Great Gift Ideas from The Equiery’s Library (first published in the December 2021 Equiery)

Believing in Horses Out West
By Valerie Ormond

Within one day of Maryland author Valerie Ormond releasing her new book Believing in Horses Out West, the book reached an Amazon #1 ranking. The young adult fiction book takes the 14-year-old Sadie Navarro to a Montana ranch to check on a horse she had rescued. At the ranch, she learns about ranch life, makes new friends, and encounters an unwelcomed mystery.

Although the main character in this coming-of-age story is a girl, the core values and lessons learned throughout the book apply to both girls and boys. Which underscores that horses are universal and their power to build people up and inspire is open to everyone.

Ormond is a member of the Maryland Horse Council (and former MHC Board member) and her previous books, Believing in Horses and Believing in Horses, Too, have won eight national and international awards, including an EQUUS Winnie Award. Ormond is also a Touch of Class winner, awarded by the Maryland Horse Industry Board for Maryland horse people who win national and international honors.

Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop Had a Way With Horses
By Vicky Moon

Author Vicky Moon’s latest book, Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop Had a Way With Horses is about West Virginian trainer Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop (1920-2004) who was a pioneer of her time. Bishop’s love of horses took her to Charles Town Racetrack where she started as a groom when she was 14. During the Civil Rights movement, Bishop succeeded in breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes. Her life as a trainer took her to Maryland tracks at Cumberland, Timonium and Hagerstown, where she found success in a sport dominated by white men.

Moon spent several years of what she called “gut busting” research to put this book together and the result is not only a well-written biography of an African American female racehorse trainer but also a history lesson of how one woman broke through both racial and gender boundaries to pave the way for others to follow.

A must read for all horse people whether you are a racing fan or not.

Hunting for a Recipe
By Rachel Cooke

Hunting for a Recipe is over 300 pages filled with great food, great photos and great stories! Over 100 hunt clubs from around the world are featured in this unique cookbook that combines history, traditions and just plain fun. The clubs are not restricted to just foxchasing however. Beagle, Basset, Harrier, Boarhound, Staghound, Minkhound and Bobbery packs are included in addition to foxhounds packs. The clubs featured are from 12 different countries and out of the nine U.S. clubs included, two are from Maryland: Goshen Hounds and Wicomico Hunt Club.

Sir Walter John Scott, Bt. Jt-MFH of North Pennine, writes in the forward, “The author has acquired not only over 150 terrific and eclectic recipes, but riveting photographs and fascinating historical anecdotes.” He goes on to write, “Hunting for a Recipe is not solely a beautifully produced, interesting and useful book, it is a timely reminder that elsewhere in more enlightened countries, the culture and heritage of venery* is understood, appreciated and being preserved safe and intact for future generations” making this book much more than a simple cookbook.
Cooke is based in the UK.

*venery – the practice of hunting

The Horse Lover’s Quotation Book
By Jackie Corley

The Horse Lover’s Quotation Book is a collection of over 200 fun, inspirational, and meaningful quotes compiled by Jackie Corley for Hatherleigh Press. Corley has a penchant for writing such collections and has already published quotation books about golf, planet Earth, early American wisdom, and great international leaders. This newest collection includes quotes by such celebrity horsemen as John Wayne and Will Rogers; notable trainers Lendon Gray, John Lyons and George Morris; and authors Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Margaret Henry, to name a few.

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses
Directed by Steven Latham & Conrad Stanley

The new documentary The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horse can be summed up in one word… stunning.

Directed by Steven Latham and Conrad Stanley, the film opens with a quote by Luther Standing Bear that reads: “The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.” Standing Bear sets the tone for the rest of the film, which follows the history of America’s Mustangs and with these horses, a history of America.

The film shows how the Mustang has been woven into the hearts of people around the world and has become a symbol of freedom. The cinematography is breathtaking, bringing viewers to remote areas of the U.S. as filmmakers follow various Mustang bands through the Bureau of Land Management’s open ranges and holding facilities.

Segments are also filmed at the annual Mustang Makeover, which is held each year in Forth Worth, Texas, as well as some of the homes across the country that Mustangs have been adopted into.

The executive producers are Robert Redford, (who also narrates portions of the film), Pattie Scialfa Springsteen, and U.S. Olympic show jumper Jessica Springsteen. The film has a fantastic soundtrack featuring Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and Emmylou Harris, just to name a few. And the original song “Never Gonna Tame You,” performed by Blanco Brown and written by Diane Warren touches just the right emotional chords.

The film is both inspiring and humbling – the Mustangs’ survival and resilience is inspiring; seeing the obstacles that humans have thrown up for them is humbling. But overall, the wild spirit of the Mustang rings through. Heritage. Compassion. Freedom.

Ride of a Lifetime
By Tootie Anderson

Ride of a Lifetime is the true story of a horse who was purchased for just $10 and who went on to become a champion in the sport of eventing. A chestnut mare named Zoe entered the author’s life at a particularly bleak time, and then turned Anderson’s world around. The book follows the pair’s journey from just getting started to winning through the Preliminary level.

Readers, especially event riders, will relate to the ups and downs of Anderson’s journey and will enjoy photos and recaps from Maryland events such as Waredaca and Olney Farm. Plus, Anderson’s competition schedule, and life, have her moving around the country so readers can expect to experience events outside of Maryland’s borders.

Be warned however, Anderson’s writing is very blunt and a younger audience might have trouble navigating the reality of horse ownership and competitive riding: from injuries, to victories, to euthanasia… this book has it all.
Anderson currently resides in Virginia and is an active member of U.S. Eventing Association Area II. She volunteers regularly at Maryland events and is an Equiery advertiser.

The Ride of Her Life
By Elizabeth Letts

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Letts is at it again with her latest book The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America. The book follows the journey of a lifetime for 63-year-old Maine farmer Annie Wilkins who rode across the U.S. to fulfill her dying wish to see the Pacific Ocean. The trip took her two years, riding through blizzards, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains. Along the way, she received an outpouring of neighborliness and goodwill.

If you liked Letts’ previous works, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, you will like The Ride of Her Life. Letts’ writing style is lyrical, and she transports readers back to 1950s America as they ride along with Annie Wilkins across the country.