Monday, December 17, 2012

Pidgy's Surprise by Jeanne Mellin

Pidgy's Surprise by Jeanne Mellin is a fun horse book for young readers as well as educational.

Cindy is a young horse lover, with the emphasis on horse. She owns a plain-looking Shetland Pony but dreams of having a big, spirited horse. Cindy takes the mare to a horse show and she is surprised to win a ribbon. But that's not the only surprise Pidgy has for her!

Originally published in 1955, this classic horse tale will sure delight youngsters now and in future decades. The book recently won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award!

For information about ordering this and other horse books, visit the publisher's site at

Friday, December 14, 2012

Breathe Life into Your Riding by Jenny Rolfe

Breathe Life into Your Riding: Transform Your Riding with Inspirational and Innovative Breathing Techniques

Breathe Life into Your Riding

Transform your riding with inspirational
and innovative breathing techniques
by Jenny Rolfe
J.A. Allen Books
Hard Cover, 2012, $34.00
ISBN: 978-0-85131-984-1
Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Carol M. Upton

Once we begin to master our own state of mind, tension and balance, we will be in a place where we can more easily be taught, by both a trainer and the horse. We will be able to respond more effectively with fluidity within our body and greater focus of our mind. ~ Jenny Rolfe

In this follow-up to Ride From the Heart, Jenny Rolfe expands upon her training techniques using the power of breathing and energy exchange between horses and people. We already know that Yoga and Tai Chi practices, for example, help us to move through life more easily. Rolfe combines her extensive experience as an international dressage trainer with testimonials from other riders to demonstrate how a similar approach can profoundly impact horse and rider performance.

The first part of the book provides the reader with exercises to build awareness and core breathing with the horse from the ground. Each page is graced with stunning photographs that illustrate this path to greater connection. Rolfe discusses loose work and the foundation it provides for trust and harmony to grow between horse and handler.  The more the horse learns relaxation in loose work, the more this will be carried into work under saddle.

Later chapters cover the subtle energy of core breathing and illustrate how these techniques support balanced, collected riding. The most empowering stories are those of Rolfe’s relationships with her Iberian stallions and the lessons learned from her intuitive work with them. She writes of sometimes delving into the unknown, yet always using breath with calm energy and creating space to allow the horse to become the teacher.

“Much of our present-day teaching relates to technical knowledge,” Rolfe says, “but my experience, working daily with my stallions, has taught me the significance of a further dimension.”

Attitudes are shifting and there are many ways in which we can learn together. Riders and trainers of all disciplines will definitely be inspired by Rolfe’s approach in this book and the transformation it can bring to both human and horse.  

Jenny Rolfe’s clients come from all over the world and include those professionally involved with horses, among them BHS trainers, physiotherapists and natural horsemanship instructors. She is also author/producer of the book/dvd Ride from the Heart and writes for a multitude of international equestrian magazines. Visit Jenny and her Iberian stallions at:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NOOR by Milton Toby

NOOR by Milton Toby covers the history of more than one Thoroughbred as they run for the roses in the 1940's and 50's, mostly describing the west coast races.

Noor's competitor, Citation, as well as other famous racehorses such as Seabiscuit are featured. Also, noted horsemen are quoted: Charles Howard, Noor's owner; John Longden, jockey; and trainer Burley Parke.

This historical account of a noteworthy racehorse is well written and includes numerous photographs.

Noor was certainly a gorgeous horse!

There is currently a virtual book tour for Milt - see

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bubba Goes National by Jennifer Walker

Bubba Goes National is the first book of the Green Meadow series by Jennifer Walker. This upbeat story not only teaches the reader about Arabian horse shows, but also responsible horsemanship and good sportsmanship.

Leslie is a young teen who lost her mom when she was ten and has a close bond with her dad. Her "heaven on earth" is a stable where she takes lessons and works for the trainer, Helen. The Green Meadow Training Stables features Arabian Horses, "Leslie's favorite breed."

She saved her money and and bought an Arabian that she spotted at a local horse auction. Her dad names him Bubba but Leslie calls him Lucky, since she's feels so lucky to have found him. With good grooming and training, and despite the wrath of a jealous teen rider, the pair soon qualify for the Youth Nationals.

