Growing up as a horse lover in Maryland, I never imagined I would win an award like Maryland’s Touch of Class Award someday. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, individuals, teams, organizations, or events that demonstrate national or international excellence. The Maryland Horse Industry Board honored me and my second book, Believing In Horses, Too, for our winning entry in the 2019 EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Awards.
The Department of Agriculture’s Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) Executive Director Ross Peddicord said, “We have so many talented artists in Maryland – writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, and more – and Valerie is one of them.”
The Board’s official announcement read, “Valerie Ormond’s second novel, Believing In Horses, Too, won a Gold Medal in the Military Writers Society of America Book Awards; 1st Place in The Authors’ Zone Book Awards; Best Y.A. Fiction in the Stroud Arts Book Festival; Best Book in Juvenile Fiction in the Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, and Best Veterans Fiction in the EQUUS Film and Arts Festival Literary Award. Congratulations!”
Past winners of the Touch of Class award have been world champion Maryland horses, mules, and riders. Disciplines have included dressage, eventing, hunters, jumpers, jousting, steeplechase, polo, mounted shooting, rodeo, driving, pentathlon, polocrosse, endurance, therapy, and racing. Individual winners have been barn owners, facility managers, horse trainers, competitors, breeders, filmmakers, writers, and photographers. Maryland established the prestigious Touch of Class Awards program in September 2011.
The award is personally rewarding to me as I see my Believing In Horses books as a coalescence of my horse, military, research, and writing experiences. The Believing In Horses, Too fictional story is based in Maryland and highlights equine therapies, show competition, rescue horses, veterans, and military families. I appreciate the state of Maryland for supporting me and my work with this remarkable touch of class.