perfectly good horses. Just consider how many thousands of horses every year are born and are NOT the fastest, most beautiful, most athletic, or most colorful. They are just horses, in need of a home and a chance to shine in their own individual ways.

Earth Day 2017 is Saturday, April 22, and there will be a lot of much needed talk and action when it comes to trying to make our world a cleaner, healthier place for humans and animals to inhabit. But as we pile up the returnables and separate the plastics, this is also a time to remember that there are many four-legged creatures in need of a new home and a second chance. There are dogs, cats, and indeed horses, that need to be given an opportunity to be something different for someone new. Adopting one is perhaps the ultimate act of recycling.

One example of this is the off-the-track Thoroughbred. According to the Jockey Club, an estimated 22,500 Thoroughbred foals were born in North America in 2016. A fraction of these will go on to careers on the track or as breeding stock. The rest have an uncertain fate. Luckily, the past decade has seen an uptick in the number of OTTB retraining and rehoming facilities, as well as an increase in public awareness through the efforts of organizations such as the Retired Racehorse Project and its popular Thoroughbred Makeover event. This is good news for ex-racehorses, as many of them now find new roles as trail horses, competitive partners, or even just pasture companions.

In her Brookmeade Young Rider Series, TSB author Linda Snow McLoon tells the story of a young girl that is offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to “recycle” a failed racehorse and turn him into an eventing superstar. Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the series, Crown Prince:

Crown Prince_250Sarah stood quietly, watching the horse. There was no movement as he stood facing the far corner, ignoring her. She clucked softly, but there was no response. Her hand dug deep in her pocket in hopes of finding one more carrot, but it was empty. Nothing was left, except perhaps…yes, in her other pocket she felt a peppermint candy, which she withdrew and slowly unwrapped. In response to the crinkling of the cellophane, a slim finely chiseled head turned her way, his ears pricked forward. He wore a halter, but was too far away for her to read the nameplate. She placed her outstretched hand with the peppermint over the stall door and spoke softly. “Prince—come, Prince.”

Slowly the horse turned from the rear wall and cautiously moved toward her. As he got closer, she felt delicate nostrils blow gently on her hand and then the slender muzzle lifted the peppermint away. He studied her as he chewed the candy slowly and deliberately.

He was big. Except for the enormous draft horses she had seen in pulling competitions at the state fair, this horse was larger than any Sarah had ever seen, including Chancellor. The only horse who might possibly match his size was Donegal Lad. But this horse possessed such refinement that his size wasn’t readily evident until he was close. In the dimly lit stall his dark bay coat looked almost black, and his only marking was a small white star in the center of his forehead. The deep straw bedding hid any possible white markings on his legs.

For several moments Sarah and the horse stood looking at each other. Then she lifted the stall door’s latch and let herself inside. As Crown Prince retreated to the corner, she reached back over the door to lower the latch back into position. Slowly she approached the horse, all the while talking softly. “Good boy, good Prince,” she repeated. Once by his side, she reached to touch his long neck and stroked it gently. His coat felt like sleek satin. He turned his head toward her, seeming to know she meant him no harm.

Now she was close enough to make out his halter plate. Sarah read the name in large block letters: CROWN PRINCE. Below it in smaller print his sire and dam were listed: Emperor’s Gold—Northern Princess. Yes! This definitely was the horse with the reputation of an untrainable rogue.

“You beautiful Prince,” she murmured. As Sarah stroked his neck and continued to speak in hushed tones, she felt the horse become more relaxed. His head dropped down to her and gradually his eyes softened, as he clearly enjoyed her touch and gentle voice. He offered no resistance as she gently pulled his head closer and rested her cheek on his muzzle. It was so soft. With his head lowered, she caressed his forehead, tracing the white star, and gently tugged on his ears. She felt as if she had known this horse forever.

Sarah had no idea how long she had been in the stall with Crown Prince when she became aware of a presence outside.

“Sarah, what are you doing? We’ve been looking all over for you.” It was her father’s voice. She turned to see him looking in at her, along with Jack, Sam, and Rudy Dominic. Worry and concern were written all over their faces.

“I’m fine, Dad. Don’t worry. This is Crown Prince. And he’s the horse I want.”

Her father’s jaw tightened as his eyes met Jack’s before he turned back to Sarah and the dark bay horse standing beside her. Crown Prince surveyed them all curiously, the picture of refinement and nobility. Mr. Wagner observed the horse’s beautifully shaped head, which tapered from small ears to large intelligent eyes down to a refined muzzle. His white star contrasted sharply with his deep mahogany coat. Sarah’s father shook his head, acknowledging the horse’s beauty, but anxious for his daughter’s safety.

