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Kitson Kitson Jazynka - Over the Fence

A lifelong horse lover and equestrian, Kitson writes regularly for Horse Illustrated and Young Rider. She has written for the USEF Equestrian and Chronicle of the Horse. She regularly contributes to dog magazines including Dog Fancy, Popular Puppies, Rescue Me! and Natural Dog, as well as children's magazines like American Girl and National Geographic Kids. She also contributes to the Washington Post's KidsPost. She writes children’s books for National Geographic Kids and Boys Camp Books. Kitson lives in Washington, DC with her husband, their two sons, two know-it-all German Shepherds and one very tolerant cat. Her horses live nearby in Potomac, MD. Read more about Kitson at See full bio >>


Monday, October 5, 2015
How Did They Train the Ponies in That Horseware Ireland Ad?

Get a behind-the-scenes look at this viral video starring a team of Connemara Ponies.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Meet Moose

I love following the happenings at Warm Springs Ranch, the 300-acre breeding farm in central Missouri where baby Budweiser Clydesdales are foaled. This year, the farm has had more than 20 foals born. They have two foaling cycles – spring and fall – to avoid the summer heat.
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Friday, September 18, 2015
Chincoteague Foal Stolen – Please Share!

Late last night the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department announced via Facebook that they are investigating the disappearance of a 2015 Chincoteague "buy back” foal. Dreamer’s Faith was taken from the corral area at the Chincoteague carnival grounds either Sept 6th or 7th. The Chincoteague Police Department is leading the investigation and numerous other law enforcement agencies in several states are investigating. They are offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the people involved.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Sweat Scraper Soulmate

Have you ever developed an unreasonable attachment to a piece of grooming equipment? If yes, then you’ll know how I feel about my old sweat scraper.
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Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday Teeth Floating for Quest and Rio

By now you must have heard about Quest and Rio, the emaciated horses rescued with awful hoof neglect this month in Maryland by Days End Farm Horse Rescue. The horses each had more than three feet of excess hoof growth and had been locked in a stall for at least 15 years. The story has made national and international news (even made Animal Planet), but here in my neck of the woods, this is a local story.
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Friday, August 28, 2015
Surfer Dude's Legacy

When the famous Chincoteague pony Surfer Dude, died this spring, the stallion’s passing made national news. His legacy lived on this year at the 90th annual swim as his offspring made history at the July auction that follows the swim. One of the late stallion’s foals, a black filly with a white face and two blue eyes, sold for $25,000. It was a record sale that will benefit the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department, the organization who manages the herd and organizes the swim every year.
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Thursday, July 30, 2015
Chincoteague Pony Swim

Getting to see the ponies swim at the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim is a dream that involves a bit of patience. When the day finally arrives and you’ve made your way to Chincoteague, across the bridge, down Main Street and (very the next morning) early all the way the a pier that looks across the channel, the muggy air hangs heavy hour after sunny hour with one question: when will the ponies swim?
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Thursday, July 23, 2015
Horses on Vieques Island

While on a visit to this arid, beachy paradise called Isla de Vieques, I’ve had way more beach time and daiquiris than Internet connection or even a pen and paper. But I have had my camera handy. In between pictures of white sand, turquoise inlets, wild sea turtles and kids in flippers and bathing suits, I’ve taken a lot of pictures of the island horses that roam around.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Pony, Meet Muzzle

For the last few years, poor Chico has been condemned to a dry lot during the lush Maryland springtime. He gets too fat on pasture and that’s that. This year, we tried a grazing muzzle at the suggestion of his trusty vet, Dr. Pete O’Halloran. It’s been a great success.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Donna Barton Brothers

Recently I had the pleasure of talking horses with NBC Sports horse-racing reporter Donna Barton Brothers. You might have read about her this spring here on HorseChannel. On Friday, an essay she wrote about the emotional side of reporting on this year’s Triple Crown appeared in the New York Times. It was a really moving piece.
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Thursday, June 11, 2015
Evening Edition

When I was pregnant with my first child, I worried: Will I loathe the baby if he keeps me from my horse? Fortunately, life juggling kids and horses has been nothing like my gloomy, fretful forecast. Yes, I’m on a shorter rein when it comes to getting to the barn. But a new balance has taken over. Life has a choppier cadence now (think posting trot versus cantering), but it’s one I can work with.
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Monday, June 8, 2015
Can You Ear Me Now?

