Good Books?



  • Mary - that was a sad thing to have happen. Do you think you'll ever decide to finish the book?
    Just for kicks I did an internet search on Misty of Chincoteague and found out that while she was a real horse, she was born in captivity on the Beebe ranch and was not captured from the wild. Misty was bought by Marguerite Henry to use as the model for her story and she owned her for about 10 years. She was returned to the Beebe ranch where she had 3 foals and lived out her life. I thought it was kind of fun to know the facts behind the book.
  • I loved Justin Morgan Had a Horse, too. I thought I was the only one who had ever heard of it. I loved it because we spent our summers in Vermont and that is where Justin Morgan and his stallion ended up. I love Morgan horses, too. The University of Vermont operates the Morgan Horse Farm at Weybridge, VT. I love to go there. You can walk through the stallion barn and go look at the yearlings in a field. But now I realize we couldn't see the mares and foals. And thanks to this site, I now know why. The last time I went, they showed us the breeding shed on the tour. We took my niece from Denmark who seems to have inherited my passion for horses. I don't remember I time when I didn't love horses so it must be "in the blood." My grandfather always said he grew up on an estate in the Ukraine where his father raised "blooded Arabian horses." Maybe that's where the love came from.
  • Hi VA,
    "But now I realize we couldn't see the mares and foals. And thanks to this site, I now know why. The last time I went, they showed us the breeding shed on the tour."

    I must have missed something-as I don't know the "why" you mention. I live in VT but haven't been to the UVM horse farm in a long time. I used to love to go see the foals & mares in June.
    I also went to see the "ponys" on Assateague Island a few years ago-one got spooked from behind, and reared up right next to our car-almost took out the side view mirror.
  • VA said " My grandfather always said he grew up on an estate in the Ukraine where his father raised "blooded Arabian horses." Maybe that's where the love came from."

    My father's family is also from the Ukraine. I met a Ukrainian woman several years ago who was riding a Ukrainian Warmblood. The horse was lovely, small for a warmblood, just over 15 hands but he was elegant and I would say his head showed a strong Arabian influence. Like all warmbloods, the Ukrainian Warmbloods have been improved with Thoroughbred blood over the years. Because of the elegance of this horse's head, and the fact that he had a thick long mane and forelock that emphasized his head and neck, my daughter and I thought he looked like how we had imagined The Black Stallion to look (although much smaller).
    I have always thought that "the love of horses" has a strong family propensity. I share the love with my daughter, and my love was shared with both of my parents but mostly with my mom. My maternal grandfather was a wonderful horseman who lived in the era where most of the farming was done with horses. He was not wealthy and had a reputation for buying inexpensive horses who had been abused or who were difficult to work with and turning them around. I spent many days as a young girl talking horses with him. In my collection of books I have his old veterinary manuals that he used as well as some of his horse novels. Among those old horse novels are a few that I would recommend. I think I mentioned them already but I'll mention them again. Black Storm by Thomas C Hinkle, Silver by Thomas C Hinkle and Smokey by Will James. If you haven't ever seen one of the early copies of Smokey with the lovely pen and ink illustrations its worth trying to find a copy to look at them.
  • Hi Sally T,

    I was referring to the fact that we can't see the mares and foals at the Kentucky horse farms for fear of tracking in some disease, which is why we can't go see Zenyatta on a regular tour. I was presuming the same consideration applied to the Morgan Horse Farm.

    How exciting to find a Vermont Zenyatta fan. I think there may be another, I saw the name on the Blog a long time ago, but was in my lurking phase then, so never tracked her down.

    My family bought an old farmhouse on Route 7 about midway between Brandon and Pittsford in 1944. We didn't know how long the War would go on and by then they were drafting men with two children so we figured my father would have to go and by having a farmhouse with some land for a vegetable garden and some chickens and cows, they thought my mother and us kids would be better off living there. In NJ, we lived in a rented flat made from half of an old house. My father worked for a major pharmaceutical company that was considered a crucial job, so he never did have to go to war, and it ended the following summer. I was 6.

