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Denny Emerson is a USEA Hall-of-Fame Inductee, one of the Chronicle of the Horse’s 50 Most Influential Horsemen of the 20th Century, and author of HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD. Here he helps us celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the publication of CENTERED RIDING with this Sally Swift memory:

 

“Late April in Vermont can be chilly, grey, and still winter-like, and April 21, 1978, was just such a day.

“Sally Swift had driven up to Strafford, Vermont, from Brattleboro, that morning to teach a full schedule of lessons in our indoor ring. As usual, her bubbling enthusiasm had made each successive set a little later, and it was getting dark and decidedly cold by the time Sally finished up and came down to our house for a cup of tea before heading the 90 miles home.

“She walked into the house, beamed that broad infectious smile, and announced, ‘What a wonderful way to have just spent my 65th birthday!’

“At a point in her life when many people are retiring or slowing down, Sally’s teaching and writing career was just gearing up, with the huge phenomenon we now know as ‘Centered Riding’ still in the future.”

 

Share your own CENTERED RIDING  memories and “aha” moments online and tag them #CenteredRiding30! And remember, all CENTERED RIDING books and DVDs are 30% off, the entire month of November.

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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PatriotFilly

Huntington Farm of South Strafford, Vermont, is just over two hills and across a river from the TSB offices. We’ve ridden there, competed there, worked there, filmed DVDs and photographed books there. It is a beautiful spot in the quintessential Vermont valley, and in the spring, it is customary to plan a roundabout drive just to catch view of all the babies frolicking in board-fenced fields.

With all the Pre-Superbowl Playoff Fever in the New England air this week, reporter Jack Thurston of NECN paid a visit to Huntington Farm, where a filly named “Patriot Girl” regularly takes charge of the colts. Click below to watch the fun clip that aired last night:

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW VIDEO

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW VIDEO

Deb Dean-Smith has been a model rider in TSB books over the years—be sure to check out Jane Savoie’s excellent DRESSAGE 101: THE ULTIMATE SOURCE OF DRESSAGE BASICS IN A LANGUAGE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE

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The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

The winter sun rises over the TSB warehouse in Vermont.

As we wrap another year in the Trafalgar Square Books offices here in Vermont, it feels good to pause and look back at the results of our hard work, as well as ponder the things we learned about horses and horsemanship over the last 12 months.

We take great pride in our authors and in the horse books and DVDs we have published and released over the years—now over 600 titles. Here, at a glance, are the new books and DVDs we added in 2014:

 

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

Click the image above to get a quick review of the TSB 2014 books and DVDs.

 

3-Minute Horsemanship

by Vanessa Bee (January)

The Riding Horse Repair Manual

by Doug Payne (March)

Games for Kids on Horseback

by Gabriele Karcher (April)

Centered Riding 2 Paperback Edition

by Sally Swift (April)

Good Horse, Bad Habits

by Heather Smith Thomas (April)

Dressage Solutions

by Arthur Kottas-Heldenberg (May)

The Riding Doctor

by Dr. Beth Glosten (June)

Building a Life Together—You and Your Horse

by Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon (June)

Collective Remarks

by Anne Gribbons (July)

Creative Dressage Schooling

by Julia Kohl (September)

When Two Spines Align:Dressage Dynamics 

by Beth Baumert (September)

Kids Riding with Confidence

by Andrea and Markus Eschbach (October)

Success through Cavaletti-Training DVD 

by Ingrid Klimke (November)

5-Minute Fixes to Improve Your Riding DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

5-Minute Jumping Fixes DVD

by Wendy Murdoch (November)

Beyond Horse Massage Wall Charts

by Jim Masterson (November)

The Art of Liberty Training for Horses

by Jonathan Field (December)

Rider+Horse=1

by Eckart Meyners, Hannes Muller, and Kerstin Niemann (December)

 

Trafalgar Square Books (www.HorseandRiderBooks.com) is the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs. CLICK HERE to visit our online storefront or DOWNLOAD OUR NEWEST CATALOG.

 

Have a wonderful, safe, joy-filled New Year!

–The TSB Staff, North Pomfret, Vermont

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Join Trafalgar Square Books in making a donation to help support the 23 horses seized from a Woodstock farm last week.

Join Trafalgar Square Books in making a donation to help support the 23 horses seized from a Woodstock farm last week.

 

On Thursday, November 13, twenty-three Arabian horses were seized from a farm in Woodstock, Vermont, where they were found in dark stalls, standing in several feet of manure, emaciated and eating the wooden doors and siding of the stable in a feeble attempt to sustain themselves. The horses are currently housed on the grounds of Green Mountain Horse Association in South Woodstock, where veterinarians and volunteers are working with the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society to nurse them back to health in the hopes that most of them will go on to find new homes and better lives.

The Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is in desperate need of assistance in supporting this effort. Please join Trafalgar Square Books in making a donation–they are seeking monetary aid, volunteers to help care for and handle the horses, as well as feed and bedding.

For details on how you can help CLICK HERE.

We all have so much to be thankful for…let’s join together to pay it forward and give these deserving horses full meals, clean stalls, and kind hands.

CLICK HERE TO HELP NOW

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TSB joins The Homes for Horses Coalition in helping a local equine rescue on Make A Difference Day.

TSB joins The Homes for Horses Coalition in helping a local equine rescue on Make A Difference Day.