Rudy Dominic pointed to the horse. “Isn’t he just like I said?”

Jack was too absorbed to answer. He opened the stall door and joined Sarah to get a closer look. He had seen some impressive horseflesh in his life, but this one ranked up there with the best of them. His eyes traveled from the powerful hindquarters to the pleasing topline and nicely sloping shoulder.

“Have you got a shank right there, Rudy?” Jack asked. “I want to get a better look at this fellow outside the stall.”

Rudy nodded to Sam, who left, returning in a few minutes with a lead shank, and let himself into the horse’s stall. “Come on, big horse. Let’s show off for these folks.” As he started to attach the lead to Crown Prince’s halter, the horse playfully grabbed the brass shank with his teeth. “Oh, no you don’t,” Sam said, as he pulled it away. He ran the chain through the halter’s side ring, over the horse’s nose, and attached it to the other side. Turning to Sarah, he said, “If he decided to put his head to the sky, as a short guy I’d be in trouble. But he knows me. He’s not a bad horse around the barn. It’s only when you sit on him he gets rank. I’ll bring him out so you can have a look-see at a real horse.”

Jack opened the stall door, and Sam led the horse to the open area between the barns. The backstretch was quieter now, since most grooms had finished caring for their horses and were having a late breakfast in the track kitchen. Crown Prince walked with a stately dignity and halted when asked, his coat gleaming in the sun’s rays.

Jack moved around him, thinking out loud. “Strong hindquarters, nice length of back, pronounced withers, good bone, and a lovely long neck.” He moved to stand directly in front of the horse before speaking to Rudy. “His conformation is quite correct. No toeing in or out, good width of chest, nice head. They don’t come any better than this. But I’d like to see him move.”

Rudy motioned to Sam. “Walk away and then jog him back, Sam. But be careful. He hasn’t been to the track to gallop in a while, so keep a tight hold on him.” Rudy turned to Sarah and her father. “I’m always surprised at how well behaved he is except when there’s a rider up. Then he becomes a lunatic.”

Jack positioned himself to get a good view before Sam led the horse away from him. Coming back, Prince trotted agreeably beside Sam and stopped when they reached Jack. “He’s a good mover, too—well balanced,” said Jack, “and his ground manners can’t be faulted.”

Sarah’s father was standing back but listening carefully. “He is a beautiful animal. It’s too bad his reputation takes him out of the running for being a horse for Sarah,” he said firmly.

Sarah, who up to now hadn’t taken her eyes off the horse, swung to face her father. “Dad—I don’t believe he can be as bad as Rudy says! He deserves a chance to be a different horse when he gets away from the racetrack and comes to Brookmeade Farm. Maybe he wasn’t meant to be a racehorse, but I think he will be a wonderful horse for me. I just know it!”

Mr. Wagner was quick to respond. “Sarah, this is a large and powerful animal. Above all else, I won’t let you be in harm’s way. From what I’ve heard today, this horse is dangerous. We mustn’t be so taken with his splendid appearance that we lose sight of the big picture. I can’t have you getting hurt by a horse.”

Sarah could see her father was totally serious. He was thinking only of potential disaster. She had to change his mind.

“We can start working with him on a longe line, Dad, until he knows what’s expected of him. I can turn him out in the big pasture where he can run off some energy. He’ll come to trust me. I promise I won’t even think about riding him until Jack gives the okay. You can see he’s well behaved. He’s a special horse, Dad, and he should have another chance.”

“But what about the handsome chestnut horse you like so much?” her father asked, motioning toward the other end of the shed row. “Don’t you think Code of Honor will be the perfect horse for you? And don’t you want a horse you can ride? Who knows how long it will be before you can get on this horse, if ever.”

Sarah looked at her father, her dark eyes pleading. “Dad, I know you want what’s best for me. But this is supposed to be my decision. Please don’t stand in the way. You’ve got to trust me. I want to take Crown Prince back to Brookmeade Farm more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life. I know he’s the right horse for me. He’s the one I’ve been waiting for.”

Jack, who had been quietly studying Crown Prince, turned to them. “’Tis for sure we have a grand animal here. Who knows the heights he and Sarah might reach if we can turn him around? Sometimes Thoroughbreds are completely different when they get away from the racetrack.” Jack walked over and placed a hand on Crown Prince’s shoulder. He stroked the horse, deep in thought.

