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Posts Tagged ‘The Compassionate Equestrian’

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Photo by Keron Psillas from The Alchemy of Dressage by Dominique Barbier and Dr. Maria Katsamanis

In almost every book we publish, we invite our authors to include a page of acknowledgments; this is their chance to thank those who may have had a hand in their careers or the making of their books. While it isn’t every day that we look back through to see who they’ve thanked over the years, it seems appropriate on this blustery, cold, Vermont afternoon, the day before Thanksgiving 2016. As might be imagined, there is one resounding theme that emerges…have a look at some of the words of gratitude TSB authors have put in print. If your book was about to be published, who would YOU thank?

 

“They say success has a thousand fathers—I thank from the bottom of my heart all those who have taken an extra minute out of their day to help me down my path.” Jonathan Field in THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES

“Thanks go out to every horse I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege of riding…they’ve taught me the importance of caring, patience, understanding, selflessness, and hard work.” Daniel Stewart in PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING

 

TSB author Jonathan Field with his family and "Hal."

TSB author Jonathan Field with his family and “Hal.”

 

“Most of all my greatest thanks go to Secret, the horse who has taught me so much—she is a horse in a million.” Vanessa Bee in 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP

“We owe the greatest depths of gratitude to the horses.” Phillip Dutton in MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON

“Thank you, Santa, for bringing the pony when I was little.” Jean Abernethy in THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE

“Thank you to my partner and wife Conley, without whose moral support and inspiration I would be sitting on a tailgate by the side of the road holding a cardboard sign that reads, ‘Will work on horses for food.'” Jim Masterson in BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE

 

TSB author Linda Tellington-Jones.

TSB author Linda Tellington-Jones.

 

“Thank you to my beloved parents. You were so wonderful to let me chart a path with horses, which you knew nothing about.” Lynn Palm in THE RIDER’S GUIDE TO REAL COLLECTION

“I thank my beloved equine partners—my most important teachers.” Dr. Beth Glosten in THE RIDING DOCTOR

“Thank you to all my wonderful students and friends for always being there.” Jane Savoie in IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS

“I really need to honor the people who have invited me to work with them and the horses that have allowed me to be with, ride, and train them over the decades. I have learned some things from books, but most from the people and horses I train.” Heather Sansom in FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS!

“I give thanks for all the horses over the years who have taught me so much.” Linda Tellington-Jones in THE ULTIMATE HORSE BEHAVIOR AND TRAINING BOOK

“I am grateful for all my teachers, two-legged, four-legged, and winged, for all they have taught me through their own journeys.” Dr. Allen Schoen in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN

“Thank you to every horse that came my way over the past 45 years. Each one had lessons to teach me.” Susan Gordon in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN

“I want to thank my parents who finally gave in to the passionate desire of a small child who wanted a horse.” Heather Smith Thomas in GOOD HORSE, BAD HABITS

“Most of all, thank you to all the horses.” Sharon Wilsie in HORSE SPEAK

 

TSB author Dr. Allen Schoen.

TSB author Dr. Allen Schoen.

 

“I am extremely thankful to all of the horses in my life. I would not have accomplished so much without them. The horses have been my greatest teachers!” Anne Kursinski in ANNE KURSINSKI’S RIDING & JUMPING CLINIC

“I need to thank all the horses.” Sgt. Rick Pelicano in BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF

“Thank you to students and riders who share my passion in looking deeper into the horse and into themselves.” Dominique Barbier in THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS

“Thanks go to the many horses that have come into my life. You give me great happiness, humility, and sometimes peace; you always challenge me to become more than I am, and you make my life whole.” Andrea Monsarrat Waldo in BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS

 

And thank YOU, our readers and fellow horsemen, who are always striving to learn and grow in and out of the saddle, for the good of the horse.

Wishing a very happy and safe Thanksgiving to all!

The Trafalgar Square Books Staff

 

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

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One of the best perks of working for an equestrian book publisher (assuming you are just the littlest bit horsey) is the constant immersion in equine-related theory, philosophy, and how-to. There is so much opportunity to absorb the ideas of great horsepeople and to try their techniques and methods for oneself—or to come to understand their intentional lack thereof (yes, that happens, too). Because really, if I’ve learned anything in this job, it’s that there isn’t just one main highway to our destination. There are many, less traveled, circuitous back roads, and finding them, and being willing to venture down them to see where they go—that is the true journey of horse and human.

Here are 10 important lessons from some of TSB’s top authors:

 

10  When there’s not enough time, do 10 to 15 minutes of liberty.

“Many people don’t get to their horse in a day because they feel it is too big a task to gear up for,” says horseman Jonathan Field in his book THE ART OF LIBERTY TRAINING FOR HORSES. “So they don’t do anything. Short and fun liberty sessions can bring you out to your horse more often. You will be amazed at how your horse starts to meet you at the gate.”