It’s full-on bug season here in the Mid-Atlantic and I’m keeping the flies out of my horse’s ears in style. That’s my Welsh Cob gelding, Taff, wearing what I call "Horse on Fire.” Hayden, Alabama-based LaClaire Couch made this little piece of wear-able equine art. She makes more than 12,000 Ear Me Now Fly Bonnets a year.
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Monday, June 1, 2015
Farm Tour

There is a farm in off the beaten path in Virginia’s beautiful horse country that I have been driving past since I was about 12 years old. Picture miles of well-kept black fencing that follows the ups and downs of a winding country road. There’s the main driveway for Wind Fields Farm and then the farm entrance with a cute cottage at the road (of course, I’m partial to the farm entrance) and endless tree-lined stone walls that border the fields.
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Thursday, May 14, 2015
The Oregon Trail

What do you call the jitters that take over a horse when it’s left behind in the barn while everyone else goes out? I don’t know, but that’s what I felt like in the summer of 2011. I was home in the city with two little kids while two of my dear, horse-loving uncles were trekking 1,800 miles across the country the old-fashioned way. Their goal? Retrace the original Oregon Tail in a replica wagon pulled by three gorgeous and sturdy draft mules.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015
A Young Endurance Champ

The Kentucky Derby is an exciting two minutes, but what about a race that lasts 100 miles and a teenage girl and her humble horse win it all, finishing in less than 14 hours?
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Thursday, April 9, 2015
What Happened to the Stolen Horse?

Last Friday night I was glued to the national news watching the awful footage from California about the suspect attempting to flee the police on a very stoic stolen horse.
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Thursday, April 9, 2015
George the Unicorn

I’m on the phone with New Zealand this afternoon and I’m speaking to a unicorn. Well, I’m speaking about a unicorn, anyway. His name is George.
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Thursday, April 2, 2015
Pony Penning Fun

A dear friend who lives overseas emailed me the other day, subject line: IMPORTANT DECISION! I couldn’t have clicked open that email any faster.
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Monday, March 16, 2015
Remembering Windy

I guess Facebook has a way of taking us down memory lane when we least expect it. A recent post from Horse Illustrated asked "Has your horse ever done something amazing?” I immediately thought of my horse, Windy. She was amazing pretty much every day of her life.
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Monday, March 9, 2015
Meet a Shetland Pony Jockey

It’s snowy like crazy here in the Mid-Atlantic, but I’m keeping warm with thoughts of sunny days and sweaty ponies. Pony racing is a big deal in Maryland. Young catch rider Colin Smith says, "It’s all about fun and going fast with lot of wind in your face when you’re galloping around the track. It can be a flat race or over fences. It’s an exciting feeling with all those galloping feet. Sometimes you can hear the crowd cheering, if they’re loud enough to overcome all the galloping.”
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Thursday, February 26, 2015
Meet the Equine Stars of Taylor Swift's Blank Space

For Andalusian stallions Chico and Paco, life at Spring Fever Farm in Mt. Airy, Maryland (not far from where I live) has as a nice steady rhythm: dressage lessons, turn out, lots of carrots and admiration, exhibitions and wedding jobs. Years ago I attended a classical horsemanship clinic at the farm, and met owner Diana Beuchert.
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Monday, February 16, 2015
Llama Love

In the world of horse rescue, you never know what "tools” you’re going to have to pull out from under your hat to deal with daily surprises. This week – Jennifer Swanson and Brad Gaver, co-founders of Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida had an unexpected bundle of joy on their hands – a miracle baby llama born with serious medical issues.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Bran Mash – Thumbs up or down?