After a few moments he turned back to Sarah’s father. “I tell you what, Martin. Perhaps we can give this horse a trial run. If we could arrange to take him for a month, I’ll pledge to be deeply involved in his handling, and I mean every part of his care and schooling, to make sure Sarah is safe. I won’t allow her to get on him until I’ve tested those waters myself. I’ll know in thirty days if he will be a suitable mount for her. If by then we’ve made no headway and I decide he’s not the right horse, we’ll notify Hank Bolton and return him to you, Rudy,” Jack added, looking at the trainer. “If this trial scenario is acceptable to you and Hank Bolton, let’s give it a shot.” He paused and looked intently at Sarah’s father. “Martin, I’m willing to make this commitment to ensure your daughter’s safety.”

Sarah stood quietly, her gaze never leaving her father. He was solemn, as he stood deep in thought. She knew he was worried—that above all else, he didn’t want her hurt. Mr. Wagner looked hard at Jack for a few moments before speaking. “Without your encouragement, I would never even consider letting Sarah take a horse with the shady past this one has. But if you can assure me you’ll stay on top of things and manage everything that’s done with him, I’ll go along with your proposal. But remember, this is a trial. At some point in the next month I will look to you, Jack, for an answer. If Sarah is at risk at any time, the horse must go.”

Sarah threw her arms around her father. “Dad, you’re the greatest! I’ll always remember this, that you gave Crown Prince a chance.”

 

CROWN PRINCE and its sequel CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Plus, in honor of Earth Day 2017, you can download a digital copy of ECO-HORSEKEEPING for only $1.99! CLICK HERE to get hundreds of tips for going green affordably, in the barn and in the rest of your horse life!

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

Every Thoroughbred Deserves a Chance to Win at Life

Photo by Erika N. Walsh

Photo by Erika N. Walsh

We’re counting down the days to the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, organized by the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), a nonprofit dedicated to the placement of ex-racehorses in second careers, and sponsored by Thoroughbred Charities of America.

You can join thousands of others who believe that every Thoroughbred deserves a chance to win at life at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, October 27-30, as top trainers engage in the process of transitioning ex-racehorses to second careers. The Thoroughbred Makeover serves as the only national gathering of the organizations, trainers, and farms dedicated to serving OTTBs and features educational clinics and demonstrations, as well as the Makeover Horse Sale and the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover competition.

The 2016 Makeover features over 300 Thoroughbreds that began working with trainers from across the country after the first of the year and who will compete in up to two of ten equestrian disciplines to showcase their talents and trainability.

“The Thoroughbred Makeover is a unique opportunity on so many levels,” says one of the event’s judges, TSB author and president of EquestrianCoach.com Bernie Traurig. “First, it’s a wonderful way to see firsthand the great qualities the Thoroughbred has to offer for so many disciplines. There are over 300 OTTBs competing and demonstrating their versatility in a wide array of sports. Second, for those interested in purchasing an OTTB, many, perhaps half, are available to be tried and purchased. David Hopper and I are judging the jumpers, and we are both really excited to see some of these great Thoroughbreds.”

As supporters of the Retired Racehorse Project, TSB is proud to have a number of authors joining Bernie Traurig (creator of DEVELOPING PERFECT POSITION and other DVDs) in this year’s Makeover. BEYOND THE TRACK author Anna Morgan Ford’s OTTB adoption organization New Vocations always has a significant presence at the event, and both Denny Emerson (HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD) and Yvonne Barteau (THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO) worked with OTTBs with the competition in mind.

 

img_5063

 

“I did not know of the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover challenge until my friend Lisa Diersen of the Equus Film Festival mentioned it to me,” recounts Barteau. “Since I spent seven years on racetracks, working with Standardbred and Thoroughbred racehorses, and also a few years training ex-racehorses, it seemed like a good thing for me to do.

“I started working with SeventyTwo (‘Indy’) in February,” she says. “I found him a bit aloof at first and also somewhat challenging. He likes a good argument and will try to drag you into one if you are not careful. He is also funny, charming, and extremely clever. He learns things, (good or bad), super fast, so I have had to stay ahead of him in the training game.

“I am having such fun with Indy, I plan on keeping him and continuing to train him up the levels in dressage as well as making an exhibition horse out of him. I don’t know how he will be when I take him to a new environment (the Makeover), so however he acts there will be just part of our journey together. I’m looking forward to it either way!”

