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The Young Black Stallion by Walter and Steven Farley

Many people are familiar with Walter Farley’s series The Black Stallion. Perhaps even reading the first book in this children’s series, the question was raised: how did the Black come to be on the ship in the first place? Written with his third child Steven, Walter explores the origin of the young black stallion named Shêtan.

The Young Black Stallion by Walter and Steven Farley

The Young Black Stallion by Walter and Steven Farley

Bred for great things, it seems that the Arab sheik who has bred Shêtan has to work hard to keep him. Not only is a rival tribe out to secure him, but a wealthy Arab that now lives in Europe sees the value in owning him – however that may come about. And so starts a battle to capture and keep the young black stallion.  This horse appears to be far superior to any of his paddock mates.

Set in the high mountains of Arabia, Shêtan finds his usual life of eating, drinking, playing and sleeping with paddock mates rudely interrupted one day. A raiding party is there to secure the black colt. Wary of humans, Shêtan runs until he can do so no longer.  It is then that he turns on the men who are trying to secure him.

A pawn in a battle between two strong sheiks, young Rashid finds himself suddenly abandoned.  This is even though he was taken on to track the horse. Knowing if he is found by those that cared for Shêtan, that he will be killed, Rashid escapes on foot.  He believes all he can do is head for his home in the desert.  And so starts a long, lonely journey.

The Young Black Stallion is told from the point of view of Rashid and Shêtan as they work to survive on their own in the wilderness of Arabia. A battle to get away from those chasing him and to find enough food to survive leads Shêtan many miles. Eager to get home – but not to be spied by those who left him for dead – Rashid has to often retrace his steps and find another way out of the mountains.

The Young Black Stallion is an interesting read that throws a new element into the Black’s life before he knew Alec Ramsay. It also highlights the incredible bond that develops between the boy and the stallion, considering his previous handling. This book is the start to the young black stallion series by Steven Farley.

Authors – Walter and Steven Farley
Fiction – children
In my library – definitely is!
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.


Making use of Equine Organisations

Recently I was made aware of the Victorian Farmer’s Federation. They were having a young farmer’s evening and I convinced my husband we should go check it out. After all, we plan to have land and work it in the near future. It was an interesting night that made us aware of a few different organisations that could benefit us as land owners and as horse owners in the future.  Generally speaking, if we have a question about farming, we could go to the VFF.  If they can’t answer it, they can point us towards someone who can. So as someone who’s aspiring to work in the horse industry, do you know of and are you making use of equine organisations as valuable resources?

Equine Organisations as Resources

Equine Organisations can be a Great Resource for Your Career

Equine Organisations can be a Great Resource for Your Career

Let’s say you’re based in the United Kingdom and you want to compete professionally, or teach people how to ride. Are you making use of the British Horse Society and their network of people to help you achieve this?

Maybe you have a passion for working with disabled people and know that horses can help them. Have you considered joining up with your local Riding for the Disabled?  Or perhaps the Equine Assisted Learning group that focuses on hippotherapy?

You’re really keen on the idea of dentistry for horses and think this could be a fulfilling career. Do you know of veterinary associations or equine dentistry organisations that could guide you on the right path to take?

Racing is your passion and you’re not sure if you want to be a strapper, an exercise rider, trainer or a jockey. Do you know the racing authority in your local region? Have you looked into what each position offers and what it requires from you?

There are many organisations out there that are set up to be a guide for you. Chances are if you have a question, so has someone else before you! And there’s probably an answer outlined on a website or able to be provided in a reply email just for you. When it comes to your horse future, be sure to look into organisations that are set up in the industry you aspire to get into. This can be your greatest resource for networking, job opportunities and education possibilities. Don’t overlook it.

The Runaway Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees

Those who have read the Girl and Her Pony, will already be familiar with Princess Sophia and perhaps even her perfectly behaved, grey pony. In the Runaway Pony, Sophia is amazed to find herself astride her grey pony Sky, in another world.

The Runaway Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees

The Runaway Pony by Angharad Thompson Rees

Sick of the lack of privacy and restrictions placed on her as a part of the royal family, Sophia longs to escape it all. She finds she has this in common with Sky and the two decide to escape the rules even if only for a little while. Little did they realise that their adventure would last longer than a quick gallop away from the king’s guards.

Finding themselves in the land of Faerie, Sophia and Sky question what is most important to them. This comes to mind as the question is raised by an unusual talking snake in the land of Faerie. As horse and rider try to work out this upside down land they’ve ventured into, they soon find themselves in trouble.  And they are unsure how to get out of it.

Their adventure consequently turns into trying to find a way home and solving the snake’s riddle.  And along the way, ultimately they learn about true friendship.