 

The Homes for Horses Coalition, representing over 300 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the United States, is urging anyone with an interest in horses to volunteer at a local horse rescue facility during the 25th annual Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of community service.

Initiated in 1990, Make A Difference Day encourages Americans to devote time and talent to helping others by doing volunteer work in the community, and millions of citizens participate in community improvement projects of almost every sort including building, painting, repairing, and clean-up.

“Rescues strive daily to effect positive change for at-risk equines in their communities, and they are so often in need of help with short-term labor intensive projects,” says Cindy Gendron, the Coordinator of the Homes for Horses Coalition.  “A committed group working hard for one day can make a huge difference by completing necessary tasks, such as fence repair, building shelters to protect horses from the elements or putting up hay for the winter.”

You can also provide invaluable help by checking out a rescue group’s wish list, shopping for needed items, or making a monetary donation as Trafalgar Square Books is doing for our local Vermont rescue The Hooved Animal Sanctuary (www.hooved.org).

“We are always in need financial help and have several new animals in need of vet and farrier work,” says Deborah Deschamps Baker of the Hooved Animal Sanctuary in Chelsea, Vermont. “Most of our local rescues are full to capacity. I am  receiving 4 to 5 calls weekly from people wanting to give us their horses along with 2 to 3 calls a week with abuse complaints. The Hooved Animal Sanctuary’s Humane Agents investigate all large animal complaints for Orange County and assist other counties when needed. All the daily care and work at the Sanctuary is done with the help of volunteers. Our Humane Agents are also trained volunteers. All donations go to the feed and care of the horses.”

You can make a donation to The Hooved Animal Sanctuary, or volunteer to help, by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

To find horse rescue in your area, visit the Homes for Horses Coalition website (www.homesforhorses.org) and click on the member page, where you will find contact information for rescues listed by state.

Help a horse…horses help us in so many ways.

 

MakeDiffDay

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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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Color is coming to the VT hills...here Rob the Quarter Horse looks over the town of Woodstock.

Color is coming to the VT hills…here Rob the Quarter Horse looks over the town of Woodstock.

It’s official: kids are back in school and for those of us in the northern regions of the riding world, temperatures are dropping, horses are friskier in the morning, and jackets have once again become a necessity.

It was a great summer of riding though, right? Whether you’ve had a busy competition schedule or just lots of time on the trails, here are three ways you can spend some quality time with your horse while taking care of him, taking care of yourself, and taking a little breather in between seasons:

 

1 Take Care of Your Horse

The range of motion in your horse’s forelimbs becomes restricted when the muscles that are responsible for moving the front legs forward and backward accumulate tension and are unable to release. Releasing this tension allows the horse to step out further and leads to a more fluid and extended gait. At the end of a long riding season, you can release accumulated tension in your horse’s front end with these easy exercise from BEYOND HORSE MASSAGE by Jim Masterson.

  • Stand at the horse’s left shoulder, facing forward.
  • Pick up the horse’s left foot.
  • Rest the horse’s ankle in your right hand and place your left hand on the horse’s knee.
  • Allow the horse to relax the leg and shoulder as much as he is able.
  • Slowly guide the leg down and back, straightening the leg and lowering the foot as you go.
  • Encourage the horse to rest in this position as long as he can by keeping your hand on the leg or foot.

 

2  Take Care of Yourself

Like our horses, after a summer of riding, we can actually experience limited mobility in our hips and excessive contractions in our adductor muscles. We can reverse the resulting “clothespin effect” with a simple yoga pose called Happy Baby from YOGA FOR EQUESTRIANS by Linda Benedik and Veronica Wirth.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Take a few breaths and feel your spine contact the floor. Exhale and bring your knees up toward your chest.
  • Extend your arms along the inside of your legs, taking hold of the arches of your feet with your hands. Open your knees and drop your thighs to the sides of your torso. Bring your shins perpendicular to the ground, the soles of your feet facing the sky.
  • As you exhale, feel your sacrum, shoulders, and knees drop down into the floor. Bring your attention to your hips; let them relax. Let go with each breath. Relax into this stretch and hold for at least four deep breaths.
  • Release your feet and slowly bring them back down to the floor.

 

3  Take a Little Breather

We don’t always need to climb on board our horses to spend quality time with them. Sometimes, just a quite hour hand-grazing can be the best team-building exercise there is. Another idea is trying your hand at Wild Agility, as Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club describes in THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK.

“Wild Agility is an enormously companionable thing to do,” she says. “Friends and I go off with our lunch in backpacks and with our dogs and horses—and just travel….These are golden times for us: The dogs, humans and horses all seem content as we move along with all the time in the world.”

All you need for Wild Agility is a halter and a lead rope, and an afternoon to “play.” Move across country at whatever speed suits you, playing with obstacles and challenges along the way: jump ditches, logs, and banks; weave through woods and trees; pass under low branches; cross streams, swim in lakes…you name it!

TSB Managing Director Martha Cook enjoys end of summer on Buster, her Morgan.

TSB Managing Director Martha Cook enjoys end of summer on Buster, her Morgan.

However you choose to spend the first weekend after the unofficial “end of summer,” we at TSB hope it is with your horse, and it brings both of you relaxation, friendship, and hope for the autumn ahead.

You can find all the books mentioned in this post, and many more, at the TSB online bookstore. CLICK HERE TO VISIT NOW.

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