Monday, December 31, 2007

Ride Pennsylvania Trails!

I met Carolyn Cook at an open house for a tack shop in Pennsylvania in 2004 when my first horse book, "Beloved School Horses," came out. She was selling her book, "Ride Pennsylvania Horse Trails - Part I, The Eastern Half of Pennsylvania." In 2005, Part II, the Western Half was released.

These are comprehensive guidebooks that are perfect for anyone wanting to explore the commonwealth's picturesque trail system. Carolyn includes interesting introductions - she was engaged to John Spotts, a fellow trail rider, in Part I and their unique wedding (yes, on horseback!) is described in Part II. She also includes information about the differences between the state forests, parks and gamelands etc.

Details about each trail system include: an overview and personal comments; fee and permit info; who to contact for maps; interesting historical background; and directions and parking info. For emergencies, there is a list of local stables, vets and blacksmiths.

The books come complete with black and white photographs and some breathtaking color shots. Carolyn personally rode each of the trail systems she wrote about - 47 in Part I and 37 in Part II, and that doesn't include the branches with different names!

My favorite part of the book is in the back - the Bloopers! Hysterical photos with comments in Part I and a Bloopers Recap in Part II.

These books are terrific "reference points for the assortment of trails in Pennsylvania."

Visit to order or learn more.

Happy Trails!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Holidays!

On Saturday, December 15th, I was invited to do a book signing at Winning Edge Tack Shop in Ocala, Florida, near where we are spending the winter. I was pleased to have a couple of great gals who I had interviewed for stories in my Beloved Sport Horses join me at the event. That's Jeanne McDonald, breeder of Gypsy Vanner Horses, on the left and Denise Hopkins, a trick horse trainer, on the right. Many thanks to them and Winning Edge for their support!

I am planning a fundraiser for make A Wish Foundation involving ten special editions of Beloved Sport Horses. More on that in my next Blog!

I recently finished reading the first three novels by Dick Francis. They were all in one paperback - very handy!

Dead Cert, Nerve and For Kicks are wonderful mystery stories with each protagonist being a different but fascinating steeplechase jockey in England. The stable settings, racing scenes and equine personalities are very realistic despite that all three novels were written in the early 1960's! If you have never read a Dick Francis novel, I suggest you find one to get lost in; I've never been disappointed by them! There are two certainties with Dick Francis - they are always written in first person and are always set with a racing background, or at least have horses in them. My favorite scene? When the hero in For Kicks jumps on a racehorse bareback and gallops cross country trying to avoid being killed!

Next review will feature trail riding in Pennsylvania by Carolyn Cook.
Have a wonderful and peaceful Holiday Season!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More Info On Beloved Sport Horses!

This weekend, Bob and I are visiting our son, Josh, in Philadelphia and I met with my publisher, Infinity Publishing, as well since they are located in nearby West Conshahocken. I reviewed the proof book and it goes to press next week. So, book orders will be mailed just after Thanksgiving!

Above is the front and back covers for the book.

To give you a preview of the stories, here is the Table of Contents:

Chapter Rider & Horse
1 Striving For Excellence - Katie Prudent & Belladonna, Grand Prix Jumper
2 A Second Career With Cutting Horses - Pat McCanlies & Ruth and Freckles, QHs
3 Unleashing the Fire - Tony Bencivenga & Bardstown, TB Racehorse
4 Legacy of a Gentleman - Mary Alice Malone & Roemer, Dressage & Show Jumper
5 Finding a Soul Mate - Jill Norair & Blue Diamond, Hunter Horse
6 Mr. Ed-Ucation ™, the Reading Horse - Carole Fletcher & Mr. Ed-Ucation ™, Paint
7 Liberty in a Small Package - Kay Burnett & Patrick, Miniature Horse
8 Reaching Goals - Tracy Magness & Paul Harvey, Show Jumper
9 The Comeback of a Polo Pony - Dixon Stroud & 158, Polo Pony
10 A Performing Athlete - Lynn Palm & My Royal Lark, Quarter Horse
11 A Big Hearted Quarter Horse - Sarah Gentry & Docacoo, Cutting Horse
12 The Reluctant Racehorse - Denise Hopkins & Cleve Kadiddlehopper, Trick Horse
13 Second Chances - Ginny Harrison & King Art, Standardbred
14 New Techniques - Karen Orloff-Yesko & Indy, Dressage Horse
15 Healer of the Heart - Patti Pasda & Mr. B, Pleasure Horse
16 Young Rider With Big Dreams - Madison Bloom & Pepper, Short Stirrup Pony
17 Deer in the Headlights - Diane Dancer & Jerry, Amateur Owner Jumper
18 Overcoming the Fear of Falling - Frank Barnett & Big John, Hunter Horse
19 Learning to Trust - Christina Wright & Bravoh, Eventer
20 Having Vision on Dollar - Brittney Holland & Dollar, Barrel Racer