Yum - there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of comfort food when it’s cold out, right? At times over the years of owning a horse, when the temperature plummets in the winter, I think about a nice warm bran mash for my horse. What could be better – extra hydration, applesauce for flavor and lovely bran to keep things moving in the digestive department?
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Monday, February 2, 2015
A Chat with Jillian Michaels

It took me many months of follow up to get an interview with health guru and horse lover Jillian Michaels. In case you missed it in print (Horse Illustrated October 2013), here a recap of the fun interview. In all my years of interviewing horse people – no one has ever told me that they "suck” at jumping.
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Monday, January 26, 2015
Broken Bones Won’t Break this Girl’s Love for her Horse

I’ll admit, I’m too quick to dismiss people who say they like horses, and then complain about mud, flies, cold, heat, rain, dirty blankets, sore legs (or worse) and clothes that smell like the barn. On the other hand, when I come across someone who loves horses like I do, especially when she’s a 13-year old girl on an adorable pinto, I fall in love a little.
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Monday, January 12, 2015
Helping Rescue Horses Shine

Doug Bruce is a South Florida "R” judge who has specializes in hunters and equitation since 1997. He’s also got a soft spot for unleashing the hidden talents of off-the-track thoroughbreds. This year, he’s combined his experience as a trainer on the show circuit (local shows all the way to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington) to showcase the hidden talents of some very special "diamonds in the rough” at Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue In Loxahatchee, Florida.
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Monday, January 5, 2015
I Heart My Horse Dentist

Call me crazy, but I love hanging around the barn when the horse dentist pays a visit. Dave Butts is a terrific horseman, and always has something interesting to say. He’s also helped keep my horses’ teeth in great shape over the last 15 years.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Holiday Treasures

If you’re in Wellington, Florida – the equine capital of the world this time of year – it’s perfectly normal to walk into a department store wearing britches and boots and smelling like the barn (even carrying a dog into Nordstrom is A-OK). Sadly, I’m not in Wellington this winter. In Washington, DC (where I sit inside on a cold, rainy day without a single palm tree or drop of sunshine in sight) – riding boots stick out like a sore thumb, at least in a department store.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Cookie Cutter Horse

My obsession with holiday cookies started when I was in high school. Over the years, I have made, decorated, packaged and delivered herds of boxes of holiday cookies. I have a collection of copper cookie cutters from moose to chickens to owls, dogs, cats, X’s and O’s, a giant dragonfly, flowers, birds and even a Martha Stewart giraffe and corresponding elephant and crocodile (safari theme).
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Sleigh Riding

"The Appearance of the Weather, reminds me of the use of a Sleigh”
-- George Washington, December 16, 1782

It's nearly winter here in the nation's capital and the taste of cold in the air makes me wish for snow and a sleigh ride. George Washington loved horses. If he didn’t feel well, his personal physician was likely to recommend that the president get on his horse and ride for two hours to make him feel better.
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Friday, December 12, 2014
Meet an Equine Illustrator

Children’s book author Ruth Sanderson’s heart beats to the drum of hoof beats. In the 1980s she illustrated the covers of the Black Stallion books. These days, she illustrates Random House’s Horse Diaries series – terrific horse stories and illustrations for young readers.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I Heart Brighty

Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s wonderful 1953 children’s book, Brighty of the Grand Canyon? If you haven’t, I highly recommend it – it’s one of my all-time favorite children’s books.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
A Chat with Beezie Madden

While I should have been working on more pressing deadlines today, I couldn’t resist the chance to chat with international riding superstar Beezie Madden. She was on the road to Toronto’s Royal Horse Show (held during Canada’s Royal Agriculture Winter Fair).
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Friday, November 7, 2014
Rewilding Europe

Did you know that of all the thousands of endangered species in the world, hundreds are breeds of horses? I’ve been doing a lot of research on endangered species over the past two years. Last year I discovered a very cool program called Rewilding Europe. It’s a group of government agencies and conservation groups across the pond working to "rewild" huge swaths of land starting in Eastern Europe with endangered species from wolves to wild horses.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014
An interview with Jessica Springsteen


It’s Friday night at the Washington International Horse Show and fans are screaming for Jessica Springsteen, who quietly canters a circle on her Grand Prix mare Lisona. Jessica has been competing at WIHS since she was ten years old. The 22-year old and her 13-year old mare are both calm and cool – you’d never know they were about to jump the biggest jump of their career – a faux brick wall that grew to 2.080 meters (or 6.82 feet) in the show’s famed Puissance class.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
New York's Carriage Horses