 

9  Our own riding fitness enables the horse to perform what we ask of him.

“The way a rider uses her body greatly impacts the way the horse is enabled or blocked from using his,” explains certified personal trainer and riding coach Heather Sansom in FIT TO RIDE IN 9 WEEKS! “The relationship is biomechanical….both species can impact one another. This is why the rider’s role of leadership through physical contact is so important, and why a rider who is fit for the task can ride better—and with greater resilience or prevention of injury.”

 

8  Sometimes, don’t ask for anything.

“The horse follows you with a lowered head and filled with a spirit of freedom…the result of your not asking for anything, just being, even if only for a fleeting moment,” writes renowned horseman Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling in THE MESSAGE FROM THE HORSE. “To be devoted without asking for devotion in return, to be friendly without demanding friendship…that is when the horse can give us trust and closeness.”

 

TSB author Jonathan Field. Photo by Robin Duncan.

TSB author Jonathan Field. Photo by Robin Duncan.

 

7  Control your emotions.

“Try not to go overboard,” recommends Grand Prix dressage rider Yvonne Barteau in THE DRESSAGE HORSE MANIFESTO. “Don’t gush, fuss, and fiddle about…Be quiet, polite, and still, inside and out. Clear your head and self from all that troubles you, and give your horse your undivided attention.”

 

6  Invest in self-kindness.

“When you miss a lead change in a pattern or test or forget to schedule the farrier before your horse throws a shoe,” explains author and horsewoman Melinda Folse in RIDING THROUGH THICK & THIN, “extend to yourself the same warmth and understanding you would to a close friend who has suffered a setback….If you’re not enjoying yourself, you’ll probably struggle with riding to your true potential.”

 

5  Use all your senses to observe and explore your horse’s body.

“Be on the alert for symptoms such as body soreness, uneven gait, a tight neck, a sour attitude, explosive or resistant behavior, stocking up, and pinned ears,” writes equine expert Linda Tellington-Jones in DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL. “All of these problems, and others, can be avoided by alternating your training schedule with trail riding, ground driving, or other types of cross-training…expand your training routine, and keep your horse interested and engaged in his work.”

 

TSB author Yvonne Barteau. Photo by FireandEarthPhoto.com.

TSB author Yvonne Barteau. Photo by FireandEarthPhoto.com.

 

4  When it comes to the show ring, be flexible.

“One of the risks of competition is becoming so focused on achieving success that you miss the signs that your partner is unhappy,” says psychotherapist and riding instructor Andrea Waldo in BRAIN TRAINING FOR RIDERS. “Horses have different rates of development and different levels of stress tolerance. Just because one horse is ready for a particular level at age five doesn’t mean that the next horse will automatically do the same. Some horses can show every weekend without a problem, but some horses need to compete less often.”

 

3  Be okay with “eventually.”

“Everything moves so fast in our modern world,” say horse trainer Susan Gordon and veterinary pioneer Dr. Allen Schoen in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN. “Our expectation is to get instant results. Creatures of low technology, such as our animals, suffer the most for our desire to have everything happen in a virtual instant. On one hand, you need a quick, flexible mind to respond to a horse’s instinctive prey-animal tendencies during training, but it is also important to understand the value of repeating those responses with a lot of patience and consistency.”

 

2  Use dynamic friction instead of static friction.

“Whereas static friction relies primarily on force, mass, and energy to first stick an object before moving it,” writes world-renowned horseman Mark Rashid in JOURNEY TO SOFTNESS, “dynamic friction relies on establishing subtle movement first, then adding energy to build on that movement…establish contact with the horse, followed by the development of subtle movement to establish a flow of direction, and finally put the proper amount of speed into that flow so as to accomplish the desired task.”

 

1  Be willing to have a two-way conversation.

“When you are truly in a dialogue, you can never predict how a horse will answer you on any given day,” explains Sharon Wilsie in her groundbreaking book HORSE SPEAK. “Many of you value your relationship with your horse as much as you value his performance. Deeper bonds of friendship will blossom as you show your horse you are willing to listen and learn his language instead of just expecting him to respond to yours.”

 

 

For more information about any of these books, CLICK HERE to visit the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

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

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The Trafalgar Square Books offices are located on a Vermont farm. We recognize ourselves as pretty lucky, seeing as in between meetings and calls with authors we can look out the windows and see both horses and Highland Cattle grazing in the green fields that slope up from the barn where our books and DVDs are warehoused toward the treeline in the distance. There is something about seeing, hearing, and breathing horses throughout each work day that is integral to our mission of publishing books “for the good of the horse.”

A few equine members of the “TSB herd” are boarders, a few are training projects and in active work, and then there are a number of “retirees” that are allowed the freedom to roam, pretty much as they wish, in quiet companionship. The horses begin and end their days close to the barn, with paddocks and run-ins directly below our office windows, so we all form relationships of proximity with them—and we know their habits and rituals. We watch them eat breakfast and wander down to the stream for a drink. We see them play in the snow and nap in the sun. We notice how they relate to their pasturemates, the naughty pony, the cranky geese. We think of them all with affection, even though they are not ours to ride, train, or care for.

This past spring, we experienced a farm event that was profoundly moving; one that brought us all together, inspiring discussion and bringing questions to the fore that we had not yet dealt with directly as a collective group.

