Category Archives: Horse Related

Derby Dreams by Chris Platt

The 10th book in the Ashleigh books of the Thoroughbred Series is titled Derby Dreams.  Young Ashleigh Griffen still has dreams to be a great jockey when she is older.  Her parents’ thoroughbred breeding farm is a great joy to take part in.  The only way things could get better is if they were actively involved in the racing side of the industry.

Derby Dreams by Chris Platt | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Derby Dreams by Chris Platt | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Ashleigh’s parents share with their three children that they have purchased a racehorse with the view to breed from him in the near future.  Ashleigh is ecstatic – a racehorse of their very own!  And the young colt in question is a beautiful horse, well conformed and with a great personality.  Ashleigh is smitten right from the start.  But when the seller of the colt appears to be reneging on the agreement she is devastated to think that the idea of owning a racehorse will disappear as quickly as it arrived.

Mr and Mrs Griffen plan to utilise the colt for breeding as well as racing if they are to secure him.  This is in a bid to recuperate some of the large sum that they spent to secure the horse.  The first race that Renegade runs in for his new owners is promising.  Ashleigh suddenly has grand designs of a derby win.  But very quickly her dreams start to fall to pieces.  Renegade’s breeding ability is put into question and then his capability to race well.

Ashleigh can’t understand how such exciting news – and a promising horse – could suddenly all turn bad.  She has a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with the gentleman who sold them the horse.  And yet, she cannot find any proof or even understand what has occurred.

In Derby Dreams Ashleigh and her best friend Mona take on a little detective work to solve the mystery around the Griffen’s new racehorse.  The book is an entertaining read with just a few horsey aspects that I would question but this may be due to differences in the US thoroughbred breeding world and what I know in Australia.

Author – Chris Platt, series created by Joanna Campbell
Fiction – pre-teen
In my library – that it is!

Horses of the Sun by Leanne Owens

The first book in the Outback Riders series, Horses of the Sun has siblings Matthew, Lani and Dane discussing what they will do with their cousin Amy who is coming to stay with them – for a whole year.  Youngest Matthew wants to put a large brown snake – one of the deadliest snakes in Australia – in her bed as a welcome gift.  Ever the voice of reason Dean concludes they can play a prank but it shouldn’t be dangerous.

Horses of the Sun by Leanne Owens | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Horses of the Sun by Leanne Owens | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Their mother encourages them to think of ways they can make Amy feel welcome.  And yet, the siblings can’t help but feel anxious about her arrival.  And when the older teen comes to their property made up of thousands of hectares from her life in the city, the three struggle to feel welcoming or charitable.  This is especially so when they discover that Amy hates horses.  How can anyone hate horses?

The three try hard to be friendly but Lani soon finds she’d rather give Amy a hard time.  Dane is a little more successful at playing amicably but it’s young Matthew who actually manages to get through to Amy.  And although the three start to get along, Amy is hiding an incredible secret from them.

In time the teen is coaxed into the saddle and the brothers and sister giggle at her inability to rise at the trot in spite of her persistent tries.  The three take her on a tour of their property and share a story about Legend’s Leap, a four metre jump from one rocky area to another with a gorge between the two.

Amy cannot believe that anyone could make that jump on a horse and yet her cousins are insistent that their great grandfather achieved it many years earlier.  As much as Amy cannot believe the incredible feat, she finds that in time she is tested to do the same when a horrible accident results in the lives of her uncle, aunt and youngest cousin hanging in the balance. Amy’s move to live with her cousins has cost her so much.  And yet it seems that drawing close to this family may be the only way to realise what is important in life.  Horses of the Sun is fast paced and features horses highly.  An entertaining read.

Author: Leanne Owens
Fiction – teenagers
In My Library? As an ebook it is.

My StableGuard for Horse Observation

StableGuard is an interesting setup for people who own horses. This was another horse related product that I recently came across through our learning content at work.  This mobile device equine monitoring and alert system allows you to have your eye on your horse at any time of the day.  There are live stream feeds of your horse in its stall and even the chance to play back their activity.

As it says on the My StableGuard site, “StableGuard improves your show performance by helping keep your horses healthy and injury free.”

My StableGuard for Horse Observation | Equus Education
My StableGuard for Horse Observation | Equus Education

For any unusual behaviour in the horse’s stall, horse owners are notified. You are able to keep track of how horses are eating, drinking and sleeping.  You can have the application setup on your mobile and receive emergency alerts in relation to your horse’s wellbeing.