Don’t missing seeing Indy and all the other winning ex-racehorses as they show off what they’ve learned over the last few months and compete to be named America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred! Tickets for the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover are on sale now (CLICK HERE).

Watch Yvonne and Indy working together in this short video:

 

 

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

If You Aren’t Using This Amazing Groundwork Technique, You and Your Horse Are Missing Out!

LRblog

When Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship was growing up in his native Australia, his father stressed the importance of using long-reining as part of early groundwork when starting colts, as well as using the technique as a safe way to troubleshoot issues when restarting older horses with training or behavior problems. But the influx of American horsemanship methods just as Dan James and his business partner Dan Steers began their careers meant the popularity of traditional long-reining techniques waned.

It was when Dan and Dan trained with Heath Harris, one of the world’s elite liberty trainers and the man behind the horses in blockbuster films such as The Man from Snowy River, Phar Lap, The Young Black Stallion, and The Legend of Zorro, that they discovered the true value of long-reining in a horse’s education.

“Heath mounted us up on green Warmbloods that had just come in for training,” Dan and Dan remember in their new book LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP. “If one of those ‘giants’ wasn’t well broke and ran away, it could get scary really fast. It became quickly apparent that the more we had these horses bridled up and working well from the ground, the easier it was when we got into the saddle.”

So yes, long-reining is a fantastic intermediate groundwork step that bridges the gap between leading a horse and riding him.

“There are a lot of horses that get ‘lost in translation’ when making that leap,” say Dan and Dan, “so the simpler and smoother you can make the transition, the better. We’re not saying that everything a horse can do when being long-reined he will automatically be able to do with you on his back, but we do find it drastically reduces the level of fear and confusion for most horses. And, colts that are taught long-reining progress much faster starting under saddle than horses that are taught everything from their back.”

Heath Harris also had Dan and Dan work with off-the-track Thoroughbreds and “problem” horses that needed to revisit earlier training to fill in holes in their education. These horses taught them that long-reining is equally useful for building a foundation, working through issues, or refining skills the horses might already possess.

“Since we started teaching long-reining to the public, we’ve learned that the magic it works with horses is only half of its benefits,” say Dan and Dan. “We’ve also discovered it helps people gain confidence with their horsemanship—no small thing.”

Long-reining rapidly builds from basic skills to performing high-level exercises. Many classically trained dressage riders at the Olympian level use a lot of long-reining in their programs, as do some elite Western riders. And of course, we’re all familiar with famous Lipizzaner stallions from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, who–alongside their trainers–take long-reining to its highest level of difficulty, entertaining the world with maneuvers that once prepared horses for the immense challenges of the battlefield.

Whether you are into Western or English riding, the long-reining concepts taught in LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP are well worth trying!

“If you have ever seen the Double Dans perform a long-reining demonstration, I am sure that you have been amazed by their skill and talent,” says Jen Johnson, Chief Executive Director of North American Western Dressage (NAWD). “At North American Western Dressage, we understand that good horsemanship begins on the ground. Long-reining can help you and your horse develop a great deal of harmony before you ever get in the saddle, and your horse can learn to use his body in a beneficial manner—without the added weight of a rider. Working your horse from the ground enhances physical and emotional fitness, and this is a great step-by-step guide to help you, with lots of terrific exercises.”

“Dan James and his partner in Double Dan Horsemanship, Dan Steers, are very well suited to offer advice in achieving success with long-lining techniques in a friendly, easy-to-follow manner,” agrees FEI 4* judge and long-lining expert Bo Jena.

You can download a free chapter from LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP or order a copy of the book from the Trafalgar Square Books storefront, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

Tapping OTTB Potential: Retraining Thoroughbreds Is a Family Affair at TSB

FergusSigningFB

Over the last 20 years I have ridden a number of OTTBs (off-the-track Thoroughbreds), but most recently I have been riding an absolutely stunning and incredibly earnest gelding named “Rocky,” owned by Gayle Davis—a friend and fellow event rider. This enormous chestnut won his Advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials with US Olympian and TSB author Phillip Dutton in the irons in 2012, right before Gayle purchased him.

Most spectators are surprised when they hear Rocky came off the track, as he floats across the ground like a Warmblood and his conformation wouldn’t lead you to believe he’s all Thoroughbred. Riding Rocky has truly been a treat—I am incredibly grateful to be able to ride such a naturally gifted athlete. He might be the most powerful horse I have ever sat on, and when you combine that sheer strength with his sincere attitude and wealth of knowledge, you can’t help but smile as you glide across the ground!

