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

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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

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

TSB Author Linda Snow McLoon Talks About Her New Fiction for Young Horse Lovers, OTTBs, and Always Having Enough Carrots

Trafalgar Square Books caught up with Linda Snow McLoon, author of an all-new fiction series for young horse lovers: THE BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES. Crown Prince and its follow-up, Crown Prince Challenged, star an off-the-track Thoroughbred named Crown Prince and a group of young riders who are best friends, jealous rivals, and aspiring competitors at Brookmeade Farm. We asked Linda about the source of her inspiration, her own experience with ex-racehorses, and to share some of the books she loved to read as a little girl.

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

TSB: Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged?

LSM: As a girl, I wanted a horse more than anything, and this led me to write the story of a girl who struggled to have a horse of her own. When I sat down at the keyboard, the Crown Prince Ouija took over, leading me to the adventures of Sarah Wagner and Crown Prince.

TSB: Have you always written fiction geared toward young adults? What precipitated this foray into writing for this age group?

LSM: I choose to write stories for all those young adults who dearly love horses.

TSB: Did you have a “Crown Prince” in your life? Can you tell us about the first horse that captured your heart?

LSM: There’s always something special about one’s first horse, and for me, that was a gray Saddlebred named Clipper that I took care of and rode when he wasn’t being used in a summer camp riding program. I’ll always remember the night I went for a moonlight ride without telling my parents and ended up with a posse out searching for me.

Linda Snow McLoon and the OTTB Gamekeeper.

TSB: Crown Prince is an off-the-track Thoroughbred—have you worked with OTTBs and if so, how did you come to make retired racehorses part of your horse life?

LSM: I’ve always loved the athleticism and sensitivity of Thoroughbred horses, and over the years, I became foster mom for many OTTBs that were beginning a new career as sport horses after racing. It always gave me a great deal of pleasure to help them make the transition.

TSB: What is it that you think readers will most identify with in terms of Sarah’s life and experiences with Crown Prince and the Young Riders?

LSM: Readers will immediately sense the deep bond between Sarah and Crown Prince. Any reader who has longed for a horse of her own will understand Sarah’s love for Crown Prince and cheer as she fights to make him her own.

TSB: What was your favorite horse book as a little girl? As a teenager?

LSM: From the time I began reading horse books, I was a huge fan of Walter Farley and his Black Stallion books. I also enjoyed Marguerite Henry’s books with their wonderful illustrations by Wesley Dennis, especially King of the Wind and Album of Horses.

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?

LSM: It would be a Thoroughbred, and I never tire of reading books by the master, Walter Farley. When I was in high school, I and a friend visited him at his family’s beach house in Venice, Florida. He was a gracious host.

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

LSM: Plenty of carrots – just in case!

TSB: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

LSM: Being close to a horse and watching his eyes soften and wrinkle in the corners as I stroke and talk softly to him.

Linda competing Bayberry cross-country.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse.

LSM: My parents were visiting friends who had horses. My sister and I got to sit on them as they were led around a riding ring.

TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse.

LSM: A horse I was riding bucked when it was stung by a bee. I remember someone saying that I looked very graceful as I floated to earth.

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

LSM: Like the Brookmeade Young Riders Series characters Sarah and Kayla, the ability to talk to each other about anything and everything.

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

LSM: I love horses that have a quality I’ll call “class,” which gives them high intelligence along with an easy-going disposition. Crown Prince is well-endowed with class!

TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback or with a horse that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?

LSM: To gallop down a hard-packed beach close to the white-capped surf with gulls swooping down – as Sarah does with Crown Prince in the second book in the series.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?

LSM: Sitting around the table with family and good friends, regardless of what’s on the menu.

TSB: What is your idea of the perfect vacation?

LSM: To ride horseback in a place with a significant historical connection, such as when I rode down England’s Wenlock Edge. Legend has it that a Royalist officer in the English Civil War, when pursued by Cromwell’s army, galloped his horse down the Wenlock Edge and lived to tell about it.