The author writes in an easy style for both those who know horses and those who don't. Visit her site at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Racing Into Trouble by Maggie Dana

Maggie Dana has another hit with the second book in the Timber Ridge Riders series - Racing Into Trouble.

Kate and Holly have their ups and downs in their friendship in this story. Kate is even fired from her job at the stable because of a mean-spirited rider named Angela who always gets Kate in trouble without evidence of her crimes.

The characters are well rounded, the horse scenes are realistic and exciting and the plot has the reader  cheering on Kate and Holly. This book, like the others, is sure to please young horse lovers.

The ending is upbeat and hints at the setting of the third book in the series.

Read more about the author and her books at

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Klinger - A Story of Honor and Hope

Klinger is written by Betsy Beard and illustrated by Shelley Johannes and won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award. Beard is the editor of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a non-profit support group for all whose lives have been forever changed by their loved ones who died while in the U.S. Military.

Klinger is a real Percheron Morgan who was donated to the Caisson Platoon in 2003. Children who visited the Fort Myer stable in Arlington, Virginia where he lived fell in love with the big, gentle horse. The idea for Klinger's book was instigated by TAPS founder, Bonnie Carroll.

The Story:
As a foal, Klinger was told he was special, even when his skills as a runner were far below the other racehorses on the farm. At three years old, he was sent to Virginia to learn a new career - in the U.S.Army.

After training, Klinger joins the team to "pull the wagons that take the fallen heroes to their final resting place."

On Memorial Day, TAPS holds Good Grief Camp and children of the soldiers visit the stable and hug him. Klinger realizes that he is more special than any racehorse.

This hard cover children's book is beautifully written and illustrated!

Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ellie's Crows

Well, Ellie's Crows is not predictable nor the same old plot line many horse stories share. Ellie has special bonds with her Grandma Betty, her horse Damian and a wild crow named Lolita. When a man causes a major conflict for her at the stable, her three allies help her through it.

At times the story was hard to follow especially the strange Healing Light retreat, which I wonder what it had to do with the main story. It could have been left out in my opinion.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NEW! Beloved Horses From Around the World

The 5th book in the Beloved Horses series is now available for ordering - its release date is December 1st!

Read about amazing equines from across the globe who demonstrate their wisdom, their will to live and their unconditional love.

For example, meet:
Rosey, a Thoroughbred who gives freedom to a soldier.
Jessie, a Morgan Horse who defies the odds when severely injured.
Lynn, a Percheron who outshines her competition.

Contact me by e-mail at or by cell phone 814-937-0704.
Visa and Master Card accepted!

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

FWI: Comments on this blog

I receive so many comments that are not relevant to the subject of my blog post, that the majority are deleted. I delegate them to spam so they can't be sent again, but others continue to try to sell their product by trying to have me post their comment. Not going to happen!

I welcome interesting, useful and positive comments that actually have something to do with the books reviewed, and prefer a real name with it.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Civil War Horse Story

Tennessee Rose by Jane Kendall is #9 in the Horse Diaries Series.

Told from the viewpoint of the horse, the reader learns not only about the background of the Tennessee Walking Horse, but also about the Civil War horses.

Like Black Beauty, Rose describes her first memories and life on an Alabama plantation. Her life changes when she must separate from her mother and become a riding horse with Levi, a slave boy, as her groom. Changes come again when the Civil War breaks out and she and Levi join the battlefields. Like Levi, Rosie longs for freedom from the war.

This is a well told story with lots of historical background.

For more information on the Horse Diaries Series, visit

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heroes & Hounds

Bill Miller's Heroes & Hounds is a delightful story about a young girl who disregards local gossip about Strange Willie, a Viet Nam vet, and makes friends with him. A lost foxhunting hound, Hampton, also befriends the man, and they are all observed by a wild fox.

Carly lives with her grandfather on a Virginia farm while her parents serve in the military overseas. She finds adventure on her pony, Monroe, and on her bike with her classmate, Freddie. Her dream is to someday ride with the local hunt.

Carly and Strange Willie become heroes after Freddie becomes injured in the woods, and the rescue team follows Hampton who leads them to the boy.

I love how the story changes viewpoint from Carly, Grandfather, Willie and even the hound and fox. The transitions are done very well so it's easy to read and understand.

The additional bonus is the wonderful sketches by Mary Burkhardt that are sprinkled throughout the story.