One morning, the barn manager arrived early in the morning to do chores and found one of the “old fellas,” a Quarter Horse gelding thought to be near 30 years old, in his pasture, unable to move and clearly in severe pain. The veterinarian was immediately called, and upon her arrival she determined the horse had broken his shoulder somehow during the night—a catastrophic accident without obvious cause. The decision was made to euthanize him without delay.

The gelding had long been turned out with two other pensioners, as had been arranged by a charitable owner. All three retirees had lived together contentedly as a small herd with little human interference for a number of years. As the veterinarian attended to the stricken gelding, one of his pasturemates startled her by coming over and lying down beside them, facing the injured horse, and remaining there as the old Quarter Horse took his last breaths. It was uncharacteristic of the companion to approach his pasturemate in such a fashion, and it was especially unusual, seeing as three people were present during the procedure.

The gelding’s owner wished to come say goodbye before his burial, so his body was not moved right away. Remarkably, the companion by his side remained, and when he did rise, it was only to change position before lying down beside his fallen comrade once again. The third horse in their little herd had also joined them, standing nearby, quietly, for quite some time.

The barn manager took a photograph of the scene, not to be macabre but to share what appears to us, at least by our human interpretation, to be the dead horse’s herd holding vigil over a friend’s body.

 

horse group

 

We are all horse people at Trafalgar Square Books, and as we are learning more about horses as sentient beings and the necessity of ensuring that compassion underlies all that we do with them, this incident moved us all distinctly. We discussed it with each other, and in relation to our own horses, and how the event might affect decisions we make on and around horses in the future. We also shared it with a number of our authors, asking for their thoughts and insight.

“Personally, I feel that we have gone to an extreme with our fear of ‘anthropomorphizing’ human behaviors onto animals,” said Dr. Allen Schoen, who recently co-authored THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN with Susan Gordon. “The more we understand the commonality of neuroscience between species, especially mammalian species, the more we can appreciate that animals do grieve in their own way. I have seen this many times personally and have discussed this in my other books Love, Miracles and Animal Healing and Kindred Spirits. We see evidence of this in elephants and many other species. I have seen it in geese, sitting by the side of the road next to their mates who had been killed by a car. I feel it is time that we honor the sentience, the awareness, the consciousness of horses, and their awareness and sensitivity to the death of their companions, as well.”

“Horses use their entire bodies to communicate with each other,” explained Sharon Wilsie, co-author of HORSE SPEAK with Gretchen Vogel. “During the course of a day there are several primary conversations that they may have with each other when out in a herd. One of their favorite conversations is simply called, ‘sharing space.’ To our eyes horses who are sharing space together may seem to be doing nothing more than dozing in the sun or standing around doing nothing. However, once you understand the significance of sharing space you will begin to see the inherent bonding and peacefulness that they are participating in at that moment. When a herd member passes away, sharing space with the departed is the most affectionate and connecting conversation that the living can have, not only with the one who has passed away, but also with each other and inside themselves.

“Although we can only guess at what grief may feel like for a horse it is easy to feel the power of their hearts as they stand guard over the grave of a loved one. Those of us who have been around animals long enough will probably have experienced a horse lingering near the burial site of one who has crossed over that rainbow bridge. Unlike humans who can easily find distraction from our emotional pain, horses live in the present moment and experience the fullness of all of life, including the passing of another that might have been special to them.

“Living in the moment is not always easy for us,” says Sharon. “Perhaps that is why being with horses can feel so healing to our minds, hearts, and souls. Taking a page from their book of life may do us some good in facing what can be a very sad time for us. We, too, can mourn with the dignity, grace, and fullness that horses demonstrate so flawlessly.”

–Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

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LTJBookClub

World-renowned authority on animal behavior and creator of the Tellington Method Linda Tellington-Jones invites members of the public to join her and her popular Online Book Club for a conversation with Dr. Allen Schoen about compassion’s role when working with animals, and much, much more.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Schoen for close to 20 years,” says Linda. “He’s been on our veterinary advisory board for Tellington TTouch Training and we co-taught a workshop together in the late 1980s—sharing our modalities with horses and dogs—he with his holistic, integrative veterinary approach and I with Tellington TTouch.

“With his new book he is once again laying a fresh trail. THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN offers new possibilities to the thoughtful horse owner.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 3.47.16 PMOn Wednesday, March 23, 2016, from 6:00-7:00 pm PT (9:00-10:00 pm ET), you can be part of this revolutionary discussion. You do not have to have read THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN to participate and learn from this extraordinary meeting of two of the world’s most exciting advocates for equine welfare. The Book Club meeting is free and open to all.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/849145520

Or iPhone one-tap: 16465588656,849145520# or 14086380968,849145520#

Or Telephone: Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 849 145 520

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=UwSFoJWg-SZrbkunk0wS385C33H4xNo6

 

“I love this book! I believe the Compassionate Equestrian concept is a perfectly presented foundation to support our aim to attain a new level of relationship with the horse. At Equitana in Germany this year we celebrated my 40 years of teaching the Tellington Method around the world, and I was asked what my goal is for the next 20 years. Well, my goal is to increase acceptance of recognizing each horse’s individuality so that more people learn to ride, compete, and work with the horse, coming from a place of compassion and understanding.

“THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN is a wonderful, wonderful book that helps show just how more of us can join together to spread this message. I love the authors’ 25 Principles as they give us such clear guideposts as we take steps toward a future where science merges with spirituality. I think it is just brilliant!” —Linda Tellington-Jones, Internationally Acclaimed Authority on Animal Behavior, Author, and Founder of The Tellington Method

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There’s been something missing from the news in general of late (and if your life is anything like mine, you can’t seem to escape that constant flow of “what’s happening”…all day, every day, yesterday, today, tomorrow). The problem is, it seems the “what’s happening” is all pretty dark, pretty frightening, pretty fractious, pretty upsetting. If you dig deep below the fold, you might find a story that dares flirt with sunshine, but that takes effort your weary self might just not have on tap.

Of course, there is a ripple effect to take into account here, too. Our glowering brow impacts everyone we come into contact with in the course of a day. Our frustration spreads faster than this year’s norovirus. Our anxiety transfers with a worried look or concerned cough. And not just to people—our mood wreaks havoc on our horses.

Over the past few years, TSB has published several books that highlight the importance of manning our mental ship and preparing ourselves emotionally in order to interact with our horses in a fair, calm, and positive way: Linda Tellington-Jones’ DRESSAGE FOR MIND, BODY & SOUL; Dr. Allen Schoen and Susan Gordon’s THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN; and Dominique Barbier and Dr. Maria Katsamanis’ THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS.

“I think joy is the most important ingredient in everything we do, say, share, and experience in this world,” writes classical dressage master Dominique Barbier in THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS. “We see so many people who are so serious about things all the time. And it’s like the seriousness, the worry, the guilt—all that ‘fear stuff’—is killing the very essence of what they want to accomplish.

“Joy is a product of love, which is one of the two emotions I’ve described as having a direct impact on our riding. Joy and love are thus, in effect, the same. When we are happy and able to give happiness to others, transmitting our joy and love to our horses and to other people, we experience what has to be one of the most powerful feelings known to man.

“Constant perseverance means that we need to be dedicated to joy and the ‘giving’ of happiness to others. We need to make an effort, a constant effort. It is so easy to get up in the morning and find 500 good reasons not to be happy. We have only one real reason to be happy, and that is that we want to be happy. Therefore, we need to ‘practice happiness.’ We need to ‘practice joy.’ And we need to constantly remind ourselves to constantly be in that state of joy.

Click image to order.

Click image to order.

“There is always, in life, some kind of serious situation going on. There are some moments when we must see the ‘true face of life,’ and sometimes it is not very enjoyable. But I think that at the end of the day we have to count our happy moments and be satisfied. (Our horses will love us for it!)

“We have to make a decision about the ‘Happiness Factor’ before our day starts: Are we going to the ‘Depressing World’ or the ‘Happy World’? There are a lot of happy things, joyful things, happening all around us. Just the simple act of putting smiles on our faces can produce many smiles in the people we meet each day. A smile goes a long way.

“Remember, our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. We need to free ourselves from confirmed ego and from destructive emotions. This is the best thing we can do for ourselves and others. This is the best thing we can do for our horses.”

 

If you, too, hunger for the “Happy World,” you can make the Happiness Factor work for you. It is easy enough to take the first steps recommended by all the authors mentioned in this post: smile and breathe…and go spend time with your horse.

 

THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE to download a free chapter.

 

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

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Each year, as we flip the last pages of December in anticipation for the beginning of January, we at TSB take some time to pause and consider the books we published over the past months. Not only does this process provide an important review of content in preparation for future titles, it also gets us excited, all over again, about the new riding, training, and horse-care skills and techniques our fabulous equestrian authors have shared. In 2015, we tapped the deep well of mindfulness, honed our grooming abilities, and viewed the dressage horse from the inside-out. We found new ways to improve our horses’ confidence and attention, in and out of the ring, had burning questions answered by top judges, and discovered new pursuits that make kindness with our horses and others the goal and guiding principle. We found reasons to ride light, think deeply, laugh, and be thankful for our lives with horses.

We look forward to bring you more top-notch horse books and DVDs in the New Year—until then, here’s the roll-call of TSB equestrian titles for 2015:

 

TrainRidewConesPoles-300TRAINING AND RIDING WITH CONES AND POLES (March) by Sigrid Schope is a spiral-bound handbook with over 40 exercises intended to improve your horse’s focus and response to the aids while sharpening your timing and accuracy. Who hasn’t looked for ways to spice up ringwork and keep his/her horse interested in schooling circles? Here’s the answer, whether you’re practicing on your own in the ring or teaching lessons.

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GALLOP TO FREEDOM (Paperback reprint—March) by training superstars Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado. TSB was the first to bring you thoughts on training and working with the original stars of the international hit show Cavalia, publishing their book back in 2009. The continued value in this storied couple’s work meant that six years later, it was time to release the bestseller anew in paperback.

