Study for Battle of Anghiari
Dressage with Mind, Body & SoulMarch 1st, 2013 by Janet
Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul: A 21st Century Approach to the Science and Spirituality of Riding, Training and Competing by Linda Tellington-Jones – Paperback, $34.95
Linda Tellington-Jones’s TTouch methods include a seldom-mentioned underlying benefit: in this era of instant gratification, with the expectation that one need only replace a part – spark plug, battery, heart valve – to achieve a quality performance, Linda’s TTouch method has taught people to slow down and listen to that vehicle they’re riding, the horse.
It’s not enough to tack, warm up and ride off on your horse; there is intrinsic value in time spent working with him on the ground, or in his stall, learning how he feels, how he responds to you. And it gives you the chance to tune in on his wavelength.
In her new book, Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul, Linda concentrates on the dressage horse, as she seeks to release him from physical and emotional tensions with her proven program of handwork, ground work and mounted exercises. What’s interesting here is that she has taken the classical Training Scale, added Balance at the base of the pyramid, and then modified this revised Training Scale to incorporate TTouch exercises.
The book includes warm-up programs that you can tailor to your horse’s needs. Linda uses TTouch methods to remedy problems – like sensitivity to new sights and sounds, stiffness, or unsoundness – working on top level horses with Klaus Balkenhol, Carl Hester, Ingrid Klimke and others. She explains the problem, details how they treated the horse, and then follows his recovery or transformation. Each case is different, and the methods she pulled from her repertoire varied markedly.
Dressage with Mind, Body & Soul includes numerous photos illustrating TTouch techniques and equipment, and showing the evolution of the horses involved. For convenience, there is an appendix reviewing all of the TTouch gestures and related terms.
This book was a bit difficult to get into. Sometimes popular clinicians get so wrapped up in their established image that it obscures the excellent techniques they’ve developed. It was worth persevering to the heart of Linda’s book, though. She offers insights and ideas that will surely help many dressage riders progress with their horses.
Travel Light with a Kobo Mini full of Books!February 12th, 2013 by Janet
Just a quick reminder that our Kobo Mini eReaders are on sale from now till Valentine’s Day! If you’re planning a getaway to someplace sunny and warm, why not pack all your reading into one slim volume? It will slide into your back pocket and be ready for you when you take a break from sight seeing. With their long battery life, Kobos are a godsend when the power goes out – whether it’s another whopping nor’easter or a power failure at the Super Bowl, your trusty Kobo Mini will get you through several books before you have to plug it in.
Normally $79.99, our Minis are just $59.99 until February 14th, or while supplies last. Already have some eBooks on your computer? Chances are you can import them to your nifty little Kobo in a snap. It will hold as many as 1000 books, so stack ‘em up!
You’ll notice that we’ve started adding links to the eBook versions of some of our most popular books on the web site. For a quick check of the links so far, just write “Kobo” in the Search Box in the Shopping area: it will list them, in no particular order… If you don’t see what you’re looking for, check out KoboBooks.com to see what else is there.
Besides being so useful, readable (even in sun glare), and versatile, they’re cute!
Last Minute Sale on Kobo Mini e-Readers!December 21st, 2012 by Janet
It’s down to the wire now. And most of us are counting pennies. You know that Kobo Mini eReader we talked about last month? And the special discount we offered over Thanksgiving? Well, ’tis the season for sales, so we’re doing it again! If you hesitated last time, and maybe you’ve had a chance to browse some of the 3 million titles on the KoboBooks.com web site, you can still get the Mini for a mere $49.99.
Do a search on some of your equestrian wish list, fiction and non-fiction. The new Pony Club C Manual of Horsemanship is there, and books by William Steinkraus, Mark Rashid, Priscilla Endicott (her out of print Taking up the Reins!), Threshold Picture Guides, Talking with Horses by Henry Blake, even Judy Reene Singer’s wonderful but out of print Horseplay. A Kobo Mini could really extend your library without making you find more shelf space.
We’ve partnered with Kobo eReaders!November 19th, 2012 by Janet
While loading books into our trailer for Equine Affaire last week, we received our first stock of Kobo eReaders. Talk about time pressure! We introduced Kobo Minis and Kobo Glos, learning as we showed them to everyone at Equine Affaire. We opened a Kobo.com account via WiFi at the hotel the first evening, and downloaded our first books. Even navigating the hotel’s WiFi, it was a straightforward process.