This can further be of benefit by providing live stream access to your horse at a show. This could negate the need for staff to carry out night checks on stock at shows.  StableGuard allows you to check on a horse from a mobile device, at any time. Great!  It makes use of “specialized Artificial Intelligence software to help monitor the health and security of horses.”

There really are some incredible tools to help horse owners ensure their equines are safe and healthy.  My StableGuard seems to be another such incredible creation.  You can learn about installation of the cameras and the setup within stables at the site as well as the application and how this works on your phone.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.” ― William Shakespeare

The Palomino Mystery by Ann Sheldon

The first in the Linda Craig series is The Palomino Mystery.  This tale follows the story of Linda and Bob Craig.  They are living with their grandparents on their ranch after the loss of their parents.  Linda is rapt to hear that her grandfather intends to find her a palomino of her very own.

The Palomino Mystery by Ann Sheldon | Equus Education
The Palomino Mystery by Ann Sheldon | Equus Education

In their search for a beautiful golden horse, Linda and Bob learn about some mysterious lights that are seen along the local flight path.  They are only seen however on extremely dark nights.  Linda and Bob are curious about what the lights could possibly mean.  Are they linked to something nefarious?

When the gentleman who told them about the lights goes missing, it seems the race is on to find him before it’s too late.  When he is found, a new mystery regarding stolen horses arises.

As Linda and Bob seek to find the source of the mysterious lights, they question if it does indeed tie in with the purebred equines that are going missing in the area.  Amongst their travels Linda finds herself hopelessly in love with a palomino filly.  In time she is rapt at the possibility of securing the filly as her own but this goes out the window as the mysterious horse thieves strike and her filly is gone.

Suddenly the lights and missing horses become the Palomino Mystery as Linda and Bob work to find the gorgeous filly that has been taken.  As they piece things together, the palomino filly helps them in many ways and it is because of this horse that Linda and Bob are able to wrap up an unusual mystery.  The first book in this series is an interesting read where horses feature highly.

Author – Ann Sheldon
Fiction – teenagers
In my library – that it is!

Faecal Egg Count Workshop in North East Victoria

I love any free horse related event and especially love sharing information about them.  Perhaps you’re able to go to one because someone’s taken the time to share that information.  One of interest particularly for people in my local area is an upcoming Faecal Egg Count Workshop.

Free Event: Faecal Egg Count Workshop | Equus Education
Free Event: Faecal Egg Count Workshop | Equus Education

The event is to be held in Wangaratta, Victoria Australia on Monday, March 18, 2019. As the Facebook event states:

  • Learn how to carry out a Faecal Egg Count
  • Interpret the results and what this means for you and your horse moving forward
  • Presented by Allison Arnott of Ovens Valley Equine

This event runs from 6.30pm – 8.30pm, with 6pm arrival time encouraged.  It’s hosted by North East & Surrounds Equine Land Care.  As an added bonus, the event is free and light refreshments are provided.

The practice for worming horses used to be to do it often – say each season.  Then there was a focus on rotating the active ingredient in wormers.  Now it’s encouraged to carry out a faecal egg count on horses.  This involves a sample of manure and determining how many eggs from worms are within the manure.

Based on this, it is then determined if it’s necessary to worm a horse. In this way, only horses considered to have a sizeable worm burden are wormed. This is in the hopes of discouraging worms building up resistance to active ingredients in worming pastes.

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

I became aware of the Morgan breed of horse only through a girl at TAFE by the same name.  I thought it was rather cool that she could have a breed of horse that shared her name!  Morgan horses are not a breed that I believe is well known in Australia.  That said, it was really interesting to learn about the start of the breed in Marguerite Henry’s book, Justin Morgan Had a Horse.

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry | Equus Education (Click to buy)
Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Justin Morgan is a teacher who has a bit of debt behind him.  The story starts with him having completed a long travel on foot with a young boy named Joel.  The two are seeking out Farmer Beane who owes Justin a sum of money that will help him to pay his debts.

Unfortunately times are tough and all that Farmer Beane can offer the schoolmaster is two horses.  One is a good looking, sturdy colt.  The other appears a runt and doesn’t appeal to Justin or any others who come across his path.  And yet, young Joel is drawn to him.

