Category Archives: Horse Related

Corey’s Secret Friend by Bonnie Bryant

In the 12th book of the Pony Tails series titled Corey’s Secret Friend, young Corey Takamura finds the dynamics of her household suddenly changed.  With newly divorced parents, Corey isn’t so sure about the idea of her mother dating.  Worse still, her mother is insistent she comes on a date to get to know the man – and his daughter – better.

Corey’s Secret Friend by Bonnie Bryant | Equus Education (Click to buy - affiliate link)
Corey’s Secret Friend by Bonnie Bryant | Equus Education (Click to buy – affiliate link)

Corey finds Alice Lee to be many things that she dislikes: non communicative, rude and not a fan of animals.  She even has the audacity the express her dislike for horses in particular.  The date ends with Corey vowing that she does not like Alice Lee one little bit.  In time as Corey relays the evening to her friends, the three girls find themselves liking Alice less and less.

Corey doesn’t like the fact that her parents are divorced.  But she does appear to be happy with her life.  She has a beautiful pony that she adores and helps her mother to feed and care for him and other animals that they look after for clients.

In amongst all of these chores, Corey finds it hard to balance school homework.  Over time she finds that the tasks she is required to do are being done for her by some secret friend.  Corey is convinced it must be May and Jasmine but her two best friends are insistent that it isn’t.

As Corey continues to vent her frustrations about Alice, the three girls get carried away complaining about her.  They are surprised – and dismayed – when they discover that Alice has overhead every single word.

Corey’s Secret Friend is a great look at horse ownership and care, but more importantly it looks at not judging someone on face value.  Corey learns the importance of giving everyone a go and realises that Alice, too could be a friend if she would just let her.

Author: Bonnie Bryant
Fiction – pre teens / middle grade
In My Library? It is, along with many others in the series.

Merck Manual for Horse Owners

I have been working on the next unit of online resources for some of our equine students at work.  They are looking at physiology of the horse across its various systems.  Digestive, integumentary, reproductive, endocrine, etc.  One website that we have referenced and guided students to a few times is the Merck Manual Veterinary Manual.  The Merck Manual for Horse Owners is a great resource!

It covers many other species of animal, but you can read and learn a lot about horse care as well as the various systems in the horse.  For the different systems within the horse, you can see a diagram that outlines where it is in the horse’s body.  You can also read about ailments that commonly affect said systems.  A valuable online tool!

Whether you are an equine veterinarian, aspire to be or just want to further your knowledge of horse anatomy and physiology, the Merck Manual for Horse Owners looks to be a great online resource.  Be sure to check it out!

Different topics covered include:

  • Description and Physical Characteristics of Horses
  • Selecting and Providing a Home for a Horse
  • Routine Care and Breeding of Horses
  • Behaviour of Horses
  • Blood Disorders of Horses
  • Bone, Joint and Muscle Disorders in Horses

There is much to be explored in the above topics, but that’s not all that is available on the site.  Why not head along to the above link to get caught up in some horse related reading and learning?

“He’s of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger…. he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.” ― William Shakespeare

Secret Heart (Hearts of Three Rivers #4) by Amity Lassiter

I downloaded Secret Heart recently when searching for free horse related books on Amazon.  This story focuses on single mother Layla, her son Mason and the man who is the father of her child, Nate.

Layla has grown up in a family that takes whatever they can get.  They are lazy and willing to work the system to get ‘paid’ so that they can live the luxurious life they desire.  Desperate to get out from under this stigma of her family, Layla works hard to provide for her son and keep her run down rental in working order. She is happy to fly under the radar with two close friends – her baby sitter and the grandmother of her son.

Secret Heart by Amity Lassiter | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Secret Heart by Amity Lassiter | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Nate has been living a fast life on the rodeo circuit, a well known bull rider.  But one bad ride brings all he has achieved crashing down around him.  Suddenly he has no riding career and a damaged body.  On top of this, he loses his land, his horses and his nerve for riding bulls.  Nate returns to the town of Three Rivers with his tail between his legs and no idea what to do now.