As a confirmed iPad user, I must say the size and weight of the Kobo Glo and the Kobo Mini were big selling points with me. Holding either one in your hand, you notice immediately how light it is, at just under 5 ounces. The E-Ink screen has is clear and totally glare-free, even in direct sunlight. You can customize the font weight and size settings to get a sharp, readable text that should satisfy eyes of any age!
While Kobo is not well known here in the States, Canadians visiting Equine Affaire lit up when they spotted our display. We closed out the show having sold several Kobo eReaders on their own merit, and despite our novice depth of knowledge.
A real selling point is how convenient these are. They’ll fit in your pocket! Say you’ve been studying Pony Club’s Manual of Horsemanship for adult Horsemasters, or for Pony Club’s D3 rating: download the eBook and take it with you to the barn or unmounted meeting, and leave the book safely at home!
Kobo offers over 3 million eBook titles – including best sellers, some great equestrian titles, and all those books for the non-horsey parts of your life – that can be downloaded instantly over WiFi, making it the ultimate in convenience. Take your library with you wherever you go – Kobo eReaders store up to 1,000 eBooks!
And the best part?
This weekend we have a special offer on Kobo Minis. Friday, November 23rd, and Saturday, November 24th, we are offering Kobo Minis for just $49.99! That’s $30.00 off the regular price.
Don’t miss this special offer! If you’ve been considering an eReader, like the idea of an open system that allows you to transfer eBooks among all your devices, and want to support Independent Bookstores like Knight Equestrian Books, take advantage of this great offer!
(from the usually reined-in, shameless promotion department…)
Equine AffaireNovember 2nd, 2012 by Janet
We’re knee deep in packing boxes at the store this week, as we get ready for Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Our horses lose their rights on their trailer and, instead of 2000 pounds of horse flesh, we fill it with 4000 pounds of books, DVDs and all the shelving that we miraculously convert into a corner bookstore at the Big E!
We are delighted that Nancy Shulins, author of Falling for Eli, has agreed to join us and sign
copies of her book! Nancy will be at our booth Thursday afternoon, from 2-3, and Friday and Saturday mornings from 10-11 and afternoons from 1:30-2:30. Do stop by and meet her. If you can’t be there, we’d be happy to reserve a copy of her book for you so she can sign it. We’ll even send it to you after the show if you can’t make it. By the way, this would be a great choice for gifting to barn friends: her story is one many of us can identify with!
Equine Affaire brings something new each year, with different clinicians and demonstrations. Among the featured speakers, Lynn Palm, Mark Rashid and Julie Goodnight each have recent books. In the field of jumping, Peter Leone’s new Show Jumping Clinic is sure to be popular. There are more new dressage books than I can mention here, although Janet Foy’s Dressage for the (Not so Perfect) Horse was a big hit last weekend at NEDA’s Fall Symposium. New in DVD is a set of 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman, which offers ten incomparable hours of his instruction.
Also hot off the presses is Christian Schacht’s eagerly awaited Sport Horse Conformation. We just added it to our web site, and it’s going to be one of the most popular new books at the show.
We’ll have our usual great selection of kids’ books, fiction, some coffee table choices, and lots of 2013 calendars. Oh, and did I mention the Sale Table?! There are great prices on top notch new books, on jumping, dressage, care, and training. In addition, there are bargains on titles that have overstayed their welcome in the store. Be sure to come early to check out the selection before the good stuff is gone.
As always, if you would like us to bring a specific title you’re curious about, let us know! We’ll bring a copy and set it aside for you. We’ll see you there!
Dressage for the (Not So) Perfect HorseOctober 18th, 2012 by Janet
It’s time to do some major catching up! We have a stack of new books and DVDs on our shelves this fall, and need to share them. Here’s one I’ve just found time to pick up. It was worth the look.
Dressage for the (Not So) Perfect Horse: Riding Through the Levels on the Peculiar, Opinionated, Complicated Mounts We All Love, by Janet Foy
Here in North America, many of us pursue the sport of dressage to some degree, usually on a budget and with the horse we already have – most often, the one we can afford. So we face the challenge of mastering one of the world’s most esteemed equestrian disciplines on horses that may not be bred specifically for the task, or even if they have been, may not be top prospects for any number of reasons.