Although Justin doesn’t care for the runt of a colt, he finds himself soon the owner of the pair and Joel is delighted to be able to invest his time and energy in the colt.  Their long walk back home to Vermont provides ample time for him to build a bond with the young male horse.  And in time Joel is rapt to be asked to gentle the horse, starting him under saddle.  Little Bub as he is affectionately known proves himself as a fast horse, although he may not be much to look at.

And so starts the journey of the little horse that will later be known as Justin Morgan.  When pitted against other horses – draughts, racehorses and various breeds, he consistently proves himself.  Although Joel doesn’t own the horse, he is proud as can be of the little colt that grows into a fine stallion.  And in time, many, many years later Joel is able to restore the horse to what he once was when he became a fine stallion.  Justin Morgan Had a Horse is a really interesting read about the establishment of this American breed of horse.

Author – Marguerite Henry
Non Fiction – children, history
In my library – that it is.

The Very Worst Riding School in the World by Lucinda E. Clarke

I downloaded the Very Worst Riding School in the World recently on Kindle.  What a title for a book!  Interestingly, it is a short story that is a retelling of factual events.  It seems that Lucinda has loved horses from a young age.  And yet, in spite of her fascination with the beautiful animal, she admits that they are intimidating.  And although she desires to have horses and do well with them, it seems that her lessons only highlight how much she doesn’t know.

The Very Worst Riding School in the World | Equus Education (Click to buy).
The Very Worst Riding School in the World | Equus Education (Click to buy).

And yet in spite of this, it seems that there is a need for a riding school in the area where Lucinda lives.  She and her husband with their children find themselves in Africa in an area that may have horses, but doesn’t have a riding school.  As Lucinda’s husband acquires a couple of horses for her, she goes on a journey learning about how to feed them and care for them.

As the story is retold, there are obvious moments where horse people will be cringing and shaking their heads.  When Lucinda’s well meaning husband finds some land for them to keep the horses on, it seems that more horses are acquired in exchange for using the land.  And these horses are far from in prime condition.  And so the herd grows and the need to deal with serious neglect issues arises.

For someone who has barely learned the basics about horse care, suddenly locals are wanting her to teach their children to ride.  And so starts the very worst riding school in the world.

This retelling is a short read and only touches on how the riding school is first started.  To find out about how things progress, the reader is encouraged to sign up to Lucinda’s mailing list so that they can gain exclusive access to the next book in the series.  The first book was interesting and it was refreshing to see that the author could acknowledge their lack of expertise in the area of caring for horses.  It was good too to see that she sought out advice from those more in the know, but I can see how the riding school could very easily turn into a negative setup in a case of the blind leading the blind.

Author – Lucinda E. Clarke
Non Fiction – adult
In my library – on Kindle it is.

Profile On: Shaniah Dye, Blue Poppies Equine

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I dedicate everyday of my week to horses.  Whether it’s from making halters from my Blue Poppy Equines product line or exercising/running clinics with my own and client horses.  This is to further the education of other horse lovers who want a better relationship with their equine partner.

Profile On: Shaniah Dye, Blue Poppy Equines | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
My business was originally started to provide correctly fitted halters for my horses as I have cross breeds which standard halters wouldn’t fit properly. After a few months I became aware that there were so many other horse enthusiasts in the world with the same problem, that’s when I made my business available to the wider community by advertising through Facebook @BluePoppyEquines and by travelling when doing clinics I’d promote my products which has helped immensely and kick started the future of my business’ success.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
At this very point in time as my business has only been operating for a year it isn’t possible to earn a liveable income.  But it is a future goal for myself, with word getting out more and more I believe it will become my full time professional job and will provide a liveable income.  Until then I do have my family’s support who have been helping me out where necessary.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
There are no specific steps that need to be taken to become employed in such a role.  It truly only takes dedication and determination. I knew from get go that this was what I wanted to do and without the proper attitude I knew it wouldn’t be possible.

My advice to anyone wanting to begin their own business is to pick what exactly it is they want to do and stick to it because anything is possible as long as they are dedicated and determined.

Shaniah and her Mare, Poppy | Equus Education
Shaniah and her Mare, Poppy | Equus Education

Favourite horse memory?
My absolute favourite horse memory would be back in 2013 when I rescued my Appaloosa mare Poppy from the sale yards. She was just skin and bone at the time and had obviously been severely mistreated. I dedicated years to rehabilitating and teaching her that not all people are cruel, we very quickly became inseparable and only exceeded the expectations of everyone around us.