TSB Publications Assistant Lila Gendal on the OTTB Rocky.

TSB Publications Assistant Lila Gendal on the OTTB Rocky.

My positive experience with Rocky and with the other OTTBs I’ve ridden means that I find the mission of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) all the more valuable. RRP is a non-profit organization that kick-started in 2010 when a small group of devoted Thoroughbred enthusiasts came together with a clear vision in mind: To promote ex-racehorses by offering them a second chance at succeeding in life beyond the track. This was made possible by increasing demand for them in a wide range of equestrian sports, and supporting those farms, trainers, and organizations that helped transition them.

Shortly after RRP began, the Thoroughbred Makeover Project debuted in 2013 and grew exponentially within the next two years attracting crowds, thoroughbred advocates, equestrians and all sorts of individuals from across the country, as they all gathered at the Kentucky Horse Park. The 2015 event was a huge success with its $100,000 in prize money for close to 200 horses that competed in ten disciplines with less than ten months of training. The 2016 Makeover continues to evolve, adding more educational opportunities to its program, as well as building in more time for potential OTTB buyers to evaluate the horses that are being showcased.

At Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com), we wholeheartedly support the retraining and rehoming of OTTBs, and we are proud to sponsor the Thoroughbred Makeover but to have a number of authors who are actively involved with RRP and the Makeover as well.

BETHTRIn 2008, TSB worked with Anna Morgan Ford, Program Director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program and winner of the 2015 Equus Foundation/USEF Humanitarian Award, to create the book BEYOND THE TRACK. Ford’s book (written with Amber Heintzberger) has become a trusted resource of those entering into partnership with OTTBs. New Vocations was founded at Ford’s family farm in 1992 and now has five locations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. The organization rehabilitates and rehomes over 400 ex-racehorses each year. (Read an excerpt about choosing the right OTTB from Beyond the Track that appeared in Practical Horseman Magazine by clicking HERE.)

ModEventwPhilDut-300Leading US event rider Phillip Dutton is the author of the TSB bestselling MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON (written with Amber Heintzberger) and is known for his ability to rehabilitate ex-racehorses and turn them into successful event horses. (He details the stories of a couple of his well-known OTTBs in a special section in his book.) Currently Dutton—who was just named to his sixth Olympic team, representing the US in Rio de Janeiro this year—has several OTTBs in his barn, one of which is “Icabad Crane,” the horse that won the $10,000 America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover in 2014. (Watch a free “How to Be a Successful Eventer at Any Level” webinar with Dutton HERE.)

GoodRiders-web-300This year two TSB authors are retraining OTTBs with the Makeover specifically in mind: USEA Hall-of-Fame eventer Denny Emerson, author of HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD has two OTTB mares, “Frosty” and “Raven,” that he is working with in preparation for the Thoroughbred Makeover this fall. Emerson keeps his large Facebook audience up to date on what’s happening with these two exciting young mares—you can follow along HERE.

DrHorseManifesto300Yvonne Barteau, author of THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO, is participating in this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover Project on her horse “Indy,” a 15.3-hand Thoroughbred gelding. Barteau has trained over 10 horses to the Grand Prix level and has won numerous USDF Horse of the Year titles, but before she was a Grand Prix dressage rider, she got her start on the track. Beginning in high school, she worked—first as a groom and then as a trainer—at harness-and flat-racing tracks up and down the East Coast. You can keep up with Indy’s progress by watching the wonderful video journals Barteau regularly posts HERE.

Stay tuned over the next few months as we touch base with our TSB authors who are participating in RRP’s Thoroughbred Makeover Project, bringing you highlights and an inside look at their experiences!

-Lila Gendal, Publications Assistant

 

 

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

Young Reader Fiction Emphasizes New Lives for Horses off the Racetrack

cpcpc1

Linda Snow McLoon’s award-winning Brookmeade Young Riders Series has earned critical praise for its emphasis on hard work and good horsemanship, as well as its authentic representation of the challenges an ambitious young equestrian can face in the world of “riding stable drama.” McLoon’s first two books in the series, CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, also take on a number of important social issues, including emphasizing an awareness of the incredible potential of horses retired from racing and giving them a fresh start and a new life. McLoon, a lifelong horsewoman, created the characters to reflect her own devotion to finding and retraining off-the-track Thoroughbreds.