International dressage judge, clinician, and riding coach Janet Foy has ridden many different horses-different sizes, shapes, colors, and breeds-to the highest levels of dressage competition, and now she has compiled her best tips for training and showing in one highly enjoyable book. Her expertise, good stories and good humor are destined to bring out the best in dressage riders and their “not-so-perfect” horses everywhere.
Early on, with her explanation of the German Training Scale, it’s clear that this is a book “for the rest of us.” Foy links the levels of the Scale/Pyramid together as the image of interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces. Then she describes each level in terms of the biomechanics of the horse: for Suppleness, energy is initiated in the hind legs, and must transfer smoothly over the croup, to the loin (a bridge and source of the horse’s elasticity), forward to the neck, and down both sides of the neck to the contact with the mouth. As riders, we need to picture this energy moving unobstructed down this pathway, and work to clear any obstacles that might impede the energy.
With each level of the Scale addressed and their interrelatedness demonstrated, Foy shows how we should use this knowledge on our particular horse – be he hot, lazy, high-necked, spooky, and so on. It’s all so down to earth! If we never attain even Third of Fourth Level skills with our horses (she carries on training through Grand Prix), Foy has presented her training advice so simply that even those of us not so perfect riders can set our goals a bit higher.
Colic!September 21st, 2012 by Janet
There have been horses here continuously for over forty years now, living in a rather spartan barn, with pasture available 24/7, 365 days a year. We’ve had our share of emergencies, from the young filly who broke through a fence and found an old dug well to fall into (she survived and went on to win a conformation class with her new owner in Virginia) to foot abscesses, cuts and bumps, and the usual ailments of old age.
We keep a first aid kit, generally restocked only when we need to use it. The usual stuff: cotton sheeting, leg wraps, Vetwrap, Easy Boots and a soaking boot, betadine, Epsom salts, Bute, various salves and ointments to sterilize and protect — the usual collection. That tube of Banamine in the fridge? Umm, expiration: 8/08. The last colic here was over twenty years ago.
Until yesterday. Our stoic old Violet wasn’t at roll call for breakfast, and came only reluctantly when I walked out to retrieve her. She just had the “slows,” no heat or lameness, no unusual or silent gut sounds. She was just fine taking that carrot, and breakfast went down with the usual gusto. In fact the only thing that caught my attention was her pale gums. So I left her in her stall with hay and water, to observe.
Four hours later, that stall was still clean as a whistle. Oops, now we have a problem. The hay was gone, and three gallons of water. But still: a clean stall. A call to the vet confirmed administering Banamine, yep the one with the 2008 expiration date. And take her for a walk. Every hour or so, along with a handful of hay. If her plumbing starts working normally, let her out again, but give her a good bran mash with mineral oil in the morning.
Fortunately, this was a apparently a simple textbook colic. She came trotting in for breakfast this morning (“Yuck! that slop is breakfast?!”). But it was a wake-up call to check that first aid kit! And, by the way, to find a good recipe for a tasty bran mash! How much mineral oil? I came up with several questions and no great source for answers. And I have a whole selection of vet care books right at my finger tips in the bookstore!
I searched half a dozen books for realistic ideas on bran mashes before I collected enough information to create a half-way enticing meal (how do you hide a pint of mineral oil???). Fortunately I keep bran in my freezer for occasional human-oriented dishes, so ingredients weren’t the problem. But I was hard pressed to find a good refresher on the process of making a decent mash.
This is how I learn the strengths and weaknesses of the books we carry. When someone asks me to recommend an all around vet book, I always suggest they pick a topic that they’ve had to deal with, and compare how each book treats it. Do your horses regularly encounter ticks? That’s a good topic to choose. Or are you raising youngsters? Do you have a significant other who steps in on barn chores when you’re away, someone who lacks the years of experience that help you make snap decisions in emergencies? Whatever your slant on horses is, this should help you compare and choose the right resource for your needs. (And, if you ask us, we’ll try to do the leg work for you…)
Violet came through this emergency in good shape. But I’m going to go back to the vet books currently in print and see if I can find one which would best address this topic. My old standby from forty years ago is not only outdated: it’s out of print!