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

LSM: Abraham Lincoln

TSB: What is your motto?

LSM: Moderation in all things.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER CROWN PRINCE AND CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED NOW

And check out cover artist Jennifer Brandon’s equestrian and canine paintings and portraits!

New Books for Young Horse Lovers: HOW TO SPEAK HORSE and THE BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES

Trafalgar Square Books is thrilled to add three new books to its collection of titles specifically for young horse lovers!

HOW TO SPEAK HORSE by Andrea and Marcus Eschbach, the authors of RIDING FREE, explains basic concepts of natural horsemanship to six-to ten-year-olds. The book includes easy lessons in “horse speak,” demonstrating how horses communicate with the movement of their body, their expression, and the distance they close, maintain, or increase between them and an object or person of interest. This language is integral to understanding their behavior and how to train them—the ability to recognize fear, frustration, willingness, and happiness is important to a handler’s safety and success, on the ground and in the saddle.

HOW TO SPEAK HORSE is chock full of beautiful color photographs showing groundwork that is safe and fun for children, providing the perfect introduction to the keys to natural horsemanship and how good communication can keep you safe in everything you do with your horse.

Sample pages from HOW TO SPEAK HORSE by Andrea and Marcus Eschbach.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are the first two books in the exciting new Brookmeade Young Riders Series by Linda Snow McLoon. Readers age 10 and up are sure to fall in love with Crown Prince, the racetrack rogue who finds a new home and a second chance with Sarah Wagner, a young girl who always dreamed of a horse of her own. Sarah and Crown Prince set off on all sorts of adventures, and the author’s ability to write convincingly about horses, riding, training, and competing harkens back to the glory days of quality equestrian fiction.

“I really enjoyed the characters, the story line, and the writing, and more than anything else, the horsemanship that is woven into Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged,” says Susan Harris, Centered Riding Senior Instructor, international clinician, and author of the US Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship; Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement; Anatomy in Motion DVDs; and Grooming to Win. “I found the characters (especially Sarah Wagner), the horses, and the problems they face, believable and interesting, and the setting (a good boarding and teaching barn) authentic in today’s horse world, right down to the Jack Russell terriers. 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! I highly recommend these books!”

“Get ready to fall in love with the story of Crown Prince and Sarah,” agrees Elizabeth Letts, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Eighty Dollar Champion. “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.”

We’ll be featuring Jennifer Brandon’s paintings and prints in the months ahead.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED feature specially commissioned covers by the talented young equestrian and canine portrait artist Jennifer Brandon. Check out our profile about Jennifer by clicking HERE.

You can order all of our new books for young horse lovers at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER HOW TO SPEAK HORSE

CLICK HERE TO ORDER CROWN PRINCE AND CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

Introducing the BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES…Fiction for Young Horse Lovers, Coming Soon!!

Winston Churchill said, “There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”

Fact of the matter is, this could count for double in the world of preteens and teenagers. There’s nothing quite like horse-craziness to instill good work ethic, good sportsmanship, and a healthy body and mind…caring for, riding, and competing horses requires tired muscles, lots of time outdoors, and a willingness to be instructed, learn from mistakes, and put the well-being of another creature first.

There is no expiration date on such valuable lessons. Skills learned in the barn and on the back of a horse are as important today as they were fifty years ago.

That is why we at Trafalgar Square Books are so excited about the new BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES by Linda Snow McLoon. There’s a timelessness to the stories that speaks to all that young riders dream of, plus beautiful and challenging horses to ride, boys to like, coaches to impress, and jealous enemies to rise above.

“I really enjoyed the characters, the story line, and the writing, and more than anything else, the horsemanship that is woven into Crown Prince and Crown Prince Challenged,” says Susan Harris, Centered Riding Senior Instructor, international clinician, and author of the US Pony Club Manuals of Horsemanship; Horse Gaits, Balance and Movement; Anatomy in Motion DVDs; and Grooming to Win. “I found the characters (especially Sarah Wagner), the horses, and the problems they face, believable and interesting, and the setting (a good boarding and teaching barn) authentic in today’s horse world, right down to the Jack Russell terriers. 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! I highly recommend these books!”