21 The Horse No One Wanted - Cinder Hamer & Dance, Hunter Horse
22 Double Duty - Christy Clagett & Perfect To A Tee, Foxhunter
23 A College Addiction - Shelby Clark & Bently, Oldenburg Warmblood
24 Lasting Friendship - Stacy Swedar & Gotcha, Pleasure Horse
25 Riding Through the Pain - Amy Stegman & Killian, Eventer
26 A Love For Speed - Monica Lalama & Fanny Mae, Barrel Racer
27 A Ranger Foundation Horse - Chesley Simmons & Dots, Appaloosa
28 Preserving a Rare Breed - Jeanne McDonald & Balaclava, Gypsy Vanner Horse
29 The Greatest Memories - Alexa Dixon & Cashmere, Equitation Horse

Through the end of December, shipping is FREE!

To place an order, e-mail me at with your snail mail address and who to sign the book(s) to. Mail a check for $14.95 per book with your order to:
Sharon Miner
512 Northampton St.
Edwardsville, PA 18704

Books will be sent promptly!
Questions? Call me at: 814-937-0704.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do Horses Shiver?

Winter Care For Horses

"Do horses shiver?"

I was asked that question yesterday during a book signing at Dover Saddlery in Chantilly, Virginia. My table was set up by the door and a woman came in and began a discussion about winter care for horses after I had said hello. I explained that I didn't work there, that I was a guest author doing a book signing, but she seemed concerned about her horses, so we chatted.

"Yes, horses shiver when cold," I said. "Just like people and dogs, when they need to warm their body, they shiver."

We recently have had freezing nights here in northern Virginia, and the previous day had that uncomfortable 40 degree rain. Her horse had come in that morning shivering.

I explained how you need to feed horses more grain and hay when the weather is bad, or any other time they burn more calories - such as sweating in the summer or after a hard work-out. She asked about blankets for horses but I told her that unless the horse has been clipped, their own coat is usually sufficient as long as they have shelter. Horses who show, fox hunt or participate in other sports during the colder months are often clipped so that they will cool down easier. Then, they need sheets or blankets to stay warm. She had an aged horse that had his winter coat but she wanted more for him. I deferred her to a sales person to ask about blankets for her horse.

The gelding above - Blue Diamond who I care for - has a "trace clip." The horse behind him, Teddy, has a full body clip and so wears a sheet during the winter in Ocala when the temps dip below 55.

There are several ways to body clip the horse and here I will suggest reading (and having on-hand) the book, "Grooming To Win," by Susan E. Harris. She includes a chapter on Trimming and Clipping, and displays illustrations with the types of clips. Very handy!

If your horse is losing weight during the winter, make sure his nutritional needs are met for the type of weather you have, or else he loses his body fat to stay warm. Check with a vet, too, so that you are confident that your sweetheart is being properly fed. When fall shots are due, that is a good time to ask your vet.