Running into Layla reminds him of the time they’d had before he went off on the rodeo circuit.  Layla is desperate to keep the fact that she has a son away from Nate.  This gets harder as she finally agrees to a date with the bull rider and finds that there is potential for future dates.

Secret Heart was an entertaining read about two people investing in each other in spite of thinking they don’t have a lot to offer.  Horses featured lightly but not to the extent that I would have liked.  That said, the book was an enjoyable read.

Author – Amity Lassiter
Fiction – Western Romance for Adults
In my library – a digital copy.

Profile On: Sherie Vermeer, Equi-Spa

I was recently approached by Sherie from Equi-Spa about a post on Equus Education. She was kind enough to answer some questions about her horse business/career.

What is it exactly that you do?
We create and manufacture premium, spa quality, non toxic, botanical, horse care and grooming products. I, Sherie Vermeer, founded Equi-Spa, LLC in 2008. I was the Iowa state entrepreneur of the year and I won a grant from the government to help me setup and market this business.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, we have been doing this for 15 years and the business has grown slowly through word of mouth.  Lately we have upgraded the website and are working hard to focus our marketing through social media and various forms of digital marketing.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
In 2003 I had 2 pregnant mares.  At the same time West Nile Virus was migrating from east to west leaving dead horses, dogs and people it its wake.  Desperate to protect my family, I bought strong DEET products and sprayed them on everyone including myself.  Especially sprayed my mares so kind of a double dose for me as I had sprayed myself then sprayed them well.  I got DEET poisoning from this.  I became very ill and also a bit panicky as I realized that I had sprayed a dangerous chemical on my pregnant mares!!!

I had been certified in Aromatherapy by Aveda Corp over 10 years prior. So I started looking for chem-free products to protect my family and horses.  I searched and searched the Internet and could find nothing but citronella. That was not good enough.  So I decided to make a non-toxic spray based in Aromatherapy.  There were a lot of rejects but I finally settled on a formula.  Peppermint was key because Bugs HATE it, Catnip for mosquitoes, and other essential oils to address as many hot weather pests as possible.

Profile On: Sherie Vermeer, Equi-Spa | Equus Education
Profile On: Sherie Vermeer, Equi-Spa | Equus Education

My Flagship product Peppermint Summer Protection was born!  I then tried it on my horses; they were calmer, they were fly free.  I decided to start a website… at that time they were pretty simple and primitive.  Within days I got my first order!  My husband brought me flowers to celebrate!  I decided to make all my own products and settled on the name Equi-Spa as it completely defined what I was doing.  Over the years I have added product to fill a void or create a solution, from tangled manes to addressing a disease called sweet itch.   I looked for other places to market my products and found a couple of mail order companies were eager to try them.   I also went to horse shows and horse fairs, set up a booth and people came.  They were drawn by the amazing aromas of the products.  It became a very busy life.

I was gone every weekend.  Since I was doing all the blending, filling and packaging myself I was exhausted. I finally decided a couple of years ago to just focus on an online presence.  I upgraded my website several times and found people who are much better at that and marketing than I so I can concentrate on making Equi-Spa products.

Favourite horse memory?
Gosh so many!  One of my most recent favorite memories was adopting Missy, a retired racehorse and former broodmare.  You can read Missy’s story.  She has been awesome and brave.  She came injured from the trailer ride from California, but is progressing along with her recovery.  In the process we have formed a strong bond. A close second is the day my dressage horse Francesca and I competed in her first show and won the class with a 71.25%.

Future goals?
We would like to grow and expand Equi-Spa.  Become a global brand and also become an ambassador for adopting the many Off The Track Thoroughbreds who find themselves needing a new home at the end of their career.  They still have so much to give and are amazing horses.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about my profession is the ability to provide a means of helping people with their horses. People are drawn to Equi-Spa because of the amazing aromatherapy benefits, or because they want a chemical free life for themselves and their animals.  Also we have been able to bring relief to many horses with our products.  We help people find solutions to many common horse related care and health issues.

Pammy’s Story (Serenity Stables Prequel) by Wendy Nickel

I can’t say that I was familiar with the Serenity Stables series by Wendy Nickel.  But if you’re going to start a series, a prequel is a great place to start, surely!  So it’s lucky I downloaded Pammy’s Story recently on Kindle! This is a great introduction to a horse series.