My family has a long history with carriage horses. My grandfather had a barn full of them. Once he drove his two favorite horses (Percheron work horses, Benny and Betty) all the way from his farm in New Jersey to Pennsylvania, pulling a covered wagon full of kids including my mother. As for me, I drove my first pony cart at about nine years old. I remember the moments vividly, trotting the pony through that small town to the beat of a proud clip clop with the reins in my hands, and taking in pony smell with every breath. What could be more fun?
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The Story of Sacagawea

Everyone’s heard of Sacagawea, but did you know that the root of her famous story starts with horses? It happened like this: In 1804 Lewis & Clark set out in boats on their famous expedition to explore territory on the other side of the Mississippi River (President Thomas Jefferson had just acquired it in the Louisiana Purchase from France). In order to reach the Pacific, the explorers had to cross the Rocky Mountains. In order to cross the Rocky Mountains, they needed horses.
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Thursday, October 9, 2014
The Washington International Horse Show

There’s something exciting about the closing down of city streets in the nation’s capital to make room for horses. The park police drag out the concrete barriers. Motorcades detour. Temporary stalls go up. Trucks back up, beep, beep beeping and unloading hay, shavings and heavily stitched bags of feed. All this happens amid the chaos of rush hour traffic, power lunches and public transportation that makes the sidewalks tremble.
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Monday, September 29, 2014
Puppy, Meet Pony

My family and I came home from Maine this summer with a puppy. She’s a little German Shepherd dreamboat and we’re working hard to hone her manners and socialization skills. At home in the city, life is something like a page out of Richard Scarry’s "Busytown” books. Tabby has been introduced to all kinds of people like friendly telephone pole workers, bus drivers, delivery men, people wearing hats, people riding scooters, teachers and lots of children.
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Monday, September 22, 2014
Creepy Trail Encounters

I don’t know what scared me more, the creepy guy in the woods my friend and I encountered yesterday on horseback, or the look on the park police ranger’s face when he realized we knew where the man was hiding. We encountered the officer just as accidentally as we’d encountered the creepy guy. One, it turns out, was looking for the other.
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Monday, September 15, 2014
Justin the Artist

Eight years ago, Adonna Combs bought a gorgeous two-year old Friesian gelding as a dressage prospect. But at a schooling show early in his career, Justin made it clear that dressage was not what he had in mind for a career.
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Can I just say first that I don’t normally delight in killing things? Even when it comes to insects – I admire hardworking ants and have taught my kids to stand still (instead of swatting) in the presence of a bee. We relocate spiders and crickets and weathered last year’s 17-year cicadas with a heavier dose of scientific interest than disgust. But horseflies are different.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A friend of mine once declared it’s not a party ‘til someone opens a bag of cheese puffs. I say, it’s not a party ‘til a horse shows up. When my son Quinn turned eight this summer, he wanted to celebrate with friends in nearby Rock Creek Park with a hike to the creek followed by an endless game of kickball. He got all that (plus cupcakes and a lot of poison ivy). He also got a visit from: Stonewall!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Which horse is yours?”

It was an innocent question. I was leaning on a fence watching a lesson in an outdoor arena at a stable near Centreville, Virginia. But the girl I posed the question to (early 20s, like I was, also in riding boots) took it hard. Her face crumpled. I thought she was going to cry.
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Monday, July 14, 2014
Survival Adaptations

While researching wild animals for various projects over the past couple of years, the term "survival adaptation” often rears up. A survival adaptation is a physical attribute or a behavior that helps a wild animal survive. Like wolves’ innate ability to be tough. Or a tiger’s ability to swim, which gives him an edge while hunting and helps him widen his territory. But what about wild ponies?
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Monday, July 7, 2014
Freak Accident

Webster’s dictionary defines an accident as "a sudden event (such as a crash) that is not planned or intended and that causes damage or injury.” The word "freak” means "one that is markedly unusual.”
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Friday, June 20, 2014
Meet the Przewalski's Horse