Are you ready to meet the cast of characters in the BROOKMEADE YOUNG RIDERS SERIES? We’ll let the author, Linda Snow McLoon, introduce you:

Brookmeade Farm riders are proud to have former Olympic rider, Jack O’Brien, head up the farm’s lesson program, and his students recognize that even though he makes them work hard, his instruction produces amazing results. The people who ride in his most advanced class, the Young Riders class, include:

Sarah Wagner is a slim girl with dark hair and long-lashed dark eyes who, in her lessons at Brookmeade Farm, has shown she’s a strong natural rider. Being somewhat shy and lacking in self-confidence, Sarah often depends on her best friend, Kayla Romano, to speak up for her. Sarah’s family can’t provide her with a horse of her own, but she can still dream. While her classmates all have their own horses, Sarah rides school horses in her lessons.

Kayla Romano has a chestnut Quarter Horse, Fanfare, whose red coat closely matches Kayla’s own hair color. Kayla isn’t hopeful she can attract a boyfriend until she sheds a few pounds, which she thinks would also improve her riding. Kayla and her mare trailer to Brookmeade for weekly lessons in the advanced Young Riders class and compete at local horse shows.

Paige Romano is a knock-out, with deep violet eyes, a clear complexion, and gorgeous blond hair. Her ever-present sense of humor makes her popular both at school and at Brookmeade Farm, where she rides her dappled gray Thoroughbred, Quarry, in the Young Riders class. Being competitive in nature, Paige is determined to train Quarry to be a successful event horse.

Tim Dixon, who dates Paige and also rides in the Young Riders class, found his horse, Rhodes Scholar, in Canada. Tim is a good-looking guy, tall, with intelligent brown eyes, and any number of girls at the farm and at school would like to trade places with Paige. Tim works hard to prepare his bay gelding to compete at events and horse shows.

Rounding out the Young Riders class is Rita Snyder, the girl who has everything. That includes her splendid black Dutch Warmblood, Chancellor, and a number of other horses that reside on her wealthy father’s estate. With long dark hair and intense green eyes, Rita is an excellent rider who brings out Chancellor’s best in both dressage and jumping – and Rita doesn’t let anyone forget it! She expects her horse to outshine all others, and she feels threatened when there’s a chance he won’t be clearly superior.

Get ready to follow along with the Young Riders as they experience all kinds of adventures in CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, now available for preorder at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

And be sure to check out author Linda Snow McLoon’s website http://www.lindasnowmcloon.com.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER CROWN PRINCE

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

Thoroughbreds in Dressage in the NYT–Reminding Us All of Their Great Potential as Equine Athletes…As Well as the Great Benefits of Dressage Training

On June 15, “The Rail” horse-racing blogger Leslie Knauf described how two sports perhaps perceived far apart on the equestrian spectrum—racing and dressage—have in fact long been interwoven.

“The highly contained nature of dressage,” Knauf writes, “with its collection and extension of the horse’s three gaits — walk, trot and canter — within a relatively small arena would appear to be the antithesis of racing — galloping at top speed around a vast oval — but its fundamental principles of rhythm, looseness, contact, impulsion, straightness and collection can provide a solid foundation for all forms of equestrian sports, including racing, where it already has had Triple Crown implications.”

This was news to me! Sure, I know the stories of ex-racehorses that have gone on to successful dressage careers, even at the highest levels (of course most notably Hilda Gurney’s Olympic mount Keen). But has dressage actually been used to prepare a Thoroughbred for competition on the track?

Knauf goes on to explain: “More than 35 years ago, the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was a gangly, unraced 2-year-old with significant coordination and conformational issues. Paula Turner, then the wife of Seattle Slew’s trainer Billy Turner, reportedly used her previous training and competitive experience in dressage and three-day eventing to help Seattle Slew develop the impulsion and self-carriage the young colt needed to overcome his physical challenges as he embarked on his career as a racehorse.”