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WORLD-CLASS GROOMING FOR HORSES (April) by professional grooms Cat Hill and Emma Ford with over 1200 color photographs by professional photographer Jessica Dailey. A bestseller before it was released, this unparalleled photo reference gives every horse owner the tips and tools he/she needs to keep horses in tip-top condition, looking and feeling their best, in and out of the show ring.

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THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN (May) by renowned veterinarian and author Dr. Allen Schoen and trainer Susan Gordon provides 25 principles each of us should live by when caring for and working with horses. Using personal stories and current scientific research, the two write convincingly of the need for an industry-wide movement to develop deeper compassion for not only the horses, but the people, as well.

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THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED (June) by Masterson Method founder and author of BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE Jim Masterson and dressage rider Coralie Hughes. Jim and Coralie team up with Grand Prix dressage rider Betsy Steiner and creator of Anatomy in Motion Visible Horse and Visible Rider Susan Harris to demonstrate how the muscular and skeletal structure of the horse work in dressage movements. Then Jim provides specific techniques from his popular form of bodywork to alleviate stress and improve performance.

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DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY (July) by FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy. This easy-to-use reference is a follow-up to Janet’s incredibly popular DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, featuring the most common questions she has received over the years. Janet tells it how it is, and includes plenty of her own stories from the road to keep us laughing while learning.

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OVER, UNDER, THROUGH: OBSTACLE TRAINING FOR HORSES (September) by Vanessa Bee, author of the bestselling HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP. Vanessa has made a name for herself as a terrific educator, delivering superior and thoughtful training techniques in bite-size chunks. OVER, UNDER, THROUGH doesn’t disappoint, with loads of step-by-step photographs and useful lessons for meeting everyday challenges with your horse in a positive manner that guarantees success.

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COWBOY DRESSAGE (September) by Jessica Black with Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy. Jessica teams up with the founders of Cowboy Dressage to trace the origin of the movement to the present day, then taps Eitan’s expertise to provide readers the basics they need to get started in the pursuit of “kindness as the goal and guiding principle.” Eitan and Debbie describe Cowboy Dressage as a lifestyle rather than a sport, and the book mirrors that mission, inspiring us with beautiful photographs and honest ideals.

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THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE (October) by artist Jean Abernethy. Fergus the Horse is a social media celebrity with well over 300,000 Facebook fans. This treasury of his greatest hits features comics from past print publications as well as those that have made the rounds online—and in addition, 25 never-seen-before cartoons. Jean also shares a little about her rise as an illustrator and the backstory that explains the birth of her famous cartoon horse.

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THE MESSAGE FROM THE HORSE (October) by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling. The world knows Klaus from his bestselling books and DVDs, including DANCING WITH HORSES and WHAT HORSES REVEAL. Over 10 years ago, he detailed his own story in the form of an autobiographical narrative, detailing his discovery of how to be with and learn from horses, as well as how to apply what they teach him to his life as a whole. Now this story is in English for the first time.

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BALANCE IN MOVEMENT (Paperback reprint—November) by Susanne von Dietze. A perennial bestseller, demand for the book led to us bringing it out in a fresh format, ready to introduce a new generation of riders to Susanne’s sensible lessons in horse and rider biomechanics.

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RIDING THROUGH THICK AND THIN (November) by Melinda Folse. Melinda’s last book THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES gained her an enthusiastic following of readers who appreciate her big-sisterly swagger and humor. This new book is the culmination of years of research, providing us all guideposts for riding and being with horses, whatever we look like. Melinda’s goal is to give our body image a boost, and she provides countless proactive ways for us to take a good look in the mirror and finally like what we see.

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BASIC TRAINING OF THE YOUNG HORSE (Third Edition—December) by Ingrid and Reiner Klimke. It’s the Klimkes’ classic text, refreshed with new photos of Ingrid on her top horses. Need we say more?

 

For more about these 2015 horse books, and our complete list of top equestrian books and DVDs, visit our website www.horseandriderbooks.com.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of horse books and DVDs for 30 years, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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Susan Gordon is a lifelong horsewoman and trainer, and co-author of the new book THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN with one of the pioneers of the integrative approach to veterinary medicine, Dr. Allen Schoen. On this 30th day of the month of November, Gordon helps us say a final few words about the 30th Anniversary of the publication of TSB’s first horse book: CENTERED RIDING.

“It was really ahead of its time,” Gordon says about CENTERED RIDING. Listen to her other thoughts on CENTERED RIDING and Sally Swift, the innovative mind behind the book and the movement, in this short video clip:

 

 

At TSB, we’re saying a final “Hurrah!” to our 30th Anniversary by offering 30% off our bestselling horse books and DVDs, now through December 3, 2015. Don’t miss this chance for great deals in our sitewide sale, plus get FREE SHIPPING in the US!

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs for 30 years, is a small business located on a farm in rural Vermont.