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My New Book - Beloved Sport Horses

Beloved Sport Horses

My latest book will make a wonderful gift for horse and animal lovers of all ages. Olympic Show Jumper, Katie Prudent of Plain Bay Farm in Middleburg, Virginia, is featured on the cover and in the first chapter. The story, "Striving For Excellence," is about how she survived brain surgery and with the help of a special mare named Belladonna, won seven cars and a million dollars in the Grand Prix ring. Before retiring, Belladonna also aided Katie's son, Adam, succeed in the Junior Division.

Like the first two books, Beloved Sport Horses is a collection of true short stories about 30 horses and the unique bonds between them and their riders as they compete in a variety of disciplines. Photographs, rather than illustrations, are included in this edition.

Read about Pat from Texas and her cutting horse, Freckles. Pat learned the art of cutting when in her fifties. Two decades later, she is still competing - she states she'd rather fall off a horse than a rocking chair!

Read about Lynn Palm, a renowned trainer from Florida, and her horse, My Royal Lark, as the pair perform at Equine Affaire and other exhibitions.

Learn how the successful horse trainer, Frank, overcame his fear of falling while jumping when he was a teenager.

And then there is Jill and her soul mate, Blue Diamond - the pair was hit by a truck and survived. Currently, Jill shows on the "A" Hunter/Jumper circuit while Blue enjoys retirement.

As the young rider, Alexa, states, the greatest memories are not always made in the show ring, but during the journey to get there.

There are stories about Western horses, a polo pony, a Miniature Horse Champion, a fox hunter and even trick horses!

The anecdotes are funny, amazing and inspirational.

To order a personally signed copy, visit my Web site at

SHIPPING IS FREE THROUGH THE END OF DECEMBER! Just mention that you read about my book on my blog.

Next time, I'll review another equine author's book.

If you have any suggestions, please e-mail me!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Read Any Good Horse Books Lately?


So many horse books, so little time...

Sorry about the cliches, but every time I visit a tack shop I head straight for the book section. There are so many books on training, riding and equine health care that it can be overwhelming. Or else there are so few books available, and sometimes none at all are offered.

The classics are great - by George Morris and Sally Swift etc - but what about all the new horse books? Everyone has an opinion, a theory or a philosophy concerning horses. But, (pardon the next cliche) consider the source.

Who is the author and why is he/she an "expert" on that subject?

Who is the audience for the book?

What's In It For Me?

This blog will address new books about horses - both fiction and non-fiction, for children as well as adults. The criteria will be that they have been published recently - say in the past five years. Or, at least in this century!

Comments about the books are welcome - after all, you may have a different opinion about the book, and your opinion may aid another reader.

Suggestions for reviews are also welcome, from authors as well as readers.

So, why am I an expert?

I'm not. I love horses and I love to read.

I owned a 40 horse stable for 25 years and have trained horses and riders for almost four decades. I've been a barn manager for several international competitors (H/J, Eventing & Combined Driving) and for a huge TB breeding farm with six stallions. I've run five riding programs at summer camps. But, I'm always learning - and love to expand my horizons.

Oh, and I'm an author of six books, three of which are horse books!

Visit my site at to learn more about my background and my books.

I've also written for and other horse publications. You can view some of my clips at or search by my name at (but you have to be a member). Here is one I wrote for Horse News about riding on the beach:

That photo shows me on my beloved horse, Fawn, the only horse that would swim past the waves! We would take a trailer load of six horses, twice a year to the Delaware beach, and some horses went every time. Yet, only Fawn would go in deep, over her head, trusting me and loving it as much as I did!

Fawn was the reason I began writing as a profession. More on her later.

So, now I combine my passions of horses, writing (& reading) and travel as I head to warmer climate each winter, and to the mountains in the summer (doesn't matter where - PA, VA, NY so far) with mu husband of 32 years and our Irish Terrier, Woogie.

Isn't that what retirement is all about? Doing what you love and expanding your horizons to try things and see places you never had time for before? (That was the downfall of owning a stable...)

Anyway, this blog is officially open - next time I'll review the first book - my new one, "Beloved Sport Horses," featuring Katie Prudent and Belladonna!