“Crown Prince comes to Sarah Wagner from the racetrack,” explains McLoon. “Over the years, I’ve rescued a number of horses off the track. I found that one of the most satisfying aspects of owning horses was to help those Thoroughbreds make the transition from racehorse to sport horse. Their high intelligence, sensitivity, and athleticism make them good candidates to learn new ways and eventually excel in the show ring, eventing world, dressage, and even competitive trail riding. The fact they’ve been selectively bred for speed for over three centuries makes them the superior athletes we see all over the world today.

Author Linda Snow McLoon and one of her OTTBs, Gamekeeper.

Author Linda Snow McLoon and one of her OTTBs, Gamekeeper.

“One of my favorite OTTBs was a lovely bay gelding I bought at the Saratoga Horses of Racing Age Sale,” McLoon remembers. “Watching the horses being walked before going into the sales arena, I was taken with his large intelligent eyes, overall quality, and that he walked as straight as an arrow. I found myself bidding on this horse, dueling it out with one other bidder before I could take this fellow home. I later discovered he was a well-bred horse who had been purchased for a high price tag as a yearling and traveled to England to train for turf racing. Sold once again, he came back to Belmont Park, but after only starting in one race, he developed an abscess in his neck which took a long time to heal. With so many other racing prospects, his owner decided to cull him from his string and place him in the auction. The horse I came to call ‘Grand Luxe’ always had the small indentation in his neck, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a children’s hunter champion.

“So many ex-horses have gone on be successful in other careers after their racing days were over. Thankfully today there are many organizations that place these horses in good hands after the racetrack.”

“These books are thoughtfully written and entertaining accounts of a girl and her first horse of her own—an off-the-track Thoroughbred,” says Amber Heintzberger, writer, photographer, and coauthor of BEYOND THE TRACK with New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program Director Anna Morgan Ford and MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON with eventing star Phillip Dutton. “Linda Snow McLoon includes plenty of excitement to keep young readers turning the pages as they absorb accurate information about riding and horse care, as well as a few important life lessons. This book may inspire young equestrians to someday find their own ‘Crown Prince’ and rescue a Thoroughbred off the track.”

You can find out how Sarah Wagner comes to find Crown Prince, her dream horse, at the track, and how Sarah must fight to keep him, in the first two books of the Brookmeade Young Riders Series: CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, available now at the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT FROM CROWN PRINCE (click on the red chapter download link on the right of the page)

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT FROM CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED (click on the red chapter download link on the right of the page)

In Maine this summer? You can meet Linda Snow McLoon at the Books in Boothbay Summer Book Fair, Saturday, July 13, 20013!

Visit lindasnowmcloon.com for more information.

New Young Reader Horse Fiction Wins for Best Books Intended for Elementary and High School Grades

CROWN PRINCE by Linda Snow McLoon won for best book intended for elementary- and high-school age readers at the 56th Annual New England Book Show.

CROWN PRINCE by Linda Snow McLoon won for best book intended for elementary- and high-school age readers at the 56th Annual New England Book Show.

TSB is over-the-moon about CROWN PRINCE being named a winner at the 2013 New England Book Show in the category for books intended for readers in grades 1 through 12. Congratulations to author Linda Snow McLoon and artist Jennifer Brandon, who created the stunning cover image.

Linda Snow McLoon’s first two books from her all-new BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES have been hailed for their authenticity of character and accuracy of equestrian detail. Here’s what the recently released review in the June issue of School Library Journal had to say about CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED:

Gr 5-8–Ever since she began riding, Sarah has dreamed of having a horse of her own. Through a number of fortuitous circumstances, she becomes the owner of a young thoroughbred on whom a race owner has given up. Her parents feel a great deal of trepidation about such a “green” horse, but Sarah’s trainer at Bookmeade farm promises to work closely to bring Crown Prince along. The first book details their journey as Crown Prince adapts to his new life as an event horse and Sarah takes on the responsibility of helping him achieve his potential. Most of the other riders at the facility are supportive, but a few mean girls go out of their way to create problems for Sarah. Their jealousy and bad behavior escalate in the second book as Sarah and Crown Prince prepare for and participate in their first three-day event. Their actions almost end in tragedy for Sarah and her talented horse, but they triumph in the end. Sarah is a believable character with a great work ethic and determination. Her friends all have their own issues but rally around when needed. These books are solid reads for children who enjoy good stories that are authentic in their presentation of the intricacies of dealing with horses and the day-to-day lives of young equestrians as they develop their skills to compete.– Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA

CROWN PRINCE by Linda Snow McLoon was displayed with the other winning entries at the New England Book Show in early May.

