Posts Tagged ‘Horses’

JBalsam-Horse-WatersEdge2Sometimes there is just too much to do … as I’m sure any of you can attest. Between work and shoveling snow … and shoveling snow … and shoveling snow … and just taking care of day to day life, things that really matter can sometimes be sitting on the sidelines. Children’s books are always in my head, so if I don’t have the time to be writing or dummying, illustrating  or prepping something to send to an agent or editor, I can do something else … I can turn out a sketch.

This sketch is of a bay pony at water’s edge and from a calendar given to me by a friend who is so helpful in keeping me inspired to write. Well, this time, I drew, but that’s OK, because I’ve still got my hand in.


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MylestoneOpenHouse-HollyEach year Mylestone Equine Rescue holds their annual Open House. It’s an opportunity for horse lovers/animal lovers/people who care about what happens to animals on this sometimes-godforsaken-planet to meet the horses rescued by Mylestone and residing on their farm.

Pictured is Holly, a snowflake Appaloosa, meeting some fans at a previous Open House.

What I love about working with Mylestone is that they save the horses that other rescues will rarely take … the ones that are lame, those who have worked their entire lives serving man and yet will be shipped to slaughter when no longer useful, those whose owners can no longer afford them and leave them to starve in a back field, or those whose owners truly care and are desperately seeking help in placing them.

Most of the Mylestone horses are suitable as companions only; most are not ridable, and therefore, will live their lives on the farm, supported by sponsors and other caring folk.

Because it’s a private farm, it’s only open to the public at this annual Open House or by appointment – so here’s your chance to see miracles in action – each horse’s story is posted on their stall or paddock and what they looked like when they arrived. Their appearance now speaks for itself. If you are in the area and would like to check out this wonderful rescue, why not attend Open House, October 13th from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Complete details are here. There’s a terrific Silent Auction, great baked goods, Mylestone merchandise, vendors and more. Raindate is the following Sunday – check the website before coming in the event that it does rain.

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I don’t think you need to be an animal lover, or even a lover of horses, to appreciate the elegance and spirit of the Friesians in this video. But if you are … prepare yourself for a real treat. The magnificence of these animals is simply moving.

KFPS Friesians will not allow the video to be embedded, and in fact, the horses will be much better appreciated full screen. Take a look and enjoy.

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It only happens once a year … Mylestone Equine Rescue’s Annual Open House – your chance to meet all the rescued horses personally.

Mylestone, located in Pohatcong, NJ, rescues the horses that most other rescues won’t take – from the auction, the kill pen, from hoarding and cruelty situations, and more.  Some, once recovered, may be ridable, but most can only be placed as companion horses. Many have sufficient medical issues that they will remain at Mylestone as sanctuary horses for the rest of their lives due to required treatment.

But don’t believe for a second that these horses aren’t living the happiest and most amazing lives possible in Mylestone’s care. If you need some good news, perhaps have a hankering to hear about a miracle or two, come to Mylestone’s Open House this Sunday, October 9th from noon to 4 pm. Meet the rescue horses – their lives have been changed forever … yours might be, too.

Read more for complete details and directions.

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A novel? Really? A couple years ago, Sheri, from our children’s writer’s group, said, “You have a novel in you.” I didn’t find that to be something impossible, yet didn’t see it as highly likely at the time, either.

Aside from one story of mine which hasn’t yet found its proper genre – picture book, chapter book or middle grade – I have been focusing on picture books. I read novels all the time, but had not really thought about writing one of my own. The meager story beginning I had written for a First Page Session was a starting point, and even then, I wasn’t all that focused on it. Until I got a critique from two editors on my storyline, and things that did and didn’t work for an MG reader.

Since that time, I’ve had a unique experience. The story is writing itself.

I’ve read online, and seen among my fellow writers, how some novelists just write it all down straightaway, while others make an outline, map it out, etc. This is not what’s happening. The story is telling itself to me … at odd times, when I’m relaxing, working, whenever it pleases. I mentioned this to my friend, Linda, who told me I’m channeling my story. Well, that’s kind of exciting, and makes sense. Although I envisioned a most basic structure for how the pattern of the chapters would go, beyond that, it just keeps coming.

I’m not writing anything down; there’s no way I’ll forget it. I’m allowing it to just come through. I cry, I laugh, I see who’s becoming a character. This is very new to me. Some ideas require some of my attention – for ex., should that character enter my heroine’s life in the same chapter as another? Why IS my character like that? And I let it go. The answers come back in a fairly short time.

