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Faris and Jack by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Do you know about the Free Horse Books List on Goodreads? If not, check it out! This is a list of books that are always free on Amazon. Cool, huh? Now this specifically relates to and I buy from, which meant that I couldn’t access Faris and Jack by Melanie Cusick-Jones for free. Thankfully someone commented on the list, indicating where I could still download it for free – score!

So recently I’ve downloaded and read this fantasy children’s story. Faris and Jack is about a 9-year-old boy called Faris and an unusual horse named Jack. Or perhaps I should say that Faris is the unusual one.

Faris and Jack by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Faris and Jack by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Young Faris lives in a home for unfortunate orphans. To the outside world, it appears that the owner/facilitator Mr. Grimbaldi is a caring soul, who takes in many a young boy without prospects. The opposite in fact is true; the boys are made to work gruelling hours and are given the bare minimum – not even toothbrushes for hygiene.

Faris dreams of the day he will leave the place. He senses deep down that something incredible is going to happen and he will then be able to go free. Faris isn’t wrong. The way things come about however, are more than a little surprising.

One day Faris is carrying out the usual daily toil, the next he is on a wild adventure with an unusual horse that he can talk to. He is also joined by a figlia faerie that can change forms when necessary.

For a young boy who wasn’t privileged to attend school, Faris finds himself on a steep learning curve. It seems that the world as he knows it isn’t the only one and there are greater forces at work. And better yet, Faris is needed to help Jack fight against an evil source.

Faris and Jack is a unique tale that features people who can talk to horses – as well as other hooved animals. There are other mythical creatures, too. The ugly and not so bright Spriggans and powerful Figlia faeries. This is a short story that is sure to capture the imagination of young readers and it’s nice that the focus animal is the horse.

Author: Melanie Cusick-Jones
Fiction – children
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.




Profile On: Marilyn J Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a Real Estate Agent specializing in horse property, farm, ranch and land. I own 5 horses so I know what it takes to purchase property that suits their specific needs.

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes it can be very lucrative. But my focus is more about helping people.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Over 600 hours of study and a state exam and license approval by the Texas and National Association of Realtors.  Plus continuing education each year to maintain my license.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a hard one. Was it my first ride when I was 3, was it when I won a first place ribbon for jumping when I was 12? Or was it when I bought my first horse Chochese an Appaloosa when I was 21, was it when I purchased my heart horse KoKo 10 years ago?

Or when I decided to take a new softer approach to training because she had shut down. It took about a year and a half to gain her trust but when I first saw her with a big swinging walk and a very confident tail lift as if she owned the world. I think that was it.

Future goals?
My future goals are to help people find that perfect horse, farm, ranch or land to build their dream home. I love helping people find the right fit for their specific needs.


Marilyn Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

Buying a ranch or farm or next home is usually the largest investment people will make in their life. I want to help make that investment/home for their families and animals be everything they want. Most of my business comes from referrals and I’m proud of that.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I get to work with horse people mostly, I understand their needs. It’s not just a home to them it’s a home for their horses and horses have special needs. I know what they are.

Being outdoors showing properties in the country is something I love. I also love talking about horses but any farm animals, or crops or whatever their focus is. I have a Farm and Ranch Certification, I am a preferred Texas Veterans Agent, I have a GREEN certification, and am a Premiere Luxury Marketing Consultant.

The Equine Ergonomist – Saddle Fit and Function

Recently I had the opportunity to send a variety of horse industry professionals’ questions to be profiled on Equus Education. One such person indicated they could provide answers for any of four professions. One of the professions listed was an equine ergonomist.

The Equine Ergonomist Assess Saddle fit and Function

The Equine Ergonomist Assess Saddle fit and Function

Perhaps you’re familiar with this term already! I wasn’t, so hopped onto trusty Google to do a search! As it turns out:

“Equine ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design, to maximise performance by reducing horse and rider fatigue and discomfort. It is the study of the relationship between horses and the environment in which they work, and the application of physiological, psychological and engineering knowledge to the problems involved. ” – From Ergon Equine

Saddle fit is important.  Especially in a time when horses are ridden for recreational use, competition and even for work. It’s not just about how a saddle fits a horse.  It’s also about how it functions and therefore affects the horse and rider. This is where the equine ergonomist comes in.

The Equine Ergonomist

Through considering the horse, the rider and the saddle, they are able to assess the whole picture. Utilising proper ergonomic design should help to prevent injuries that could develop over time. This in turn could result in an equine eventually becoming unusable as a riding horse. Have you dealt with a horse that has issues with being saddled?  Or has been sore because of a poor saddle fit?