The Runaway Pony is a delightful tale for young readers with a great moral. The fact that one of the main characters is a pony adds to its appeal. This is yet another great read by Angharad Thompson Rees. If you’re looking for some horse themed books for your youngster, be sure to check out the Magical Adventures and Pony Tales.  It contains all 6 horsey adventures in one!

Author – Angharad Thompson Rees
Fiction – children
In my library – as an eBook it is.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

The Farrier Guide for Aspiring Farriers

I have recently started a new writing gig that will be a regular thing.  As I was looking over the site, I realised it’s a resource I should be writing about here!  So how could it be of benefit to you?

Well, you have a love for horses and their feet in particular.  You’re up for a physically demanding job and love the idea of looking after horses’ health care.  And of course, correcting conformation issues and dealing with many different horses on a daily basis!  Did you know about the resource the Farrier Guide?

Working as a Farrier

This is an online resource that provides many things for those who are already employed as farriers, or for those who aspire to be.  There is a farriery guide that highlights the basics of this career.  There is also an education and employment guide for those wanting to be up to speed on the industry.

And if you’re looking to study, there’s a selection of horseshoeing schools and farrier courses that are detailed in a directory, worldwide.  To make this even more appealing, users can rate and comment on individual schools/courses to give an unbiased view.  There are even interviews with instructors and owners of schools to help potential students determine what would suit them best.

The Farrier Guide as a Career Resource

The Farrier Guide as a Career Resource

With a blog that has monthly educational posts relating to horses and the industry and a book store, the Farrier Guide seems to be a great online resource for someone wanting to get into this industry.  As with many things in the horse industry, having skills and an education is important.  If you’re interested in pursuing farriery as a career, check out this resource that provides so much to make you well-informed.

Horse to a horse owner: ‘I saved you some money; took the shoe off myself!’

Microfinance for Horse Small Business

You may have already read the post on Equus Education about providing finance to people who have a horse business plan. Of course, this often happens in the form of a loan, on which you need to pay interest. Recently on Vision Radio I heard an interview with a gentleman who is involved in microfinance in the Philippines. And of course I got to thinking about microfinance for horse small business. (No I’m not obsessed!)

So what’s the general idea? Well, if we use the example from the Philippines, $150 USD was provided to people who had a business idea. With this (small) sum of money they were able to start a business.

It could be to buy product or something to help them provide a product or service that they could sell. Alongside this money, they were also provided with training and encouragement to get their business off the ground. Within a short time span, they were also expected to pay back the money that they had been loaned. This was interest free. Any other money they made after paying back the loan was theirs to live on / provide for their family and future.

Microfinance for Horse Small Business | Equus Education

Microfinance for Horse Small Business | Equus Education

I love this concept of empowering people to do things for themselves. Sometimes all someone needs is a helping hand to get out of a poverty cycle.  This could be a cycle that may have affected their family for generations. With the accountability of paying back what they’ve been loaned, they aren’t being given something for free.  Rather, they are being provided with an opportunity to earn and be responsible for themselves.

Microfinance for Horse Small Business

So how could microfinance apply to horse small business? What if a particular setup provided $150 USD to individuals to start a horse business? Is this enough? For some things, sure!

  • $150 could help to buy a website and pay for hosting – it would cover the hosting and .com renewal of Equus Education for a year.
  • It could be used for someone to undertake a course that educates and enables them to earn, like with my Equine Passive Streams Course at Udemy.
  • Maybe the money could be used to pay an editor, get a book cover designed and publish a book. Electronically, you can publish a book for free on many platforms and earn a return as soon as someone buys.

So how would such an initiative benefit the person providing the money? Not in the form of interest earned on the money loaned. But what about in the form of raising the economy in particular areas, or even worldwide? In time, if the concept grew, maybe different people could volunteer their time and resources in various areas.

For example, maybe $150 USD in a third world country could buy a horse or donkey that could be used as a pack horse or trail horse for tourists. In this way, it could be bringing in consistent money for the owner. Buying second hand horse books off eBay or in opportunity shops and selling them in sets could generate a handy return.

There are so many little things that could be done with $150 to turn it into a greater sum of money and in time, maybe even a viable business. With so many people in the world below the poverty line or on government benefits, for those with an interest in horses, could you see microfinance for horse small business working?

Running Free (Midnight Dancer #3) by Elizabeth Lindsay

Running Free finds young Mory desperate to prove the worth of her pony Midnight Dancer.  After some unexpected jumping opportunities arise, Mory is adamant that her pony is a brilliant jumper.  Mean girl at school Caroline Spencer wants Mory to prove it by entering the local show jumping competition.

Running Free (Midnight Dancer #3) by Elizabeth Lindsay

Running Free (Midnight Dancer #3) by Elizabeth Lindsay

Although Mory knows her beautiful mare is brilliant, she isn’t so sure about her own jumping skills – she is still learning to ride effectively.  Whilst Mory is out riding on the hills, she discovers a dog running free.  In time, a dead sheep is found and Mory’s uncle Glyn is furious.  He is adamant he will shoot any dogs on sight if they’re near his sheep.