I don’t need too many facts at this time – I can fill in the realities of horses, riding, racing, later. But I realize I can also feed my storywriter within, so am reading Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton, and perhaps returning to other horse related books I have here or reading some new ones or checking out some videos. I am fortunate to have friends involved with horses who can help me with facts, as well as one of the sources for this story’s inspiration … the horses of Mylestone Equine Rescue, for whom I volunteer and help in other ways.

Perhaps the best part of all – is I’m not in a rush. It comes as it comes, and I’m quite grateful for that.

At top left is a photograph I took of Calvin, one of Mylestone‘s rescued horses.

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What to do when you’ve been too long away from one’s children’s book illustrations? Get back in! And sometimes how I get back in is to wade in – so to speak – with a totally different subject matter than that of my current children’s book.

I’ve just been thinking of horses for a number of reasons, so started to look through some reference material, deciding on a color photo of 2 mares and their foals. Simple pen and ink, something that I always enjoy working in and is a very relaxing medium for me.

The result – tada!

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The following is a story from Mylestone Equine Rescue, New Jersey’s oldest all-breed horse rescue. They work tirelessly saving lives, rehoming horses and providing education about the problems faced by horses today. Please visit their site, sponsor a horse, or even send a special Valentine Sponsorship. All help is greatly appreciated.

Once upon a time, there were 2 horses named Josie and Clyde. They were very different horses … in almost every way. They were different breeds – he a big Tennessee Walker, she a Quarter horse. Clyde was a dark bay with many signs of age in his body and graying face; Josie was jet black and rather flashy. Clyde had worked hard all of his life, most recently at a hack stable, and not been treated kindly; Josie had belonged to someone who rode her and showed no signs of having been mistreated in any way. He tended to be a bit grumpy; she was gentle and grateful.

The one thing they did have in common was that no one wanted either one of them anymore. Clyde was in the kill pen facing a trip to slaughter, and Josie was abandoned at the farm where her owner had boarded her, and faced going to auction.

Clyde was rescued, and when he arrived at Mylestone, the telltale kill pen sticker was still affixed to his rump. He was unused to being outside on his own and enjoying open space. He hung back, lonely and afraid, preferring the safety of his shed. When turned out, he ran the fence line.

And then came Josie. Like an angel on a mission of love, she reached out to Clyde. When first turned out with Josie, Clyde decided to simply ignore her, like a child putting his fingers in his ears – lalalalala, I can’t hear you!

But that was not acceptable to the patient Josie. She stood next to him and nudged him, as if responding to a pain he felt but couldn’t express. It was as if Josie knew. She stood close to him, insisting he let her be his friend. And little by little, he did. Soon, he settled down. The fence running became pacing, the pacing became walking, and the walking became standing still … next to Josie. Soon they were grazing right there — right smack in the middle of the once-feared paddock — together.

Josie and Clyde soon became best friends. Each eagerly awaited their being taken to the field to while away the days together, their friendship a balm to the scars of difficult days in their pasts. All was well.

Then one day, Susankelly and a volunteer went out to take some pictures of the two lovebirds for the Valentine Gift Sponsorships*. Susankelly shook a treat jar, and that’s when the fighting began.

“Me first!” insisted Clyde.
“Why not me?” demanded Josie.
“Get out of my way,” said Clyde, as he lightly body slammed her.
“Hey!” said Josie, “stop being so pushy!”

Their ears lay flat, and there was huffing and puffing and much snorting, and many disparaging remarks bandied about. (We won’t repeat the nature of these comments; they were just terribly rude and hurtful. And terribly unlike the accepting and sharing relationship Josie and Clyde had developed.) What just happened?

At Susankelly’s insistence, Josie and Clyde finally settled down for a nice photo or two. They were too embarrassed by their own behavior to not look nice for their Valentine’s picture, especially because you would be able to give that photo as a gift to someone special! Soon the two women were gone, and so was the jar of treats. The jar of treats that started the fight.

Josie and Clyde walked back to the center of the paddock together, side-by-side, happily bumping against one another, and nuzzling each other’s faces.

“What just happened back there?” asked Josie.
“I don’t know,” said Clyde. “Do you think we have food issues?”
“I didn’t think we did,” she said. “Maybe we should just stick to grazing and our hay and grain.”
“Good idea” said Clyde, and they wandered off as happy as they once had been, secretly hoping their photos came out so wonderful that you would just have to send one as a Valentine Gift Sponsorship* to someone you love.

Because chocolate … might just start a fight.

* The deadline for Valentine’s Gift Sponsorships has passed, but you could still sponsor Josie or Clyde separately with a standard Gift Sponsorship at any time of year!

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