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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.

 

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“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.

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As we prepare for the Run for the Roses tomorrow, May 2, 2015, many are considering which horse to choose as the next great-hearted champion of the historic Churchill Downs. One very familiar to this subject is Kerry Thomas, creator of the Thomas Herding Technique and co-author of HORSE PROFILING with Calvin Carter. Kerry has consistently named top finishers in the Derby using his technique of “profiling” the field and determining each horse’s “emotional conformation.”

Kerry has developed what he calls the “P-Type” grading system, which assigns letter grades according to a horse’s instinctual tendencies (basic and acquired), and his ability to handle environmental stimuli while in motion. This has become a valuable means for analyzing racing potential for obvious reasons, but it also resonates in other equine sports, as it can help you the best methods of choosing a discipline or training a particular horse (see more about this concept in HORSE PROFILING).

Click image to read the article about TSB author Kerry Thomas in the Wall Street Journal.

Click image to read the article about TSB author Kerry Thomas in the Wall Street Journal.

 

To access Kerry’s picks for the 2015 Kentucky Derby, CLICK HERE to visit Brisnet.com. You can also listen to Kerry and his THT associate Pete Denk discuss this year’s Derby field on Twin Spires Radio (CLICK HERE).

In addition, HORSE PROFILING co-author Calvin Carter, founder of Classic Champion Thoroughbreds, discusses this year’s Derby contenders on a pedigree-by-pedigree basis, as well as with consideration of past performances, on his blog: CLICK HERE.

 

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

John Strassburger, Performance Editor of Horse Journal, says: “[HORSE PROFILING] will help you unravel your equine athlete’s personality and needs, so you can evaluate your horse’s ’emotional conformation,’ which the author Kerry Thomas calls the real indicator of a horse’s ability…no question as to why his work has been called ‘groundbreaking.'”

HORSE PROFILING is available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

George Mallet is something of a local celebrity to those of us who live and work in Vermont. Our WPTZ News Channel 5 anchor offers a familiar and comforting presence as he counsels us on the day’s occurrences from our television, computer, or mobile device.

But for those of us at TSB, there’s something important that sets George apart from other news personalities: He’s a horseman. And his horse of choice is an off-the-track Thoroughbred.

In 2005, George was working as a television reporter in Philadelphia when he heard that a grandson of Secretariat had been born in Pennsylvania’s Chester County, and he decided to chronicle the little colt’s arrival. While George’s crew took photographs for the story, the colt—named Brahma Fear—pressed up against George’s leg.

“I scratched the distinctive Secretariat white star on his forehead,” George writes in his October 2010 article in the Journal Sentinel. “…A paternal instinct overtook me as I stood in that lush Pennsylvania paddock. I was a goner.”

George followed the trajectory of Brahma Fear’s racing career, and as is the case with so many young Thoroughbreds, by the summer of 2009, Brahma was losing cheap claiming races. In August that same year, George found himself writing a check and handing it to the colt’s trainer.

“I paid more for my laptop computer than I paid for a grandson of the legendary Secretariat,” he writes.

It isn’t often we can so clearly see how a single, fleeting moment can change the course of a life—or of lives—forever. But in the now intertwined stories of George and Brahma, there’s nowhere else to look but at that tender exchange of touch and pressure, the briefest of communications between species, in a spring pasture.

We love that George rediscovered a childhood interest in horses late in his life, taking up riding only after he traced the faint pattern of hair on an as yet unknown colt’s forehead. It speaks to the most romantic of hearts that he then kept tabs on the young Thoroughbred’s whereabouts…the horse’s starts and finishes, his victories and losses. And we can’t help but fall a little bit in love with how it all turned out.

“Sometimes I marvel at how lucky I was to end up with Brahma,” says George. “I really knew nothing when I grabbed him off the track. I only had the memory of meeting him as a foal and just ‘melting’ when he pressed up against me. When I did that story on his birth, I wasn’t even riding yet. I broke all the rules. Green riders aren’t supposed to adopt green-broke thoroughbred racehorses. Yet somehow I ended up with a remarkably calm, smart, and appreciative thoroughbred pal!”

A true OTTB success story! Check out more about George and Brahma in this great video from Seven Days:

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books is proud of its own OTTB success story: In the books CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, young Sarah Wagner rescues a rogue racehorse and then must find a way to keep him, against all odds. Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the exciting new Brookmeade Young Riders Series:

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 stroke it gently. His coat felt like sleek satin. He turned his head toward her, seeming to know she meant him no harm…

“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 his ears. She felt like she’d known this horse forever.