Mory is fearful for Ben, a new dog that her friend Lionel has acquired.  Although Mory doesn’t believe Ben killed the sheep, she knows that he was in the area at one point.  Uncle Glyn is certain it is either Lionel’s young dog or a local woman’s dog.  Mory is unsure how she can prove it was neither!

In time Mory is goaded into entering the show jumping competition at Penyworlod.  Most of her energies go into training her pony and learning to sit well on Dancer.  Alongside this she suddenly has to deal with another dead sheep – this time a young lamb.  Lionel has also run away and Caroline is suddenly going out riding with Mory’s cousin Cara.

Running Free focuses on a great mystery that young Mory has to work to solve before an innocent dog is killed.  It is also a perfect story for young horse enthusiasts.  The horse information rings true, is educational and the story is an entertaining read.  This third book in the Midnight Dancer series I am sure would be a hit with pre-teen horse enthusiasts.

Author – Elizabeth Lindsay
Fiction – children
In my library – along with a few others in the series!
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider

So you want to make a career out of riding horses, ey? Well here are 7 horse riding careers to consider. Some offer consistent work and wages. Others will be successful only if the horse in question being ridden is successful in its given discipline.

    1. Exercise rider for racing
      This is a person who rides horses in their morning workouts. Often this will be for thoroughbreds galloping on the track in flat racing, or jumps racing. Riders are generally paid per horse that is ridden and can get work 6 – 7 mornings a week.
    2. Jockey
      You need to be qualified to ride in race work and your earnings will be based on the performance of your mount – as well as the class of race. Rides may be over weekends or during the week, depending on race meetings.
    3. Eventer
      Many of these riders need to be sponsored and the performance money is a lot less than in race riding. Still, it is possible to ride competition horses for a living. An eventer focuses on dressage, show jumping and cross country riding.
    4. Catch rider
      For the owners who have a horse that needs to be ridden, a catch rider can come in handy. They ride the horse in its competition event for a fee – and hopefully the horse receives points/ribbons in the classes it is entered.

      7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider | Equus Education

      7 Horse Riding Careers to Consider | Equus Education

    5. Educational rider/trainer
      Some horses have issues with regards to their education or the way they’ve been ridden. They may be acting up because they are in pain or fearful. Some trainers manage ‘difficult’ horses beautifully, getting to the root of the problem and enabling owners to move forward with their riding goals.
    6. Trail ride guide
      Perhaps you’re the sort of person who loves getting out and about, seeing beautiful places on horseback. You also love interacting with people and can teach beginners a thing or two.  And maybe you enjoy riding with more experienced horse people, too. Taking people out for trail rides may be a job worth considering! It will often involve matching strangers to appropriate horses, tacking up horses and taking groups out for a ride.  Then you will be dealing with the horses and putting them away again. Many trail places do 2-3 rides in a day or some overnight rides for the more experienced clients.
    7. Mounted police
      It is worth noting that if you want to get into this area, it can’t be solely because you want to ride! Mounted police officers have to serve as a police officer for a few years before they are in a position to consider the mounted department. It can also be quite competitive. Love of the law needs to be your focus, with getting to ride a bonus 😉

    The 7 horse riding careers to consider listed above touch on different disciplines and different working hours. Have you considered another? I’d love to read in the comments about other riding careers you’re interested in!

Donating to Horse Charities, through Business

I am currently looking at a blog to biz boot camp where you get your blog into order with regards to SEO optimisation and earning possibilities.  The presenter of this online free series is Melyssa Griffin, a successful online entrepreneur.  Melissa indicated that because of her online earnings, she was able to donate a large sum to a charity of her choice.  And of course my thinking went to donating to horse charities.  As a horse business, do you give to any charities?

Donating to Horse Charities, through Business | Equus Education

Donating to Horse Charities, through Business | Equus Education

I am aware that the British Horse Society has their own charity that you can support.  So my question for you if you have a horse business, is do you encourage others to use your products or services by giving away a percentage to a particular horse charity?  Perhaps you could give a percentage of your earnings (or profit) each month to a chosen horse charity.  Or maybe you could even donate a particular month’s earnings to a horse charity because of your horse business!

Donating to Horse Charities

Donating to horse charities can be a great way to raise your business profile within the equine world.  If people are happy to pay for your product or service and they know some of what they pay will be donated to a horse charity, it may make them even more inclined to use you!  Just some food for thought.

How can you use your profits to better impact the horse industry or your local community?  It could be through taking on an apprentice and paying them a wage or perhaps through donating to your local Pony Club or adult riding club.  I am sure there are heaps of ways you can use the funds generated in your horse business to positively impact the industry and local community.