    We used the house in the summer. We would leave NJ the day school ended and drive up. The first 5 years we had an old jalopy that had a major breakdown every trip, so it took us 2 days to get to VT (250 miles). I adored VT and lived for the day we would leave NJ (which I hated) and head to VT. We spent the whole summer there and returned to NJ usually right after Labor Day. We usually went to the Rutland County Fair the day before we left. That's the only horse racing I ever got to see, and it was all harness racing. You could see the whole track from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

    My father took his vacation in days, so he would have 3- or 4-day weekends and he drove back and forth every weekend after 1949 when we got a new car. Before that, he came up by train, got off in Florence and walked home from there, much of it across fields. Several miles of slogging through the mud. He usually rode the Greyhound bus back to NJ at the end of the weekend. We could flag it down in front of our house. Those were the days.

    My parents retired there in 1976 and lived there full time until they passed away, my father in Feb of 1999 and my mom in Dec 2001, I visited them there many times before that. The house was in our family for close to 60 years. I hated that we had to sell it. The last time I was in VT was in 2011, right after Hurricane Irene. What a mess. I stayed in Rutland, but I drove up to Middlebury and stopped at my parents' former house on the way. The couple who bought it run an antiques store and gift shop in the barn. I introduced myself to the woman and she was kind enough to take me up to the house and give me a tour. She's a decorator and they have done a wonderful job with the house. When she told me she LOVES the house, I just had to hug her. That house was built in 1774.

    I have met people from VT many times here in CA. My nurse after one of my surgeries was from the Lake Bomaseen (sp?) area, but most amazing, my opthamologist is from Proctor, which is the next village over from Pittsford. Amazingly small world.

    Where are you located?
  • DanceTheTide, I read your interesting comments about the Ukraine. I have to confess, my grandfather wasn't Ukrainian. His father was a German who moved to Russia and had the horse farm out in the countryside there somewhere. They spent the winters in Kiev, but they spoke German. I believe my great-grandmother may have been Polish. The family history is a little bit shrouded in mystery. We presume the whole family was lost during the Russian Revolution. By then my grandfather had left there and was living in Germany. He never bothered to find out what had happened to them. He became an engineer much to the disappointment of his rich father and 6 brothers. He was the youngest and the only one to go to college and work. The family tradition goes that my great-grandfather, the one who went to Kiev to live, was a younger brother of Ernst Mach, a man who was home-schooled by his father Johann Mach, a secondary school teacher (teaching definitely runs in my blood). Ernst was undoubtedly a genius. He graduated with a PhD from the Univ. of Vienna at age 22 and got a teaching job at the Univ. of Prague. His field was physics and he and some colleagues wrote the definitive physics textbook that was used in universities all over Europe for the later part of the 19th century and into the early 20th. He taught most of his career as a professor at the Univ. of Vienna where one of his students was Albert Einstein, who was heavily influenced by Ernst. Ernst spent the last 12 years of his life as a member of the Austrian Parliament. He is most famous for computing the speed of sound in various media. He used cannons and cannon balls to do it. They named the speed after him as Mach 1. (My maiden name was Mach.) When he died in 1919, Einstein gave his eulogy. Pretty cool, huh. It was his younger brother who went to Russia.

    My grandfather ended up in Cologne, Germany, where he played the flute in the Cologne Symphony Orchestra, in his spare time, I guess. My grandmother was the daughter of the editor of the Cologne Newspaper. She was an English teacher!! She was 8 years older than my grandfather, very unusual in those days. (She was also taller.) In the 1920s they came to America. My father was 8 years old. Since my grandmother spoke English, she got a job as a hotel manager at a fancy hotel on the shore of NJ and my father grew up there, loving the ocean. Eventually my grandfather learned English and eventually got a job at the Naval Shipyard in Charleston, S.C., where he worked the rest of his working life. After my grandmother died, he went back to Germany and lived to be 91, in West Berlin. He was kind of a cold, engineer type, but he was very witty. My father and both of his brothers inherited that wit. I'm generally considered a funny person, too. Not as sharp-witted as the pater and uncles, but I did pretty well.