Pammy's Story (Serenity Stables Prequel) by Wendy Nickel | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Pammy’s Story (Serenity Stables Prequel) by Wendy Nickel | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Pammy has a horse rescue property.  The reader is introduced to this older woman who has quite a history behind her.  Through the prequel the reader learns that horses have been a consistent in Pammy’s life, even if men and other people haven’t been.  There is one horse that started it all, a beautiful mare named Serenity.  In this prequel, Pammy mourns the loss of her beautiful equine friend.

Like many horse people, Pammy starts her day before sunup.  In this story there are two geldings on her doorstep quite literally, seeking their food.  Although this is an endearing trait, Pammy knows they should be safely secured in their paddock.

A simple trip down the driveway to inspect their large paddocks shows Pammy the item of concern – a bottom gate completely off its hinges.  Through a simple task of returning two geldings to their paddock and also feeding the other equines on the rescue property, the reader learns much about Pammy’s desire to make life better – for horses and people alike.

Many people cause harm to horses and other animals through sheer ignorance.  Partner this with pride as well as a desperate desire to keep animals that aren’t really affordable for some people, and you find a difficult client for welfare workers.  Pammy is battling this in particular with one woman who insists on keeping more horses than she can afford to look after.

And so starts the focus of this series as the prequel ends with Pammy starting a journey toward a woman whom she hopes to convince to relinquish her many struggling horses.  Pammy’s Story is an interesting introduction that has left me curious to read the series.

Author – Wendy Nickel
Fiction – horse rescue
In my library – it is as an eBook!

Mareternity Smarty Rugs – Broodmare Specific Horse Rugs

I’ve been helping to develop a resource at work for a horse breeding course.  We were discussing different types of rugs for a subject where students are learning about grooming and rugging.  I mentioned the interest for horse breeding students to learn about rugs that didn’t have back leg straps that foals could get caught up in whilst nursing from a mare.  Cue: mareternity rugs.

Mareternity by Smarty Rugs | Equus Education
Mareternity by Smarty Rugs | Equus Education

I think I have been told from a colleague previously about New Zealand rugs that are great for this reason.  It was through researching this online that I came across the mareternity clothing by Smarty Rugs.

If you have a look at the above link you can see the unique design of these rugs.  They cover the horse’s front, back and hindquarters well but take a steep climb towards the mare’s flank area.  “Made for the nursing broodmares, cut away so the foal is not fighting the rug to get a drink.”

A unique idea but one that I can see as very fitting for broodmare owners that want to provide an extra layer of warmth but not be concerned about the foal’s capability to nurse without issues.  This appears to be an Australian setup, but chances are there are other companies out there that address this issue for horse owners outside of Australia.

“My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my friends under the apple trees.” ― Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Starling Sanctuary by Hannah Conrad

I recently downloaded Starling Sanctuary on Kindle.  This short story explores rescuing horses that would otherwise be sold for slaughter.  It follows the daily life of Laney Matthews as someone who rescues horses and tends to their daily needs.

Starling Sanctuary by Hannah Conrad | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Starling Sanctuary by Hannah Conrad | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Although the story has a good topic, the length doesn’t seem to allow it to explore in detail what is involved in rescuing and caring for horses.  The reader gets to hear about Laney feeding horses and working with them but there is no detail about what they get fed or what she does when working with the horses.

The idea of rehoming horses instead of them being slaughtered is great and this is explored a bit.  The process doesn’t seem to be fully explored and assuring that owners are suitable owners doesn’t appear to come into the equation.

The topic of quarantine is raised also and although it is applied to the horses needing rehoming, it isn’t applied to the first three horses that Laney acquires in the novel which doesn’t seem fitting.

Starling Sanctuary is a short read that is fast paced and full of horses.  I’d have enjoyed it even more if it had given a little more detail rather than general horse statements.

Author: Hannah Conrad
Fiction – horse rescue
In my library? As an eBook it is!

EquinePay a Follow On from VetPay?