“Just then, down through the last glimmer of twilight, stepping high and free, like a cloud, a moth, a ghost in the shape of a horse — came the Silver Stallion. Wild, beautiful, and free as the wind he came, from one kingdom to another, Thowra.” – Elyne Mitchell

Defining Gravity by Genevieve Mckay

Recently Genevieve Mckay provided me with a copy of her latest release, Defining Gravity. I really enjoyed reading this horse novel for young adults and believe others will, too.

Defining Gravity by Genevieve Mckay

Defining Gravity by Genevieve Mckay

Young Astrid is an extremely talented archer. It seems that she lives for the sport that she excels at. It’s the one thing that makes sense to her as a teenager. She struggles with her self image and her weight. Her father is a stranger that seems to view her as an annoyance. She has a crush on a boy who barely recognises her and even her closest friend is brutally blunt.

Attending a party at the Ling’s home, Astrid feels things might finally be falling into place. Thomas Ling is actually talking to her and it seems that he may like her. Or perhaps that’s the punch talking. With a little too much in her system, Astrid feels bold and finds herself behaving in a way that she wouldn’t have the courage to otherwise. And this is her downfall. Her boldness leads to an accident that puts her archery career on hold and could even end it.

Missing the sport that feels as necessary as breathing to her, Astrid feels she’s been punished enough. Her father disagrees and Astrid finds herself suddenly with a job at a stable, surrounded by large, imposing horses. A fill in job to pass the time – and develop discipline – suddenly opens a door of possibilities.

Defining Gravity is a great look at the horse performance world with a focus on dressage. The characters are varied but all human with different flaws and insecurities. As Astrid works through the disappointment of not being able to play her favourite sport – and of having let down her father – she learns what true friends look like at the stables. She also discovers the need to stand up for herself. Defining Gravity is a great coming of age story with horse information that rings true and is educational. It’s a great look at the horse world from a beginner’s point of view as they get consumed by the industry and take in all that they can.

The story moves along at a good pace and has some characters you’ll love to hate. Astrid’s character is believable, likeable and grows into a young woman as the story develops. The horse events work well to build the reader’s knowledge about the industry and Astrid’s riding lessons are really interesting to read about. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of Defining Gravity.

Author – Genevieve Mckay
Fiction – young adult
In my library – as an eBook it is!
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Profile On: Erin McElwee, Facilities Administrative Manager, MJC

Erin McElwee

Erin McElwee

Erin McElwee is the Facilities Administrative Manager at the Maryland Jockey Club, home of the 143rd Preakness Stakes!  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does!

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
100%. I am based at Laurel Park in Laurel, Maryland and we offer live racing three days a week and simulcast all week long. Our sister properties in Maryland include Pimlico, Rosecroft, and five Off -Track Betting locations.

What is it exactly that you do?
This is a great question because I am approaching my third month in this position. Every day is a new adventure and I am continually discovering new aspects of my job. My main responsibility is to assist Rick Allen, Vice President of Facilities and Backside Operations for the Maryland Jockey Club and the divisions he oversees.

I supply the administrative backing for capital projects, assist with preparations concerning our department for the Preakness Stakes, procurement, and fiscal reports. I supply logistical support for the building, turf, track, mechanics, and backside crews regarding projects and renovations.

The Maryland Jockey Club

The Maryland Jockey Club

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning livable income?
Absolutely. I am very blessed to work for the Maryland Jockey Club owned by the Stronach Group who have an incredible commitment to this industry and all of their employees. They recognize the passion and hard work it takes to run operations this big and their support exceeds industry standards.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
This is the entertainment industry and there are an incredible amount of moving parts.  Having a passion and understanding for the thoroughbred horse racing industry is definitely a plus. When you do something you love it always works out one way or another. I landed here with a little bit of luck and a lot of love for these horses.

Erin McElwee, Maryland Jockey Club

Erin McElwee, Maryland Jockey Club

Favorite horse memory?
When I first started owning racehorses in 2009 I was very lucky to be supported by my family. As a 29 year old this was a gigantic financial commitment and risk.  To save on hauling costs, I bought a truck and trailer for when they would run at tracks other than Penn National. I had a stallion named Special Union who was on the smaller side but had a big heart. I would load him on the trailer after training and take him to my grandmother’s house. He would stand in the front yard eating grass and all the neighbors would come visit with him. It made me so proud to see the joy he brought my grandmother and the children.

Future goals?
Professionally: I recently moved from Pennsylvania where I was born to follow my dreams here in Maryland. Since I was a young girl I have had a one track mind to make a substantial contribution, improve, and market the various aspects of horse racing. I work one day at a time preparing myself to hopefully be a President or CEO at a racetrack in the future.
Personally: I dream about owning a horse that has the opportunity to run in a Stake Race. I came close but this is something I keep my fingers crossed for every time I claim.

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