CROWN PRINCE by Linda Snow McLoon was displayed with the other winning entries at the New England Book Show in early May.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are available to order from the TSB online bookstore.

Crown Prince_winnerCLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

Have a tech-friendly young reader you think might love these books? Both are available in Kindle format from Amazon.com and ePub format at ebooks.com.

Pre-Release Copies of Phillip Dutton’s New Book Available at Rolex Kentucky 2013!

A limited number of pre-release copies of Phillip Dutton's new book will be available at Rolex Kentucky!

A limited number of pre-release copies of Phillip Dutton’s new book will be available at Rolex Kentucky!

TSB is revving up for a weekend of special giveaways and opportunities to meet Phillip Dutton—12-time USEA Leading Rider of the Year and 5-time Olympian with 2 gold medals—at the 2013 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event April 25 through 28 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

We’re celebrating the publication of the new book MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON by Phillip Dutton with Amber Heintzberger. This fabulously illustrated book is the twenty-first-century rider’s go-to guide for everything you need to know about the sport of eventing, with recommendations for training, conditioning, and competing in all three phases: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

A limited number of pre-release copies of this incredible new reference will be available at Rolex Kentucky for purchase and signing by Phillip during special appearances. If you’re going to Rolex, be sure to make one of these special pre-release copies your own!

Copies of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON can be bought at the Practical Horseman booth and at Bit of Britain, both located in the Sponsor Village at the Horse Park. Book signings and opportunities to meet Phillip will happen at the Cosequin® booth, also in the Sponsor Village.

Phillip Dutton on Connaught, on their way to winning Rolex Kentucky in 2008.

Phillip Dutton on Connaught, on their way to winning Rolex Kentucky in 2008.

Stop by the Cosequin booth for exact times of Phillip’s appearances, as well as for your chance to sign up for a daily prize drawing to win a selection of TSB books and gift certificates to use at our online bookstore www.HorseandRiderBooks.com. In addition, there will be a Grand Prize drawing at the end of the event for the popular Cosequin bucket full of products, including a copy of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON and a $50 gift certificate to spend at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com.

Phillip Dutton has competed at Rolex Kentucky, the pinnacle of eventing in the United States and one of only six annual Four-Star events in the world, numerous times over the course of his career, winning the event in 2008 on Connaught. We’re excited for this year’s competition and wish all the riders and horses the best of luck.

MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON is currently available for pre-order from the TSB online bookstore (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com). Pre-ordered books will ship after the book’s official release at the end of May.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

Mark Your Calendars for the Eighth Annual Newburyport Literary Festival, Featuring TSB Author Linda Snow McLoon and Matthew Quick, author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Join TSB author Linda Snow McLoon at the Newburyport Literary Festival this month.

Join TSB author Linda Snow McLoon at the Newburyport Literary Festival this month.

Trafalgar Square Books is excited to announce that Linda Snow McLoon, author of CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, the first two books in the Brookmeade Young Riders Series, is one of the featured authors at the eighth annual Newburyport Literary Festival (NLF), which will take place on April 27, 2013, in various venues throughout downtown Newburyport, Massachusetts.

This year the NLF is honoring dozens of writers of distinguished fiction and nonfiction, including Matthew Quick, whose adult novel The Silver Linings Playbook became a hit feature film and was nominated for eight Oscars. Featured short story writers, children’s authors, biographers, nature writers, critics, screenwriters, poets, songwriters, musicians, novelists, and journalists will read, perform, and discuss their work during the event, which is free and open to the public.

“We are excited about the Children’s/Young Adult program at the 2013 Newburyport Literary Festival,” say event organizers Lucia Greene and Nancy Smith. “As always we have a diverse and interesting group of writers, artists, and storytellers.”

Downtown Newburyport--mark your calendars to visit during the NLF!

Downtown Newburyport–mark your calendars to visit during the NLF!

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, released in the Fall of 2012, have garnered praise from bestselling authors, school teachers, professional horsemen, and young readers for their believability, accuracy to equestrian detail, and lessons in horsemanship, friendship, and growing up. Linda’s books chronicle the stories of the Sarah Wagner and the racetrack rogue Crown Prince—a horse she is given but can only keep if she can transform him from troubled to trusting, from castaway to successful competitor. Along the way, readers learn about the stable-centric world of the Brookmeade Young Riders—the group of ambitious and talented teenagers vying for the coveted top spots at Brookmeade Farm.