Visit Bill Miller's website at


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Ride of Your Life

The Ride of Your Life by Gareth Da'Bellis part memoir, part travel book and part essay. The stunning photographs (most taken between the ears of a horse while riding), the poetic prose and the insightful observations will delight both a horse and nature lover.

The print book is pricey, but the e-book is free at this time at  

Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Celebrating 8th Anniversary of Beloved School Horses!

The month of September marks the 8th Anniversary of my Beloved School Horses.

After closing our Unicorn Stable in 2000, I decided to share my fondest memories of the unsung heroes of the horse world - the lesson horse. From little Petey, my son's first pony, to big Tetris, an ex-dressage horse, these stories have been enjoyed by horse lovers of all ages. I've read some to kids as young as five because several anecdotes describe the special bonds between children and a horses. Older riders enjoy the trip down memory lane.

My Morgan Horse, Windfield Farewell, is featured on the cover and first chapter. He calms a nervous Girl Scout as she attempts to overcome her fear in order to earn her Horsemanship badge.

Dennis, a grade gelding who loves to halt, rewards an autistic 6 year old with a prompt response when asked to whoa. The boy, who had never smiled in his life, grins like a crescent moon causing the walkers to be overjoyed to tears.

And a double amputee Viet Nam veteran proves to himself that he is still a cowboy when on Knipper.

These are just a few of the horses featured. When marketing my book, other horse lovers wanted to tell me about their beloved horse. And so a series was born. The 5th will feature breeds from around the world and be released at the end of this year.

For print copies of any in the series, personally signed to you or a loved one, ($14.95 each) complete with sketches or photographs, contact me at - and I take Visa & Master Card. FREE SHIPPING!

For e-books, select them at Barnes & Noble or Amazon for just $2.99.

Visit these shops if near you - call ahead to see if they still have them on their shelf.

Thanks to all my wonderful fans and shop supporters!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Must Read for Horse Lovers!

Believing in Horses

Believing in Horses by Valerie Ormond is an inspirational story of a young girl with lofty goals, but who perseveres to attain them.

Horse lover, Sadie, is 12 and with her family's help, she chooses a perfect horse after choosing the perfect boarding stable. But the real challenge is her ambition to save ten horses that are scheduled to go to a horse auction.

With gumption and ingenuity, Sadie researches, makes presentations and secures homes for all of them. Now, she just has to be the highest bidder at the auction and stay within her budget.

The setting and characters are realistic, and the author has the reader spellbound with each scene, wondering what will happen next.

I found myself saying to Sadie, "You go, girl!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sonrise Stable - Rosie and Scamper

Sonrise Stable - Rosie and Scamper is part of a series by Vicki Watson.

This adorable story is both educational and Christian-based.

Rosie loves to assist her grandmother at the stable. After a beloved mare dies shortly after giving birth, the young girl helps to train the orphan foal. They name him Scamper.

A neighbor takes in a foster girl named Carrie, and soon Rosie has a best friend and a riding pal.

The details of horse care and horsemanship at shows are realistic, as are the situations that the girls find themselves in. And Grandma is always there to teach them about how God is watching over them.

The only jolt was the two year jump forward from Scamper's birth to his mounted training. Maybe it would have been better to start on that first day of riding, with a reflection on how it came to be.

Or break up the book into two. An eight-year-old's emotions and reactions would be so different to a ten-year-old's perspective. I would have liked more about the younger Rosie learning groundwork with Scamper.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blackjack - Dreaming of a Morgan

Blackjack - Dreaming of a Morgan by Ellen Feld is a delightful story for young horse lovers. The realistic stable and horse show settings makes it educational as well.

Heather is a teenager who dreams of saving a Morgan named Blackjack from a cruel owner. To her surprise, she meets a horse farm owner who owns a black Morgan stallion. When Heather is offered a job to work there in exchange for riding lessons, she bonds with the stallion named Gallant Image but she gives him the barn name of Blackjack.

As her riding improves, she works on Blackjack who has a problem cantering on the right lead. But their bond of trust overcomes his anxiety and they do well at their first show.

Although the ending was predictable for me, the author creates a tale that is sure to please young horse lovers. My only question is why did Blackjack have to be a stallion? The story would have been just as exciting with him being a gelding, and more suitable for a youth rider.