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We’re packed and ready to head to Springfield, Massachusetts, for EA 2015. Join TSB this Thursday-Sunday, November 12-15, at the Eastern States Exposition, for fabulous clinics from top trainers, riders, and equine experts, as well as a terrific pre-holiday shopping experience. Stop by the TSB booth #846-847 in the Better Living Center for our perennial bestsellers like CENTERED RIDING by Sally Swift (which we published 30 years ago!); brand new titles, such as THE ESSENTIAL FERGUS THE HORSE, COWBOY DRESSAGE, and THE MESSAGE FROM THE HORSE; and great show specials like contests, sales, and a limited supply of TSB exclusive Fergus the Horse coffee mugs!

We’re thrilled to be there, along with six of our authors who are featured clinicians:

Dan James, one half of the famous Double Dan Horsemanship training duo and co-author of the forthcoming LONG-REINING WITH DOUBLE DAN HORSEMANSHIP, has clinics Saturday, November 14, at 9:30 am (Mallary South) and 4:15 pm (Coliseum), plus Sunday, November 15, at 11:15 am and 3:45 pm (both in the Coliseum).

 

Phillip Dutton, five-time Olympian with two gold medals and author of MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON with Amber Heintzberger, has clinics Saturday at 9:30 am and 1:15 pm, and Sunday at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm (all in the Coliseum), plus an “Ask the Expert” session at 4:00 pm on Saturday on the Seminar Stage in the Better Living Center.

Meet Phillip Dutton in person at the TSB booth #846-847 in the Better Living Center on Sunday at 2:00 pm! He’ll be answering questions and signing books.

 

Bernie Traurig, celebrated jumper rider and horseman, and creator of THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM DVD SERIES, has a talk Thursday, November 12, at 10:00 am (Equine Fundamentals Forum/Mallary South), and clinics Thursday at 1:15 pm and 5:15 pm, and Friday, November 13, at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm (all in the Coliseum), plus an “Ask the Expert” session at 5:00 pm on Friday on the Seminar Stage in the Better Living Center.

 

Susan Harris, co-creator of ANATOMY IN MOTION: THE VISIBLE HORSE and THE VISIBLE RIDER DVDS, and artist contributor to THE DRESSAGE HORSE OPTIMIZED by Jim Masterson and Coralie Hughes, is presenting Friday at 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm, Saturday at 12:30 pm and 6:00 pm (all in the Young Arena), and Saturday at 3:00 pm (Demo Ring/Mallary North).

 

Dr. Joyce Harman, veterinarian and saddle-fitting expert, and author of THE HORSE’S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK, is presenting Thursday at 2:00 pm (Seminar Stage/Better Living Center) and 5:00 pm (Demo Ring/Mallary North), and on Friday at 1:00 pm (Demo Ring/Mallary North) and 11:00 am and 6:00 pm (both on the Seminar Stage/Better Living Center). On Saturday she speaks at 10:00 am at the Equine Fundamentals Forum (Mallary South).

 

Dr. Allen Schoen, pioneer in integrative veterinary medicine and co-author of THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN with Susan Gordon, speaks on Saturday at 1:00 pm (Demo Ring/Mallary North) and on Sunday at 10:00 am (Seminar Stage/Better Living Center).

Meet Dr. Allen Schoen in person at the TSB booth #846-847 in the Better Living Center on Saturday at 2:00 pm and Sunday at 11:00 am! He’ll be answering questions and signing books.

 

We look forward to seeing you at Equine Affaire this weekend!

 

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

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Yesterday TSB officially released THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN by renowned veterinarian Dr. Allen Schoen—author of Love, Miracles, and Animal Healing and Kindred Spirits—and horse trainer Susan Gordon. Already the book has been heralded as “ahead of its time,” “ground-breaking,” and “paradigm-shifting.” Dr. Schoen and Gordon believe that a community of compassionate equestrians can positively influence society on many levels, and in THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN they explore the simple changes any horseperson can make that can ultimately have a vast impact, not only on the state of the horse industry, but on the world as a whole.

Watch this short interview with Dr. Schoen and Susan Gordon to learn more:

This week, we caught up with Susan Gordon and asked her a little about what led her to write THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN with Dr. Schoen.

TSB author Susan Gordon, surrounded by puppies.

TSB author Susan Gordon, surrounded by puppies.

TSB: You grew up an animal lover. When and how did you first discover you had a special bond with animals?

SG: My mom encouraged pets in the home, whereas Dad was a little more reluctant…Mom won out, and from as early an age as I can remember we had an eclectic menagerie of all kinds of animals. Our Border Collie, Duffy, had puppies when I was about three years old, and my favorite photos and memories are with that dog and her pups. I was literally “swarmed” by Border Collie puppies! At the same time, I loved my cat, Smoky, as well.

I also had a pet Bantam rooster when I was six. Dad had won him at a business conference and he became one of my closest companions. He traveled in the car with us and slept by my bedside.

As soon as I discovered pony rides in the city park, I was hooked on horses too. Mom seemed to notice that I had a special bond with animals from the time I was a toddler, and often referred to me as “different”—in a most affectionate way, of course.

TSB: Your passion for animals in general translated into a love of horses. When did you know you wanted to be a professional horse trainer when you “grew up”?