Kansas droughts, Maine rainsJuly 12th, 2012 by Janet
It’s been a busy spring! I spent some time out west, in Kansas, last month and was reminded what it was like
to ride section roads and pastures – no pastures with rocks erupting, or tree stumps (okay, some badger and prairie dog holes!), just long, straight, flat distance. What a nice change from the obstacle courses we ride in our Maine terrain. But then, here we have plenty of hills for conditioning… I guess there are trade-offs wherever we ride.
Sunday morning I discovered a little pole bending competition at the county fairgrounds. There is a universal camaraderie of riders and their families at events like this, as familiar as the little jumping and dressage shows here in New England. I found myself wishing a bit of the gung-ho enthusiasm of the pole benders would rub off on our New England riders, and conversely, a bit of our safety-consciousness and pre-show training could be passed on to the pole-bending crowd. There can be valuable cross-pollination when 4-H and Pony Club riders join forces! It’s great whenever we can change venues and see how the “other side” does it.
So, back in Maine, we’re experiencing all the precipitation that skipped us, and the vast center of the continent, last winter. Our soggy May was capped by eight inches of rain over the last weekend alone. And we haven’t even seen our first hurricane rains! We in the east keep willing some of our rain to those further west — share the wealth! And maybe let us get a hay crop in…
And in the bookstore, I have a stack of inviting new books to review. Some have already been posted in the store on the New Arrivals page, but there are more to come! What a happy chore I have now that I’m back!
Falling for EliApril 20th, 2012 by Janet
There’s a new book coming next week, May 24th, to be exact, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with friends.
Earlier this spring, Nancy Shulins sent me a review copy of her memoir, Falling for Eli: How I lost Heart, Then Gained Hope, Through the Love of a Singular Horse. Shulins, a gifted Associated Press correspondent, had followed a successful career path. But, exiting her thirties, she was surrounded by other people’s children and none of her own. Years of fertility treatment brought only disappointment and feelings of inadequacy, despite a lovely home and a loving husband.
Enter horses. Turning to riding as a diversion, she stumbled into a fulfilling alternative with the arrival of an off the track Thoroughbred she named Eli. What follows is a delightful account of one more woman who took up horseback riding at midlife, totally unprepared for the new standard of dressage barn life, so unlike her brief childhood encounters of pony rides and trail rides.
A well-written tale, readers will empathize with Shulins as she discovers each new horse’s character, abilities and faults; you will cry with her over the loss of her first mount to founder; and smile as you watch Eli work his way into her heart.
It’s a ways off yet, but Nancy plans to join us at Equine Affaire, November 8th-11th, for a book signing. We hope you can join us for that. (You can order before then and we’ll ask Nancy to sign a book for you and send it if you can’t be there.)
Jonquil and Violet TimeApril 14th, 2012 by Janet
It’s still “early” spring here in Maine – jonquils poked out a hello just in time for Easter last week, and the maple trees show a slight haze of red, a harbinger of leaves to come. But we can still see the Sheepscot River through the bare trees down the hill. Cool nights, almost no rain recently and brisk winds as the days warm up, mean we’ve been spared our spring attack of black flies so far. It’s even too soon to worry what this dry spell may lead to come summer – for now we have enough hay to hold out, just in case.
So I’ve been walking out along side roads and land reserves to enjoy this perfect weather while I put some mileage on Violet, a lovely old blue roan appy who joined our herd last fall. We’re just getting acquainted, she and I, and she seems to appreciate her leisure pace after several years as a camp horse. She’s discovered a softer hand at the reins of her bitless bridle, but those hands and weight aids also expect her to respond when she is addressed. It’s always fun to watch older horses as they assess this new life they’ve entered.
There are few horses in the immediate neighborhood, and the locals take note when we ride by. There’s that nostalgia factor – once a realtor pointed us out to prospective buyers: I can only imagine the conversation. This spring, Violet is turning many heads. To seasoned horse people she’s fairly unremarkable, but to my neighbors, she’s a beautiful vision. I’ll admit it, I enjoy the ride, especially in this season of promise, but the smiles, waves and people slowing their vehicles as they pass all add to the delight of a spring ride.