This is where the equine ergonomist should be utilised. A vet or an equine massage therapist may be able to indicate where a horse is sore.  They can also determine that a poor fitting saddle is the culprit. An equine ergonomist however, can help to address this issue and find a solution.

It’s exciting to think that further studies are being done on varying equine fields. I love too that gaining a qualification to work with these incredible animals is becoming an increasing possibility. If your passion is saddle fitting and function, then why not a career as an equine ergonomist?

Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Anne Paterson

There’s a list on Goodreads that identifies horse books that are always free – score! Love and Muddy Puddles was on the list, so of course I tottered over to Amazon to download and read it.

Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Anne Peterson

Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Anne Peterson

Coco Franks is turning thirteen soon and it seems that life might suddenly be turning out ok. Coco feels she has been living in the shadow of her twin, Charlie. Charlie is athletic, makes friends easily and is good at school.

Coco feels that her only worthy skill is dressing well and highlighting her beauty through the appropriate hair and makeup. She is rapt when it is noticed by the coolest girls in school – Saffron and Tiger Lily. Coco becomes a part of their group in time, although it means distancing herself from her best friend, Samantha. Both girls agree it’s for their common good – in time maybe Coco can help Samantha rise in popularity status.

And just as soon as things are looking up, they take a dive downwards. An unexpected announcement from her father leaves Coco reeling. The family are moving from the hustle and bustle of the city. They’re moving to Budgong, New South Wales where they will live on an acreage – in a shed whilst their house is built.

Although this is a horse story, horses don’t feature until about halfway through the book. Coco’s character is a very superficial, self absorbed person who genuinely doesn’t realise it. As she is forced to make new friends in the country, she does a lot of growing and changing.

And ultimately it is first a horse that is misunderstood by others that helps her to do this. In time Coco realises that her friends back in the city are truly mean and superficial – not worth having at all. This is with some help with her brutally honest twin and a straight talker named James who lives next door.

Love and Muddy Puddles was a really enjoyable read. In spite of Coco’s obvious flaws, she was a realistic character and a likeable protagonist. The way the horses were woven into the story worked nicely, too.

Author: Cecily Anne Paterson
Fiction – teens
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Free Equine Courses at CAFRE: Health, Nutrition and Behaviour

Well my favourites for providing free equine courses are at it once again!  A recent tweet from one of the equine industry trainers alerted me to this fact.  CAFRE have upcoming free courses in equine health, equine nutrition and also equine behaviour. Ready to sign up? 🙂

Perhaps you’d like further details:

  1. Clinical equine nutrition – running from April 12, enrol by April 5th!
  2. Introduction to Equine Health – May 24th, register by May 17th
  3. Managing Equine Health – July 5th, enrol by June 28th
  4. Equine Behaviour and Welfare – August 16th starting date, enrol by August 9th
Free Equine Courses - what Topic would Interest you?

Free Equine Courses – what Topic would Interest you?

Free Equine Courses at CAFRE

All of the free equine courses are run online over a four week period. I have undertaken many CAFRE courses online and the layout is generally the same.

You’re provided with some interesting and informative PowerPoints that often have a voiceover on them. Learning objectives are outlined, discussed and summarised. For each topic there is a test that you have three chances at completing. The idea is to gain the best score you possibly can.

For everyone who undertakes all of the tests successfully, you are issued an electronic certificate.  This is to indicate that you undertook the course. Perhaps you’re looking to increase your knowledge and also gain some horse related certificates. Or maybe you want a refresher course. Perhaps, you’re looking to connect with other horse people who are also interested in these topics.

Whatever the reason, these courses are great to undertake! You have access to the materials and can do them in your own time, as long as you complete the tests by the specified date. For someone who is raising two young children, I have found I could dedicate enough time to complete the courses before the end date. And I’ve always learned something!

Strides to Success, Equine Assisted Learning

Recently Blair McKissock, the Director of Education for Strides to Success was profiled on Equus Education. I wanted to take a closer look at this horse educational organisation. Strides to Success have a simple motto:

The Logo for Strides to Success, an Equine Assisted Learning Non-Profit Organisation

The Logo for Strides to Success, an Equine Assisted Learning Non-Profit Organisation

“Learning. Leading. Living.”

A non-profit organisation, Strides to Success is a facility that is accredited through PATH. This facility works as a resource for many: families, individuals, organisations schools and mental health professionals.

It provides information for anyone who is seeking to utilise authentic learning experiences.  There is a focus on character development and leadership qualities.

Strides to Success, Equine Assisted Learning

I love that horses can be used to help with this! Set in the United States, Strides creates custom programs for those in need. The sessions incorporate equine assisted learning. There is also the option for workshops to be held at their facilities and for online learning.