Linda invites all young readers—those who ride, those who have always dreamed of owning their own horse, and those who just enjoy a good story full of big dreams and challenges overcome—to visit with her during the NLF. On Saturday, April 27, at 1:00 p.m. in the Newburyport Public Library Program Room (94 State Street), Linda will present a short educational program that highlights the books Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged, as well as chronicling her background in the world of horses with stories and photographs. Before and after her program, Linda will be on hand to sign books and answer questions about writing, riding, and horses.

Following Linda’s program at 1:00 p.m., NLF attendees can participate in some of the highlights of the event.

“At 2:30 p.m. on Saturday,” say Lucia and Nancy, “visitors may want to head over to the Old South Church to the Young Adult presentation by acclaimed author, Matthew Quick (Silver Linings Playbook) and Evan Roskos (Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets) to hear an honest and open discussion about mental health and the importance of art and friends in dealing with life. It promises to be a thought-provoking and positive exchange between two friends and exceptional writers.”

You can find out more about the Newburyport Literary Festival, featured authors and events for children and adults, online at http://www.newburyportliteraryfestival.org.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

CP CPC PosterWhat they’re saying about Linda Snow McLoon’s Brookmeade Young Rider’s Series:

“Get ready to fall in love with the story of Crown Prince and Sarah. Chock-a-block with accurate equestrian details, well-paced, and full of heart, the story of Sarah and her off-the-track one-dollar purchase is the story of how hard-work, determination and love for horses can make any young rider’s dream come true.” —Elizabeth Letts, author of the New York Times bestseller The Eighty Dollar Champion

“The reader will learn a lot about horses, good riding and horsemanship through these novels, but it’s part of the story, not a ‘lesson.’ I enjoyed the first book so much that I went right on to the second, and now I’m hoping the author is working on the next one!” —Susan Harris author of the U.S. Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship

“This book will appeal not only to young beginner riders but also to older and more seasoned horse lovers. Everyone will enjoy Sarah’s strong-willed determination to keep and succeed with the horse she loves.” —Practical Horseman (March 2013)

“With a myriad of horse facts written into the story, adolescent readers will find this book not only entertaining but educational as well.” —Equine Journal (April 2013)

Linda Snow McLoon was that girl who always wanted a horse of her own but had to wait until she was an adult for her dream to come true. She and her horse Bayberry competed in horse shows, dressage competitions, and horse trials. Linda taught young riders as a U.S. Pony Club Affiliate Coordinator of Instruction, and along the way bred and raced Thoroughbred racehorses. She lives in Portland, Maine. You can get in touch with Linda and find out more about the Brookmeade Young Riders Series by visiting http://www.lindasnowmcloon.com.

Check Out the “Painting Racehorse” and New Vocations Racehorse Adoption on the Today Show!

Screen shot 2013-04-09 at 10.59.25 AM

CLICK IMAGE to watch the “painting racehorse” on the Today Show!

You may have seen our previous post about Metro Meteor, the “painting racehorse,” and how his exploration of his artistic side is helping to fund New Vocations Racehorse Adoption (CLICK HERE TO READ FULL STORY).

Metro Meteor made his primetime television debut this morning as he was profiled on the Today Show (CLICK HERE TO WATCH).

Metro’s paintings have become a sensation, with a waiting list of fans. Selling for up to $500, the paintings have brought in $20,000 in the four months since Metro started producing them.

“He’s our most popular artist,” gallery owner Peggy Rock told the Today Show’s Jill Rappaport. “I just shipped one of the smaller paintings to Japan. We probably shipped to at least 20 or 30 different states. There is a real contemporary flair to them.’’

Half of the proceeds from the paintings go toward Metro’s medical bills, and the other 50 percent go to New Vocations—a wonderful program that offers retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes. The New Vocations focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. Close to 4,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception, including 429 ex-racehorses that were placed in 2011. These horses have come from 18 different states and have been adopted by families throughout the country.

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

“Metro Meteor has done more for retired racehorses than any ambassador,’’ Ron Krajewski, his owner and “artist’s assistant,” says. “He is spreading the message that you just don’t discard them when their racing careers are over. They can all do something.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch Metro and Ron painting here:

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

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

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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

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