    Your maternal grandfather sounds like a wonderful man.

    Love hearing family stories and learning about people and making new friends. Love this forum, too.

  • "I was referring to the fact that we can't see the mares and foals at the Kentucky horse farms for fear of tracking in some disease, which is why we can't go see Zenyatta on a regular tour. I was presuming the same consideration applied to the Morgan Horse Farm."

    VA, Oh, I didn't realize! Makes sense though. I will see in the spring if UVM has the same policy.
    I'm in Rutland, on the edge of Mendon. Began my teaching career (Art) in Pittsford, and "adopted" an older couple who lived on Corn Hill Rd in Pittsford, back in the 1980's. I was just at the cemetery in Pittsford (Evergreen) on Monday to place flowers on his grave.
    I think I know your old house, as it's the only one I can think of that sells antiques along that stretch.
    I grew up in northern NJ, and loved spending summers at our house at the shore.
    I've been in Vt for 30 years. The State Fair stopped the harness racing a while back, but I think they brought it back for a one day special event, the past two years. I'm only 1 1/4 hours from Saratoga, so went there to see Ebblouissante this summer. Visited "Old Friends at Cabin Creek" as well. I suspect that we have people who have crossed paths.
  • VA_in_CAVA_in_CA Member
    edited November 2013
    Oh my gosh, Sally, that is so amazing that you are so close to my old stomping grounds. If you know Art, you may know of my father. He was on the board at the Chaffee Art Gallery in Rutland and he had exhibits of his paintings there. He had paintings in a gallery in east Rutland on Rte 4. Is the Cortina Gallery in Rutland? I think he had some at the GristMill restaurant (think that was the name; it's on Rte 4, too.) He also exhibited in Middlebury and some place up around Stowe or Montpelier which is very prestigious, but I can't remember the name just now. One of his paintings at the Rutland gallery sold to one of the princesses of Spain. So exciting. His name was Ed Mach. He had a studio made out of the old hen house behind the house and in the winter, he had a great room inside the house. He specialized in miniatures and used an unusual technique with water colors. He was also active in the Southern Vermont art group in Manchester.

    Our house and property still are very distinctive. My opthamologist from Proctor knew it. It's at the bottom of two long hills, one coming from the south and the other from the north. The trucks barrel down the hills on Rte 7, and hit the accelerator at the base to get a head start on the uphills in both directions. Very noisy. There's a distinctive huge old grey barn, north of the house My parents built an ugly garage attached to the right of the barn, but for the years I was living there, it wasn't there. Originally there was a huge elm tree behind the house that a passing dendrologist for the State stopped by to look at. He said it was one of the oldest trees in New England, at least 500 years. My guess is that it was there when the house was built. The oldest part of the house used hand hewn beams, no nails, but wooden pegs (the size of railroad spikes) and hand made lath for backing the plaster for the interior walls. There was horse hair mixed in the plaster. Kind of like being safely enclosed and embraced by horses. The "new" addition to the house was added in 1812. It has square nails. I really loved that house. The old elm died during the 50s, of Dutch Elm Disease. There had been a row of beautiful old elms across the front of the house. They were probably about 150 years old. That damned Dutch Elm Disease got them too. We had a sign that we put up by the old mail box location, which was south of the driveway then. It was a small sign that said "Elm Hill." We still considered it the name of our property after the elms died and my parents planted maple trees in place of the former elms. Elm Hill was an appropriate name, because my father's initials were ELM.