Learn more about the author at the publisher's site

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Communication with All Life

Communication with All Life by Joan Ranquet is an interesting read about the author's "sensing" what pets, horses, etc. need from their human owners or what is causing problems. Some are emotional and some are physical.

Joan explains in her short stories of animals she has helped what she found out from the pet and how she assisted both the animal and owner.

I found some of her "treatments" insightful, others typical if one knows animal instincts. I've been a professional horse trainer for more than 40 years and a pet groomer for five. I agreed with most of her conclusions, as I use body position, hand placement and calming techniques such as humming and singing to encourage an animal to cooperate with me. I don't, however, "talk" to animals or sense a problem by having a phone conversation and looking at the animal's photo.

There was one situation with a horse who had a behavior problem that a smiled when I read it. The treatment of moving the horse to another stable was for the right treatment but for the wrong reason, in my opinion. I've had horses that have acted out at another trainer's barn, and when I took the horse to mine, it was fine. At a new place, the herd instinct causes the horse to be at the bottom of the totem pole again, and he's more open to responding to training. Giving a routine and adding new "jobs" that the horse is capable of handing, will often solve the behavior issue.

If you want to learn helpful insights into animal behavior, this will be an interesting book for you.

Visit the author's site at

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blaze of Glory

Forbidden Romance would be a better title for this Young Adult novel. Blaze is the name of a horse that the main character, Tea (17 years old), sets her dreams on for the Canadian Hunter/Jumper show scene. When he dies early in the book, her depression sets her in a different direction - a love/lust affair with her first cousin who's in his 20's.

Okay, Jaden is not related by blood since Tea and her twin brother are adopted by her stepfather. They stay with him on the horse farm after their mom dies. She teaches riding and trains/shows hunter/jumpers. Tea also tends to be impulsive and tries to hide her "bad" behavior from her stepdad. He's physically abusive and way over the line, and not one Tea can confide in, especially when she's an emotional wreck after the accident that causes Blaze's death.

But Jaden, the sexy polo playing nephew of her stepdad, is the one that she opens up to, and soon finds herself on an emotional roller coaster. She realizes she shouldn't love him (besides being first cousins legally, she's jail bait) but when she learns he has the same feelings for her, the rest of the book describes their love affair and resolution.

While I liked the horse scenes (not only H/J shows, but also polo) and Tea's way with horses, I did not care for the rest of the drama. I would not want my teenage granddaughter reading about this love affair as if it acceptable. The "happy ending" is that Tea and Jaden announce to the family that they are in love. The first cousin aspect is not as bad as a 17 yr old having sex with a 23 yr old.

I did like the ending when Tea is given a gift - a colt that is Blaze's brother.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keeping Secrets

Maggie Dane's Keeping Secrets is one of the best books I've read! The realistic setting and characters had me hooked from page one. I, too, rode my bike as a teen to find a stable that would give me a job!

When Kate McGregor lands the job to be a companion for a teen in a wheelchair, she is thrilled. She is less than  thrilled to find out the girl, Holly, and her mother spend most of their time at the stable.

Due to a horse's death at her last barn, Kate had sworn off horses for good. She tries to keep her riding skills a secret until an emergency has her mount up. Another rider at the barn watches her jump the gate and tries to blackmail her.

The descriptive equine scenes, the well-rounded characters and the believable dialog kept this book a page-turner!

Visit the author's site at

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ringer by Cheryl Rhodes

Cheryl Rhodes' romance novel, Ringer, is an exciting read for female horse lovers. It features a brave protagonist named Holly helping a handsome horse trainer named Matt solve the mystery of his missing Standardbred. The settings include racetracks in Canada and California as well as an Oregon horse farm. The backstretch details are vivid and the racing scenes are realistic. And then there's the sexy hot tub scene!

Holly, with her horse in her trailer, is on her way to a new job on a drill team when she rescues Matt from drowning in a track fountain after he was beat up. He persuades her to take him and his mare across the Canadian border to his Oregon farm. But that's just the beginning of their adventure together as they try to figure out the who and why of the horse theft. Along the way, they fall in love despite Holly's misgivings of loving a track man who most likely will break her heart.

Loved the realistic horse scenes, the suspense and the conflicts, but I felt the romantic ending was a little unbelievable. 