I’d never take back the experiences I’ve learnt from this amazing horse, I still own her to this day and am even able to ride her. I love her more and more everyday for giving me the opportunity to show her how she originally should’ve been treated and for being willing to let another person in her life. Poppy is also the inspiration for the name of my business.

Another favourite horse memory I have is back in 2018 when I competed in the Australian Brumby Challenge. This competition consisted of having 150 days to fully train a completely wild Brumby from the national parks across Victoria and NSW. I was given a Brumby from Kosciusko National Park named VBA Ariat.

The experience was very full on mentally and physically, there were times when I wanted to quit and times when I felt I was on top of the world. I loved every second of the competition in the end and was fortunate enough to be awarded with The Judges Choice Award at the finals held at Equitana in Melbourne. I am now the proud trainer and owner of VBA Ariat.

Future goals?
My future goals for Blue Poppy Equines is to have my products available in every state and territory of Australia, eventually expanding internationally to other countries.

My personal goals are to continue to further my education so I can continue to help other horse enthusiasts. I’d also like to finish building my equine facilities so people can come and experience the joy of learning new things with their horses.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about my profession and sport is the simple fact that I get to spend my life with the animals and people I love.

Jill’s Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson

In the first of the Jill books, young Jill is an only child living with her sole parent, her mother.  Money is tight and although Jill dreams of having and riding a pony of her own, she feels it is just that – a dream.  And the idea of taking part in a gymkhana is her ultimate dream – Jill’s gymkhana.  The young girl’s mother is a writer and when she receives some unexpected royalties, Jill is rapt to find that her mother gifts some of this money to her.

Jill’s Gymkhana by Ruby Ferguson | Equus Education (Click to buy)

Coincidentally, there is a beautiful piebald pony up the road and the owner is keen to sell him.  Jill is disheartened at the idea of having twenty five pounds to purchase him.  That is, until her mother’s royalties are received.  Suddenly having a pony of her own isn’t so far out of reach.

But of course there is the cost of his health care and food.  And riding a pony requires a saddle and bridle.  Jill soon finds that although she acquires riding gear from the pony’s previous owner, it doesn’t make her a capable rider.  So Jill fumbles about on the pony Black Boy, finding it nowhere near as exciting as she imagined it.  In fact, it’s hard work and just plain confusing.

With the local gymkhana on, Jill attends, eager to glean any information she can that may help her.  A chance meeting with a gentleman in a wheelchair finds Jill with a new confidant.  Martin is a horseman through and through.  With his guidance and knowledge, Jill finds herself going on an incredible learning journey.

Jill’s Gymkhana looks at the things that first time horse owners must learn.  She is given no short cuts and has to work hard and consistently to learn things the correct way.  Martin is a no nonsense teacher and in a couple of years turns the pre teen into a quite capable young horsewoman.  The first in the Jill books, this one is bound to entertain young horse fans and teach them many things.

Author – Ruby Ferguson
Fiction – children’s
In my library – that it is!

The National Jockeys Trust

A recent look at the Australian Jockey’s Association led to looking at the National Jockeys Trust website. We live in an imperfect world and tragedies happen. For jockeys, this can often come in the way of a fall from a horse that renders them incapable of continuing their riding career.

The National Jockeys Trust | Equus Education
The National Jockeys Trust | Equus Education

Suddenly they are unable to earn a living and it may even impact on a spouse and children. The income earner is now not bringing in funds and the family struggles to meet their daily needs. The National Jockeys Trust has been set up to help families that are in need because of an accident a jockey had whilst race riding.

I love to see initiatives like this. There is a financial need – through not fault of the jockey’s own – and it is met by the generosity of people who provide funds to this trust. The details on the website indicate how much the trust has already been able to help those in need:

The National Jockeys Trust has helped over three hundred jockeys with equipment and resources
to assist them during and after their recovery.

200 riders are injured a year.  $3.3 million in assistance has been provided to seriously injured jockeys and their families.  Apparently 89% of race falls result in the fallen jockey needing assistance.

You can find out more about the statistics on the website.  There are also details of how they help those in need.

This is another opportunity to consider your equine industry and needs that could be met in it. Is there a trust that could be set up to help equine workers that have fallen on hard times due to an accident in the industry? Could the generosity of others help to build up and also meet the needs of an industry?