SG: I got my first horse when I was 12 years old. She was used as a packhorse and did some ranch work, so she wasn’t exactly show-ring material. I had friends who rode jumpers and entered competitions but realized my own horse wasn’t going to be anything like theirs. I began reading horse books and magazines, like the Farnam series on training and Horse & Rider magazine.

My first inclination was to be a zoologist, as I loved science and my microscope. Unfortunately, back in the 1970s, girls weren’t encouraged to gravitate toward careers in science, and there wasn’t much guidance in the school system to mete out my desires enough to translate them into a concrete program of study. We also moved a lot due to Dad’s career with an oil company. By the time I reached high school, my grades slipped from straight-As to Bs and Cs, and I realized I wouldn’t have enough credits to attend university. Looking back, it would have only taken one good guidance counselor or tutor to resolve the problem. But I turned my focus to horse training instead of a degree program.

I had my Appaloosa filly at a well-known Quarter Horse show barn and eventually, at the tender age of 17, became president of their on-site riding club. I was hired to ride and show other people’s horses and really connected with the world of professional training and showing at that time. Then Spruce Meadows started coming to our schooling shows, and I was completely mesmerized by the gigantic Hanoverian jumpers that floated around our indoor courses. By Grade 12, I dropped my dreams of becoming a zoologist and dove into a job in advertising to support boarding my horses at the stunning, now-famous show jumping venue. Still riding as a junior at the time, I knew I was far too young to embark on a full-time horse-training career, but that became my primary focus while I worked my way up to professional-quality riding and training.

Susan with her Appaloosa at Spruce Meadows in the 1970s.

Susan with her Appaloosa at Spruce Meadows in the 1970s.

Q: You spent many years transitioning ex-racehorses from life on the track to life as a riding horse. What did you find most challenging about working with OTTBs? Most rewarding?

SG:  I had married the assistant trainer at Spruce Meadows, who was an eventing trainer, and he had a Thoroughbred. The bay gelding was exceptionally well schooled, and I loved the “power-up” feel he gave me over a fence. My sister-in-law trained racehorses and used basic dressage schooling to help them run optimally on the track, so I got a lot of advice from her as well on how to handle them.

My first OTTB project was a very touchy chestnut mare, Rol Eden’s Alee (Ali) that had been used as a working cow horse, somewhat unsuccessfully, and the cowboys had given up on her. She was so hot she would bounce up and down, switching leads every other step, stiff as a board, and in a perpetual state of stress.

My husband also gave up on her after we took her over, as she just couldn’t slow down. She probably went through a grid (series of jumps) faster than any other horse I’ve ever seen! Ali was really the catalyst that finally propelled me into a full-time professional career. We got along great, and I won almost every jumper class I entered on her. Needless to say, very fast jump-offs with tight turns became our forte!

Ali taught me to be 100 percent focused on my horse, which is a skill I brought to every other OTTB and other horses since that time. If I twitched a muscle, or turned my head, or even took in a breath suddenly, she would react.

From that horse onward, I found that every OTTB had his own special quirks and needs, so each one was a learning experience. I love those horses! They really made me into the kind of rider that could mount up, figure out a horse, and get him to soften, go forward, and jump around a schooling arena or show course in a matter of minutes. I also had the good fortune of being around other great riders who rode OTTBs with wonderful style and finesse. That helped a lot.

Susan Gordon and her OTTB

Susan Gordon and her OTTB “Ali.”

TSB: In your new book THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN, co-written with Dr. Allen Schoen, you mention eventually becoming disillusioned with the world of professional training and competing. Can you describe some of the reasons you felt you had to step away from the industry?

SG: That is a relatively long list, but reason Number One was probably because of the many horses that came through our barn that could not pass a pre-purchase veterinary exam. Young, old, OTTB, Warmblood…it didn’t matter. There were so many issues it was becoming ridiculous. I watched client after client try to find a nice horse for themselves, only to find there was something that would “kill” the sale. It was very disheartening.

People would bring horses to the sales barn and not disclose the horse’s full history,or not realize that the horse’s “behavior” problems were actually related to pain. Sometimes the pain was primary, but often secondary issues had cropped up long after initial traumas, or they would be inherent, and therefore progressive.

Then, once we moved further into the age of computers, internet, and cellphones, everybody seemed to be dashing around in a rush, too busy and too distracted to focus on their horses in the way that is most conducive to their well-being. Even living in a tiny town, known for its more New-Agey, spiritual population, the day I noticed teenagers texting each other from one barn to the other only 100 feet away, I knew that life had changed dramatically, and in a very short period of time, for all of us, including the horses. It became very difficult to get riders to spend enough time working on the aspects of horsemanship that would be most conducive to their training progress, and that of their horses.

By 2009, I decided to retire from full-time training and turned my attention to figuring out what I would need to do to try to help bring some balance back into the equine industry, primarily for the sake of equine welfare. Apparently a lot of other “old-timers” were seeing the same issues as there has since been a big push by regulating bodies to improve on welfare policies.

TSB: In THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN, you share the story of Willie, a down-on-his-luck Hanoverian that brought you back to horses after some time away. If you could pass along one message that you learned from Willie to others, what would it be?