Find her e-book on Amazon etc and visit

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Girl Who Remembered Horses

The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda Benson 

What a delightful story about the aftermath of Doomsday! I was actually confused at first since I knew nothing about the story prior to reading it. (Love my Kindle!) I thought the setting was cave man days since the people used dogs to pull wagons. Horses were considered wild beasts and if a hunter was good enough, a tasty meal.

This coming of age novel features Sahara (great name!) who has vivid dreams about riding and training horses. She confides only to her grandfather who believes she has inherited a gift - a way with animals. Sahara and her sister along with their grandfather are the last of their family, but travel with a clan of traders. This clan travels the country looking for relics from the old days that they can trade.

During their travels, Sahara sees horses and begs the clan hunters not to kill one that has been shot with an arrow. Later in the story, the teen finds a foal who's mare dies while birthing. Sahara raises the foal on goat's milk and earns the respect of the clan but only after many obstacles.

I was only disappointed in the end - I wanted more! I hope there will be a sequel!

Visit the author's site at and find her and her novel on Facebook!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gypsy's Meadow

Gypsy's Meadow by JT Brown is an uplifting children's story about a rescued pony and the special relationship with her young girl owner. The girl learns to care for the pony, and they ride the trails and attend horse shows together. When the girl grows up and marries, Gypsy goes to a new home with them. The girl introduces her baby daughter to Gypsy and eventually the horse teaches the youngster, too. When the mare is too old to be ridden, she welcomes new horses to the barn for the mother and daughter to ride. The theme of opening your heart to love is a concept for every reader.

The ending is sad, yet insightful and gives the young reader a positive outlook on death.

Visit the author's blog at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Gypsy’s Meadow” is a touching story which tells a tale of many horses out there that are just plainly looking for a good home.

The purpose and mission of this book, is to raise funds for “First Light Farms Equine Shelter”; so other horses can share their “Remember When” and not “Maybe could be.”

“Every step we take could be another hoof print left in our hearts.”


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In Season by Christina Wible is set on a breeding farm with the protagonist, FE (Effie) Booker trying to cope with challenging broodmares, tack thieves, a new vet and the new farm owner.

FE is a no-nonsense character who's childhood not only made her build walls around herself emotionally, but also made her a determined business owner of breeding and shipping horses. Her first love, though, is the mares and foals, and she is upset when an owner pulls out his herd.

Although some parts of the ending were predictable, I was pleasantly surprised by the final conclusion.

It is delightful to read such realistic details about the equine breeding industry since I bred Morgan horses for 25 years and spent two years as a manager on a NJ Thoroughbred stud farm.

Learn more about the author and her books at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Frequent Flyer

Fequent Flyer by Hal Wentworth is about a horse show dad who buys a mysterious horse for his horse-crazy daughter, and the Thoroughbred is given the name Frequent Flyer. The family becomes involved in trying to save the people connected to the horse, while evading the people trying to steal Flyer.

When Eric Davidson's daughter, Olivia, was born he gave her a stuffed toy horse. His wife, Marnie, encouraged the girl to ride as she grew older. When she became a teen and was trained by a coach, Marnie explained that Olivia needed her own horse. Eric happened upon a horse while lost in Vermont and was convinced by the owner that the horse needed him. At first his family and the girl's riding coach were not happy about the purchase, but as Flyer's talents were revealed, a bond formed between the Thoroughbred and the family.

Enter a strange Native Indian, and some other equally unusual characters, and the story escalates to a higher level, but a very interesting one. I don't want to give other details, but the ride is worth the trip! The story has humor, drama and a realistic equine setting.

I'm not a fan of most fantasy, but this one was a delight from beginning to end.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kings of Colorado

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton is similar to the Louis Sachar novel, Holes. Both are about a boy’s detention center run by cruel staff with ulterior motives. The difference is that Holes takes place in Texas where the boys are made to dig holes, while Kings is set on a Colorado ranch and the chores are taking care of and training mustangs.

For most of the book, William Sheppard is reminiscing about his two years at the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory – what brought him there at 13 years old, the friends and enemies he made and the horses he worked with. The story starts on a violent note with Will stabbing his stepfather, and escalates to the brutal ending scenes where Will and his friends are trying to survive in the woods. This book is not for the squeamish.

The ending is satisfying despite the losses the character suffered as a boy. The story is unforgettable.

Author’s website:

(Note: Advanced Reading Copy provided by Simon & Schuster)