As usual, no matter what topic I’m researching, call of horse talk pulls me in. This time, I was researching tigers for a children’s book that I’m writing for the National Geographic Society. In the past few weeks I’ve zeroed in on details related to species survival plans (SSPs) created around the world to save endangered species
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Thursday, June 12, 2014
Cultivating Balance

According to Alivio Farms lead trainer Tina Ann Legno-Cope, cultivating and strengthening balance in your horse provides an opportunity to strengthen any weakness.
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Saturday, May 31, 2014
Meet Amos the Wonderhorse

About a year and a half ago I interviewed a little horse with a big personality for a story in National Geographic Kids magazine. Amos is a super-cute basketball playing equine that made for a super-cute story. His story also appears in a book I contributed many stories to for Nat Geo that came out this month. So I got in touch with Amos to see if he’d be up for a quick interview.
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
April Showers Bring May Flowers

I’m sitting in a field of buttercups on a sunny day on Memorial Day weekend. Stress blows away on the breeze. The buzz of insects replaces the hum of a hectic life. I’m grateful for my horse. Grateful for the beauty of buttercups (yes, I have read they can be poisonous to horses, but in our 15 years here, it’s never been an issue.) I love how having a horse encourages (forces?) me to live in the moment long enough to appreciate all of this.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014
A Young Horse-Rescue Volunteer

A few months ago, I took on a story assignment for a new magazine in the Horse Illustrated/Young Rider family called Rescue Me. The magazine is all about the world of animal rescue. The story was to be about young volunteers at animal rescue organizations--totally my kind of story. I knew I wanted to include a horse rescue kid, but I had a hard time finding just the right super-star volunteer.
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Pure Thoughts Horse and Foal Rescue

For a homeless horse, entering the realm of Pure Thoughts Horse and Foal Rescue in Loxahatchee, FL sparks a magical transition: a starving horse becomes well-fed; a neglected horse becomes cherished; an unwanted horse becomes part of a family. Jennifer Swanson and Brad Gaver have rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed close to 2,000 equines over the past ten years. I’m lucky to be able to say I’ve known them for most of that time. I have seen it with my own eyes–for horses at Pure Thoughts, the grass really is greener.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2014
Baby, Baby, Baby

Back in December I blogged on The Sweet Feed about an unexpected and super-fun visit to the Glenhaven Welsh Ponies and Cobs in Unionville, Virginia where my Welsh Cob, Glenhaven Atheron (aka Taff), was born. At the time, owner Suzanne Moody showed us around her farm and introduced us to some of her ponies. Eight of her Welsh pony mares were in foal. She invited us to come back in April when she’d have foals.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Easter Pony

Easter morning couldn’t have been more beautiful, the sun shining down on the spring-green fields that gently slope up from the Monocacy River toward Maryland’s iconic Sugarloaf Mountain. This year, we took our chocolate bunnies to go, on our way to Monocacy Equine Veterinary Associates. Hmmmm you say. Who’s in the hospital?!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Horses and Wolf Conservation

My husband tells me I can turn any conversation to the subject of horses. Last year, as I was working on a children’s book for National Geographic Kids about wolves (it comes out this week!), I took this as a personal challenge: how would I fit horses into a book about saving wolves? As it turns out, I didn’t have to work too hard to figure out a connection between wolves and horses.
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Monday, March 31, 2014
A Real Flying Horseman

It’s always a thrill when a magazine with an article I wrote in it shoots through the mail slot. Conducting interviews and meeting deadlines is one thing, but seeing that work transformed into a glossy spread with gorgeous photos is another. Like last week when the May/June issue of Young Rider arrived.
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Monday, March 24, 2014
Like Magic

There’s a magic that happens between ponies and boys. It’s a quiet partnership. A silent understanding, perhaps, between tamed creatures whose wild spirits bubble close to the surface.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Have you ever wondered about the word "aromatherapy” in the context of horses? The word has to do with using good smells to make one feel better. I was thinking about this today when I noticed the grocery bag of barn apples that I keep in my refrigerator.
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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

3/24/2014 11:51:46 PM

Looks like fun.

PKL    Somewhere, WY

3/24/2014 6:07:00 AM

Thank you for this article, because I did not even release that it was there. I will have to check it out.

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