I was chatting with a lady at church recently who was telling me of some health issues her cat had.  The medication and treatment that were required were only made possible through a setup known as VetPay.  As she explained it to me, they paid her vet bills and then she paid them back fortnightly, little by little, interest free until she had paid off the whole amount. And of course I got to thinking, why not a setup like EquinePay?

EquinePay a Follow On from VetPay? | Equus Education
EquinePay a Follow On from VetPay? | Equus Education

It could work similarly.  A horse may need medication or an operation due to an issue with its health – let’s say colic, laminitis or something else.  The overall amount may be a bit much for a horse owner to pay in one lump sum.  Cue: EquinePay.

The full amount is paid to the veterinarian.  Then over time with regular payments, the horse owner pays back what was first dished out for the health of their beloved equine.  This is done interest free.

I could imagine something like this working well in Australia, but even more so in third world countries where horse health and welfare is at times very limited.  Having a business that works with local veterinarians and helps to fund horse care and operations could greatly increase the quality of life for many equines.

Of course, this would need to be funded by someone who had access to plenty of finances and a heart for horses.  But who’s to stop that from being a possibility?  Perhaps in your future horse career, you can partner with others to setup something like this that will make horse care and operations more affordable to horse owners.  It’s worth a thought!

50 Things to Know about Caring for Your Horse on a Budget by Amanda Wills

I downloaded 50 Things to Know about Caring for Your Horse on a Budget recently on kindle. This book is a part of a series of books that provide 50 tips in relation to various things: saving money, eating healthy, and so on.  Of course, this one was of interest to me because it relates to horses!  It should be noted that this author is not the same Amanda Wills who writes the Riverdale series.

50 Things to Know About Caring for Your Horse on a Budget by Amanda Wills | Equus Educatuion (Click to buy)

You can definitely learn a lot about horses from people who have had them for a long time.  The same can be said about authors who write about horses because they know them.  And so this short non fiction horse book is a wealth of information that is factual and practical.

Readers are provided with tips on various ways to save money whilst owning and looking after horses.  There are some very simple but effective tips – like purchasing a horse in the winter months when they’re likely to cost that much less.  And then there’s the simple suggestion to use bailing twine that comes on your bales of hay for quick fixes, to tie up horses with and other various suggestions.

Overall the book provides advice on how to reuse different items that you will have in your life as a horse owner.  It also talks about how to save by buying items in bulk – like hay, by buying at particular times of the year and by purchasing second hand.  The chapters are short, to the point and of benefit.  For the horse owner – or soon to be horse owner – this book could save you a lot of money in the long run.  Recommended reading.

Author: Amanda Wills
Non Fiction – horse budgeting
In My Library? As an eBook!

The Cryptic Caper by Doug Olsen

For those who like a quick, easy read, the Cryptic Caper may be of interest.  I downloaded it for free on Kindle recently under a search of the word horse.  This is a short horse racing mystery.  Now when it comes to horse racing mysteries, I typically think of Dick Francis.  Though Bev Pettersen does a great job of mixing horse racing romances with mystery.  The Cryptic Caper is a short story that wraps things up nicely.

The Cryptic Caper by Doug Olsen (click to buy) | Equus Education
The Cryptic Caper by Doug Olsen (click to buy) | Equus Education

Although the story is based around horse racing and betting on races, it doesn’t really feature horses at all.  There is reference to the racetrack and horse’s names in the races but that’s about as far as the horse sections of the book go.

The book is an easy read that looks at the interactions between a writer who likes to solve mysteries, some bettors who make a living from racehorse odds and the bigwigs who have a lot of connections in town and a lot of money to bet on sure things.

Horse races are being thrown and it’s interesting to read about the way the message is presented to particular bettors.  The cryptic way the message is displayed was not one I had read about.

Doug Olsen’s bio indicates that he writes short stories that can be read and neatly wrapped up within half an hour.  The Cryptic Caper fits into that description nicely.  I would have loved to see more reference to the horse industry as it only appears on a superficial level.  That said, there was nothing incorrect or inconsistent about the horse aspects, which was nice to read.

Author – Doug Olsen
Fiction – mystery, stort story
In my library – as a kindle