If you’re interested in the events they offer, then there is a page for this on their website. Perhaps you love this idea and want to help it move forward, then you can donate.

If you’re in the United States and interested in pursuing an equine assisted learning career, then it may be worth looking into Strides. Maybe you’re close enough to volunteer your time and also your enthusiasm. Or perhaps you can inquire of their skills and knowledge to gain ideas for your future horse career. There are often people who have gone before you in the horse industry that can make your career journey that little bit easier. Make the effort to reach out, connect and also learn all you can! It will only benefit you.

“For many young girls, having a horse of their own ranks high on the scale of importance, right up there with breathing.” ― Kim Meeder

The Ultimate Equine Image Site

Have you considered the idea of stock photo sites? Or more specifically, a stock photo site that focuses on horses? I believe this could work as a horse related career. And why? Because there are many markets out there where an equine image needs to be bought and utilised:

  • For horse blogs and articles
  • On horse book covers
  • Horse photos for educational resources
  • On logos for horse businesses
  • Horse images for screen savers and desktop backgrounds

An Equine Image Platform

Going that one step further, I believe that there is room for an equine image platform. What would be offered on this? Images for the abovementioned points. But on top of this, there could be access to a certain number or type of images for a monthly fee.

People can also gain access to tools that can help them to develop images. For example, they could download an image for their next horse book cover. Then they could use tools offered online to add in a title, author’s name and other book details. They could even add other images or effects to the photo, ultimately creating their book cover online.

Would you Utilise an Equine Image you could Personalise Online?

Would you Utilise an Equine Image you could Personalise Online?

The same could be said for magazine covers and Pinterest images for a blog post or website page. It would also be possible to create horse logos for a business.

The general idea is that this platform provides the horse images and the capability to turn these photos into a graphic for professional use. There are many horse businesses out there with an online presence. Having one place they could go online to find appropriate photos and generate graphics could be something they’re willing to pay a monthly fee for.

On a side note, you could also encourage photographers to submit stock that could be sold at a flat rate and they receive a commission. You earn and they earn. Another equine passive income streams possibility!

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

This is one story that I am sorry to say has taken me so long to read! It is a hilarious read told from the point of view of the $700 Pony’s owner.

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony by Ellen Broadhurst

In the Further Adventures of the $700 Pony, we are introduced to a husband and wife pair early one morning as their dream property is being worked on. The couple have two children under the age of five, an awful lot of chickens, ‘Psycho-mutt’ – a lab-cross canine and a $700 Pony who is often referred to as Herself.

In time the $700 Pony is relocated to their slice of heaven after the issue of confinement is solved. This in itself is a rather amusing story as the $700 Pony’s owner determines appropriate fencing to confine two children under five and at other times a pony. When you consider that the fencing can be electrified, does it cause concern for you, too?

The reader is quickly introduced to how the $700 Pony came to be and the grand plans for her riding career. Of course, this requires travel, which is a lot of fun with a directionally challenged owner –

‘Basically, I’m one of those people who still has difficulty with the “left” and “right”, let alone east, west, south and whatever the last one is.’

Introduce in time a second horse – or rather, pony – for the non interested children, and things increase in amusement. There are tales of failed showing, eventually successfully loading up a fat, Houdini pony into a trailer, and a town parade on Halloween with said Houdini pony, affectionately know as the Wee Spotted.

The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony is a very amusing tale. It focuses on farm life with a family of four and their exploits whilst owning and caring for animals. There are a lot of amusing tangents.  The story teller takes the reader on many a round about trip through her train of thought. This is a great read for those who love horses, can relate to horse owning and caring problems.  It is also good for those who just plain want a laugh.

Author: Ellen Broadhurst
Fiction – adult
In My Library? As an eBook.
Want it? Get it now on Amazon.

Profile On: Blair McKissock, Director of Education at Strides to Success

Blair McKissock was kind enough to answer some questions about her work with Strides to Success.

Strides to Success Logo

Strides to Success Logo

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
60+ hours of what I do every week is related to horses. This includes direct service with clients, the marketing and training program coordination, proctoring online coursework and facilitating training programs.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Strides to Success in Indiana. My job is to implement and coordinate special programs.  I write the programs up to be published as curricula and resources for the industry, and facilitate the HorseWork Education training program.  I also coordinate the online courses, provide direct service in equine assisted learning and therapy.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes!! If you create a diverse stream of income.  Also, collaborate with other organizations in your area, do your homework on the program planning process to accurately match your programs to the needs in your community.  And if you are passionate enough to persevere through the hard stuff.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Certification through a credible program, experience and skill with both horses and humans, good partnership with a barn or barn of your own, desire to never stop learning!