    We used to go over Mendon Mt. a lot. After I was no longer going there every summer, there was a lot of new development of shops, hotels, and good restaurants along 4, which my parents enjoyed. They used to go to a sort of craft mall in an old mill (maybe a sawmill?) over that way, All of this was for the ski crowd. My father mostly painted winter scenes, which really appealed to the ski crowd. When I was in VT in 2011, I wanted to go over that way, but 4 washed out in the hurricane as I'm sure you know well.

    At one time the guy who owned the farm across the road from our house had a horse that he entered into Saratoga races. I have no idea how he did. I have been to Saratoga, but not to the racetrack. We went to tour the battlefield. My mother had an ancestor who fought in that battle. He was a Hessian soldier, fighting for the British. LOL.

    I'll definitely be in touch again. I also grew up in North Jersey--Essex County.

  • VA said " I have to confess, my grandfather wasn't Ukrainian. His father was a German who moved to Russia and had the horse farm out in the countryside there somewhere. They spent the winters in Kiev, but they spoke German. I believe my great-grandmother may have been Polish. The family history is a little bit shrouded in mystery."
    and "Love hearing family stories and learning about people and making new friends. Love this forum, too"
    VA and Sally, I loved reading about the shared connections the two of you have found. I always smile when you find those connections with people you meet. Twice recently the hospital I work at in Colorado has hired new employees who are from the small town I grew up in in Washington State. One of the new employees was involved in car racing and knew of my brothers who also raced cars and the other went to the same high school as my nephews. Small world huh?
    This forum seems to be a great place to let people form connections with people with whom they have shared interests.
    VA - my Ukrainian ancestors also have a Polish link. I have never been sure if they were Polish and moved to the Ukraine or if they just kept changing the borders of the countries :)

    I have read back over the previous posts and have decided to order the books on Sham and Northern Dancer and just for fun, the novel Catch Rider which was recommended as it has a fair number of good reviews posted on it. I'll let you know what I think after I read these books.
  • Thanks Tide, this is a great site and thanks for being the place where I could make the connection with Sally. It's so cool to meet someone familiar with places and people from one's past. I once met a guy at a bar in NC who was from Kearney, NJ, and had been there in high school the same years I was in high school in Nutley. We got to talking about the football teams of our high schools because the two towns were arch rivals and the final football game of the season was on Thanksgiving and the two teams played each other. He said my hometown team always won. Then we got onto talking about two incredible players from the Montclair team that both of our teams played against. They were twins and excelled in all sports, esp. football and baseball those years. It was so bizarre.

    It's always funny to find people from one's own tiny town or village. I bet you had fun chatting with those people from your hometown in WA.
  • Hi VA, The connections continue...Chaffee, Cortina, AND Essex County... I sent a message to you (I don't know how this site works quite yet) with my email address.
  • And teaching! I replied via email to your message. So excited. I attached a picture of the house and how it looked in 1945. Before you were born.

    Those were the days in VT. The state was more open. There were unique views around every bend in the road. You could see forever. Air pollution was non-existent in VT. There were farms on mountainsides and tops.

    We used to entertain ourselves driving on the back roads and exploring abandoned farms and houses during the early 50s. We found some amazing things. My mom rescued a metal bucket, about half a yard wide and as deep. When she got it cleaned up, it proved to be beautiful solid brass. Another find she fished out of a manure pile turned out to be a beautiful Benningtonware crock.

    Anyway, every time I go back to VT, it looks more and more like New Hampshire--all trees. You can't see the views anymore. Sad. I'm all in favor of trees, but not when they totally enclose the roads so you can't see anything for the trees. You end up falling asleep while driving because it's pretty boring.

    At my house here in SoCal, I recreated a bit of VT. On one side of my house, I planted a small grove of white birch trees. There are 14 birches and behind them is an evergreen hedge on the boundary line--dark green Hollywood Junipers. At night, I have a light there which shines only as far as the hedge, so it looks like you are on the edge of a forest. Looking out the window, it truly looks like one of those murals you can get and paper a wall with, until the wind stirs the leaves and the scene comes to life. It's magical. I call it my mini-spinney, to use the British word for small woods.