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

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

You can meet Linda Snow McLoon, the author of the Brookmeade Young Riders Series, on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at a special presentation sponsored by the Granby Public Library and the Granby Pony Club, in Granby, Connecticut. Click here for more information on this event.

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Thoroughbred pedigree analyst Calvin Carter with the book he coauthored with equine sport psychology pioneer Kerry Thomas.

Thoroughbred pedigree analyst Calvin Carter with the book he coauthored with equine sport psychology pioneer Kerry Thomas.

Calvin Carter, coauthor with equine athletic psychology pioneer Kerry Thomas of HORSE PROFILING: THE SECRET TO MOTIVATING EQUINE ATHLETES has long studied pedigree and blood stock. It was 2009 when he attended a Derby Trial race at Churchill Downs and met Kerry—they hit it off from their first meeting. Kerry wanted to write a book about his extensive research and study into the emotional conformation and herd dynamics of racehorses. Calvin, with a degree in English and journalism and a background as a writer, believed strongly in Kerry’s techniques.

“Calvin Carter is not only a true friend to me and the horse, he is also among the most talented writers and researchers that I know,” says Kerry. “I am thrilled to have written a book about my research and work, and prouder still that Calvin has blessed my work with his talented eye and honest character.”

Calvin talks about his work with Kerry, as well as his own business—Thoroughbred pedigree analysis—in a new feature article in IU Southeast magazine. Click the image below to read the whole story:

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Click the image to read the full feature story about Calvin Carter and his method of picking winning equine performers.

 

 

HORSE PROFILING is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO READ A FREE EXCERPT (Find the red download link on the right side of the page.)

What they’re saying about HORSE PROFILING:

“Work such as Kerry’s that addresses getting results while still putting the horse first—a holistic approach between mind and body, spirit and science…is much needed at this time. I am sure that this book will be an eye-opener for many, and I pray that it fulfills its promise and contributes toward bringing horses and humans together in ever more successful and fulfilling ways.”  —HRH Princess Alia al Hussein/Princess Alia Foundation

“The wonderful thing that Kerry has done for serious students of the horse is to provide a way of measuring dimensions of the horse that we only had a ‘gut’ feeling about in the past. Certainly this kind of ‘sixth sense’ has been well developed by a rare handful of horsemen—seasoned horsemen who have a real sensitivity for understanding all aspects that make up a horse and his mind, body, and spirit. Now, thanks to Kerry’s insightful research, we can all actually begin to understand and measure, if necessary, the mind, emotions, and ‘spirit’ of the horse—what makes him ‘tick’ beyond simple physical athleticism.”  —Lester J. Buckley, Buckleysporthorses.com

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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.

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Horse-Profiling-250TSB was pleased to read the following new review of HORSE PROFILING by Kerry Thomas and Calvin Carter:

“Basic instinct can never be removed or altered entirely as it represents the horse’s survival mechanism.”

As a pioneer in the field of Equine Athletic Psychology, Kerry Thomas—aided by Calvin L. Carter, a pedigree analyst and freelance writer— sets forth his theories and training programs in Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes. The work will benefit horse owners, trainers, and equine teams in their goals of bringing out the best in their already talented horses.

The informative book begins with the author’s introduction to his philosophies. He then lays out each section with specific techniques and how to implement them. This includes setting up an Emotional Conformation Profile of the horse. When problematic behavior is found, the author explains how to nurture a frightened or depressed horse, or one with a deep-rooted negative memory association. Thomas relates stories and case book studies that keep the text interesting. Interspersed throughout are Q and A sections called “Kerry’s Corner” which provide solutions for particular cases.

Over 100 candid, color photos of beautiful horseflesh tell their own stories. We learn about a racehorse who was an expert in “managing outside stimuli…to target and release opponents”—Barbaro, 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. It’s inspiring to find out which horses had physical defects but were aided with a champion’s heart and the will to win: Real Quiet, Looking at Lucky, Sunday Silence, Seattle Slew and Northern Dancer. The last story in this well-written, technical and yet entertaining volume is about Seabiscuit, the 1938 Horse of the Year.

Along with vital information for professional horse handlers, this beautiful over-sized teaching guide will equally appeal to all lovers of horses. The book will stimulate interest in young people who will thrill to the adventures and pictures. They just may identify and follow through with a lifetime focus on a fulfilling career.

Mary Popham is a writer and book reviewer who lives in Louisville. She holds an MFA from Spalding University.  

HORSE PROFILING is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

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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

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