It would appear the 1970s were the heyday for this dressage-racing integration! And with the winning examples provided, it certainly appears to have been a formula that worked.

I do think that there is today more awareness regarding the need for retraining those Thoroughbreds that do not “make it” as racehorses for one reason or another. Programs such as New Vocations Racehorse Adoption, directed by TSB author Anna Ford, go to great lengths to prepare these horses for the new homes and new “jobs” that can secure them a long and healthy future. (Anna Ford’s book BEYOND THE TRACK is a wonderful resource for those considering adoption of an off-the-track Thoroughbred.)

However, it would seem that there are also great possibilities for racing trainers to more actively incorporate dressage principles as they prepare young stock for the track. This kind of “cross-training” is surely not so farfetched as it seems.

Perhaps Leslie Knauf’s point, made toward the end of her New York Times’ piece, should be more boldly stated, and yes, repeated: “…the paradigm for racehorse training already is starting to shift toward incorporating fundamentals of other competitive horse sports, including dressage, as part of their racing training, which promises the potential for an even brighter future for racing’s most important players. The odds are heavily in favor of all involved — especially the horses — coming out as winners.”

—Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

Kentucky-Derby-Winning Owner’s Rant Against Drugs in US Horse Racing Reminds Us of the Need to Conscientiously Transition Off-the-Track Thoroughbreds to a Life “Off” Steroids

Barry Irwin's vocal criticism of trends in US racehorse training reminds us of what we need to do to ease a transition to a drug-free life when Thoroughbreds retire.

It was with keen interest I scanned the piece in the New York Times yesterday on Team Valor International chief Barry Irwin’s blunt criticism of US Thoroughbred trainers. “At the heart of Irwin’s broad swipe at trainers,” writes Joe Drape, “was the use of medication — drugs given to keep horses running, to make them run faster, to make them run through pain or infirmity.”

Legislation has only just been introduced to limit the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of flat racing, and the United States is admittedly behind the times when it comes to control of these substances. “Major players in the industry have acknowledged that medication rules in the United States are out of step with Europe, Hong Kong and Australia, where horse racing thrives,” says Draper, “and that it is time for a significant overhaul.”

The issue first came to my attention when I worked on our TSB book for transitioning and retraining “retired” Thoroughbreds—BEYOND THE TRACK by Anna Morgan Ford (Program Director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption) with equine journalist and photographer Amber Heintzberger. In the chapter on common lameness and health issues seen in OTTBs, Ford and Heintzberger included a section on the aftereffects of anabolic steroids, as they can remain in a horse’s system for months even after administration has ceased, and negative side effects can last a year or even longer. It is of the utmost importance that those adopting retired racehorses or providing foster homes prior to finding them permanent living situations be aware of this issue and manage the OTTB carefully until enough time has passed for the horse to no longer feel the steroids’ effects.

According to Ford, there are several things you can do to ease an ex-racehorse’s transition to a life “off” steroids:

1  Quickly, but strategically, incorporate regular turnout in the horse’s life (a mild sedative may be necessary for the first few sessions), and if possible, introduce a confident, friendly same-sex turnout companion that remains the same for several months.

2  Handle any horse coming off steroids as you would a stallion—be extremely conscious of basic safety measures when grooming, handling, and working around him/her in the stall, and use a chain over the nose when leading.

3  Be sure to adjust the horse’s diet so he/she is consuming enough calories to gain weight as he/she loses the extra muscling associated with steroid use.

4  Above all, be patient and give the horse lots of time to withdraw from the drugs gently.

BEYOND THE TRACK, the book Liz Harris—former Executive Director of Thoroughbred Charities of America and current Vice President and Executive Director of Churchill Downs Incorporated—called “breakthrough racehorse literature” and “the ultimate in training manuals for anyone thinking about adopting an ex-racehorse,” is available at the TSB bookstore, where shipping in the United States is always FREE.