Favourite horse memory?
There are so many it’s hard to choose.  This one in particular was the foundation for the Equiyo-yoga on horseback book so is it special to me.

I had been working with a client with multiple sclerosis.  She would get on her horse and proceed to canter lap after lap. She was very high energy but would never talk about her diminishing ability to maintain balance and her decrease in strength as the disease progresses.

Every lesson it would take her a long time to mellow out and encourage the horse to walk. You could tell that the horse was clearly reflecting the excess energy and whirlwind that must have been in the rider’s head. One day we spent time focusing on breath work and talking about her situation before she even got on.

After she mounted we moved through some basic yogic breathing and posture work so she could feel the horse move under her. She began to talk about her fear related to her decline. As she talked, the horse took a huge breath and immediately the horse calmly walked. Once she acknowledged that she kept herself busy so she intentionally didn’t notice or pay attention to what was going on in her body, things changed between her and the horse. It was amazing to see!

A Workshop at Strides to Success

A Workshop at Strides to Success

Future goals?
My goal is to continue doing what I am doing but take it to the next level. My professional goal is to continue supporting the industry through committee work with professional organizations.  The aim is to develop guidelines so that as we move forward, we will be on the right track to protect the integrity of what we do.  This will help keep both clients and horses safe.

I also want to create more curriculum and resources that have been on the back burner for a while.  As well as take this work and teach more on a regular basis at the University level to help establish academic programs for training and certification.

Currently I teach online courses through Strides to Success including an online therapeutic riding apprentice course.  I want to expand those to make continuing education as affordable and accessible as possible. My hope is that things are set up for the next generation of equine professionals to take the reins and go further than we have dreamed of.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing is that it is just the beginning. We are learning more and more every day about how interaction between horses and humans can be so beneficial to both. There is so much more to learn and explore.  And lots of opportunity for people to jump into this industry and help blaze trails! This can also present quite a challenge to people who are just starting out and are trying to figure out how to get the training and experience they need to do the work safely and effectively.

Every person who hangs a shingle and facilitates equine assisted learning and therapy as their profession represents the entire industry. Since we are growing and becoming recognized, that means we are under ever greater scrutiny.  Therefore we need to take our ethical and professional responsibilities seriously.

There is very little oversight or accreditation within our industry currently. There are organizations beginning to go through that process and things will change. But it is highly recommended to new professionals that they do their homework on those they get training through. There is a great resource on the website on equine assisted learning competencies and guidelines. These can be a great benchmark to compare the content and outcomes of a training you are considering before you invest money.

Debbie Anderson, the executive director of Strides to Success and I spent years working with PATH International.  This was alongside a fabulous team of industry experts to develop those and hope they become a resource for the industry moving forward.


Equine Podcasts as a Business Tool

Recently I attended a friend’s wedding and got talking to the husband of one of the bridesmaids. He made reference to a podcast host and hosting network that he and a mate currently provided – New Pod World Order. This was done at a fee to those who wanted to be able to create a podcasting channel.  In time I got to thinking – equine podcasts!

There are equine channels on YouTube and horse related radio stations. Websites and blogs are numerous. So why not a podcast that relates to horses?

This is another topic that is only limited to your imagination and knowledge. Equine podcasts could build up a large following over time. How great to be able to tune into a particular horse trainer or someone else who is known in a certain field relating to horses? Racing, breeding, nutrition; the list goes on.

Equine Podcasts - Would you Listen?

Equine Podcasts – Would you Listen?

Equine Podcasts

What I love about the idea of a podcast is that you can download the audio file and listen to it later, or again! Perhaps you have a particular horse professional whose knowledge you’re really benefiting from. How great to be able to download their audio files and listen to them in your car or on your iPod later! Perhaps you can even listen to the audio just before you work with or ride your horse. In this way, the information is fresh in your mind for you to implement. Great!

Some people learn better from hearing, rather than reading. And if your eyes don’t like the idea of sitting in front of a computer screen for too long, then equine podcasts may be just for you! Horse information in audio form can be just as beneficial as the written form.

So how can this be turned into an income earner? If you’re providing valuable information, you could charge a fee for the files. People could pay to download the files, or they could pay a monthly subscription fee and have access to any/all files that you record.

Another option is to offer your audio for free, but to promote products within your podcasts. As people gain interest, they can check out these products on your site and purchase them.  An example of a horse related podcasting setup is Strides for Success. Why not check them out?

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