SG: In the book we talk about conceiving of a Life Cycle Management Policy for every horse, which I believe could effectively help keep many more horses from ending up in the dire situation in which Willie found himself. It’s a new concept for horse owners, but hopefully after reading THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN and understanding that Willie represents thousands of horses in similar scenarios, and some much worse, we can enact new policies that will allow horses to reach the conclusion of their lives with respect and dignity.

TSB: THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN provides 25 Principles intended to help people become more thoughtful, patient, kind, and compassionate in their dealings not only with horses, but with the riders, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, farriers, and others we come into contact with each day. What do you and Dr. Schoen hope will be the lasting effect of the 25 Principles and the ideas you describe in your book?

SG: I would love it if people could walk into their barns knowing that it is indeed a sanctuary of peace, understanding and cooperation. People want to have a good experience in a place that houses their beloved horses, and they don’t want to be mistreated by other people they encounter at the facility.

Many horse owners work long hours at other jobs or have stressful lives outside of the barns. If everyone could take a few deep breaths and spend some quiet time with themselves before entering the barn, we can hopefully begin the kind of paradigm shift that will encourage people to spend more time with their horses, and also bring up a new generation of horse lovers who are compassionate from the get-go, that will take “compassionate horse-energy” back out into the world for all beings.

There are many factors that go into creating a cooperative facility, and Dr. Schoen and I both decided that compassion would be at the foundation of those directives.

Susan Gordon and Dr. Allen Schoen, coauthors of THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN.

Susan Gordon and Dr. Allen Schoen, coauthors of THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN.

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

SG: It was on one of the little Shetlands in Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park, circa 1964. They went round and round on the carousel-like wheel they were attached to. I can still hear the tiny western saddle creaking and recall looking down at a mass of fuzzy blonde mane below my gaze. I didn’t want to get off.

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

SG: I was mortified. My barely-broke Appaloosa filly was always a little tricky to mount, but unfortunately, this particular day was the one and only day my Grandma came to watch me ride.

I put a foot in the stirrup, and as I was swinging my leg across the Western saddle, Missy blew up. I landed hard on my back and was too frightened to attempt a remount.

Mom was visibly disturbed, but didn’t have much to say. I do recall Grandma speaking out in her strong Ukrainian accent, however, noting, “Horse no good. You sell-it horse. Put ad ‘na paper.”

I had to swallow my pride and put one of the barn’s trainers on Missy who could ride out a bucking horse. I actually kept her until we had a number of shows under our belt, and she was safe for others to ride.

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

SG: Somebody with a genuine sense of humor.

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

SG: Interest. My best horses have been more interested in people than in what other horses are doing. They watch you intently with bright eyes and seem to want to be with you. And it’s not just food-related!

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

SG: Vaulting. It is so pretty to watch, although requires gymnastic training, so I’d have to do a pared-down version and maybe just draw on my ballroom dance background. I’m not that flexible!

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?

SG: Now that I’m “older” I want a pony! Or, close to a pony. My choice would be a Haflinger or other stocky, but small breed, known for its soundness and good temperament. As for a book, well, I might be biased now, but I can’t help but enjoy reading my own book, THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN. Maybe that’s a good thing?! The stories help bring back many happy memories, and I think if you’re all alone, that’s a pleasant way to stay sane.

TSB: What is your motto?

SG: If you want to accomplish something, do it. See it, be specific, and take action.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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Catherine Violet Hubbard loved all creatures—she did not discriminate. She told her family that when she grew up, she was going to take care of the animals. She even created business cards for “Catherine’s Animal Shelter” and appointed herself “Care Taker.”

Tragically, Catherine was one of the first graders taken from us in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.

In lieu of flowers, it was asked that donations in her memory go to The Animal Center, a local, volunteer-staffed, nonprofit group that rescues animals. The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation was started with these first funds and is now working to build the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which will provide a loving, nurturing environment for all animals in need of a home.

Every year, Catherine would ask for an “All the Animals Animal Party.” So on Saturday, June 6, 2015, from 12 to 4 p.m., please join others gathered in memory of one young girl’s love for animals: Catherine’s Butterfly Party is a family event open to the public. It will feature an adoption event with the ASPCA, Mayor’s Alliance, and ARF Mobile Adoption Units as well as local rescue organizations. In addition, Dr. Allen Schoen, author of the new TSB book THE COMPASSIONATE EQUESTRIAN, will be visiting with attendees and signing copies of his books in the Beval Saddlery booth across from the ASPCA Mobile Adoption Unit. The Audubon Center at Bent of the River, Magic Wings Butterfly Conservancy, the Exceptional Pet, and UConn Department of Invasive Plants, among others will also host educational exhibits and demonstrations.

Homegrown Arts will offer nature based craft projects for kids of all ages, face painting, tattoos, balloon twisters, and live music will add to the celebration.

All proceeds benefit the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

Please join Dr. Schoen and others to support this wonderful cause and help make a young girl’s dream of caring for animals come true.

For more information about the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary and to find out how else you can help, click here.

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