    Now I gotta go work!!!
  • I lived in Ukiah California for years and years. Never paid a lot of attention to the fact that in Willits, just about 20 miles from me was the ranch that Seabiscuit lived and died.
    They have a really cool tour that takes you through the mare barns, the stallion barn and original house. Also the second bronze statue of Seabiscuit where he is buried under close to the house.
    If you ever get into that part of Northern California, take the tour, its so worth it.
  • @wyominggrandma - Thank you for the tip. Seabiscuit has to be one of the best loved American race horses of all time. Its very possible that my travels to visit family will take me through Northern California so its good to know about this opportunity. Obviously Northern California Breeding farms are not as well known as the Kentucky farms but I wonder how many of them offer tours like the Kentucky farms do? I might have to research that possibility and try to tie it all together.
  • The property that the Seasbiscuit farm is now called Ridgewood Ranch.. Lots of houses and such, but they have the "farm" part kept as a tour with the original buildings. You can google Ridgewood ranch and get all the information.
  • VA_in_CAVA_in_CA Member
    edited November 2013
    There are quite a few horse farms in California that participate in the Mare State program. I've been watching quite a few foalings in CA. Never occurred to me to actually go to one of the farms for a tour. Thanks for the suggestion wyominggrandma.

    Which part of Wyoming are you located in? If you check out the first page of this Good Books discussion, you will discover that a few of us loved Mary O'Hara's Flicka trilogy, all set in the area around Laramie. I successfully found the Goose Bar Ranch on my first cross-country trip.

    On the third trip, I ran out of gas at 9:00 PM about 9 miles outside of Cheyenne on the highway running N/S, coming from the north. There was nothing, but nothing, there at that time--1968. Very nerve-wracking, but I had a can of gasoline in the trunk, so managed to make it into Cheyenne okay.
  • On another discussion, Paniola_Gal mentioned this website: I found this "article" that lists their 30 best horse books. Some we've already listed in this discussion. Here's the link:
  • @VA_in_CA, I found more favorite books on the horse channel Top 30 list that you posted. Summer Pony, Old Bones the Wonder Horse, The Horsemasters and Ride Like an Indian were some of my favorites from Weekly Reader Book Club in elementary school. Boy the memories that seeing those titles bring back. From my adult reading I would have to say all of the Dick Francis books, Centered Riding and Klimke on Dressage from this list. I'm not sure Klimke on Dressage is my favorite Dressage book but its definitely good. I haven't read the Tom Dorrance book but every natural horsemanship clinic I have been to has referred to him. I think I will try to find a copy of that one to read. LOL - I'm going to have to make a budget for horse books at the rate I'm finding ones I want to read.
  • Love the Black Stallion series, the Phantom Stallion series, Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell, all of Marguerite Henry's books, and Chancey of the Maury River by Gigi Amateau. When it comes to non-books, I'm a great fan of Shannon Hale's and Brandon Mull's books.
  • I also love Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan.
  • @Horselover24 It sounds like you might like to read some fantasy type books based on the authors you have listed. Have you read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater? If you haven't read it I will highly recommend it. She is a great author and this is a good book.
  • I haven't read it but I've heard that it's amazing! I'm hoping to buy it the next chance I get. :)
  • Thanks for the suggestion! :)
  • Some of these might be in public libraries.
  • Horse Racing's Most Wanted: the top 10 book of derby delights, frenetic finishes, and backstretch banter, by David L. Hudson Jr.*****
    Horse Racing Divas, Blood Horse Publications*****
    My Racing Heart, by Nan Mooney***
    The Kentucky Derby, by James C. Nicholson*****
    Horse Racing's Top 100 Moments, Blood Horse Publications*****
    You could probably find these all on Amazon.
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