Profiles In Success

I was honored to be a guest on Gordon Bernhardt’s Profiles In Success podcast. Gordon has been interviewing leaders since 2010, highlighting their individual journeys and stories. Here is a short video answering his question about advice for other small business owners.

It was a pleasure to meet with such a seasoned professional and answer questions that made me think hard. We spoke about entrepreneurship, the Navy, horses, books, mentors, and life. I loved the title he chose after the interview: “Where Roads Less Traveled May Lead You.” Here are the links to the full podcast, and thanks to Gordon once again.

Coming Soon – Believing In Horses Out West!

Cover of Believing In Horses Out West book

I’m excited to announce that Believing In Horses Out West will be published in October! This standalone novel in the Believing In Horses series takes our heroine on an adventure like she has never seen before. Want to know more?

Sadie Navarro rescued a mare from an auction accomplishing what she thought was the most important mission of her young life.

Now, that mare is headed to a ranch in Montana and a home Sadie knows nothing about.

She wants to make sure the horse is in good hands, but Montana is far away and a different world from Maryland.

Will fourteen-year-old Sadie need to stand up to rugged cowboys to protect her special rescue horse?

Details to follow, but the book will be available in paperback and eBook formats and distributed worldwide. I thank all my readers for their wonderful support of my first two books and hope you will enjoy the latest ride!

Actively Learn with “Believing In Horses, Too”

Educators from Actively Learn discovered Believing In Horses after the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test featured an excerpt of the book in its 2015 annual test in. Following discussions, Actively Learn decided to feature two excerpts from Believing In Horses, Too in their creative curriculum. Actively Lean uses a new approach to learning by providing free English Language Arts (ELA) and other content embedded with standards-aligned assignments to help students learn.

Tessa Polizzi, Actively Learn’s Senior Manager of Product & Content, identified the following assignment from Believing In Horses, Too, which thrilled me because it was one of my favorite chapters. She said:

“I started reading Believing in Horses, Too thinking that I’d look for an excerpt connected to Sadie and her dad, but then I came across the chapter “New Kid on the Block.” I love this one. It stands alone as a story pretty well on its own, connects to an experience that kids are familiar with (making a new friend), and touches on some of the hard situations that kids face in their lives.”

See the “New Kid on the Block” assignment to engage your learners!

Tessa also asked if she could develop a curriculum based on an excerpt for the “Bullies Don’t Rule” chapter, another one of my favorites. I think they did a great job on this lesson, too!

I hope these might be additional help to those homeschooling or to introduce young readers to a new and fun way of learning. And thank you to Actively Learning and Tessa for bringing these stories to more readers.

Touch of Class Award

An artist from Maryland hand-paints each unique Touch of Class Award

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.”

Valerie Ormond displaying awards leading up to the Touch of Class Award selection

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.

“Believing In Horses, Too” available at Amazon in Kindle or Paperback

Help for Homeschoolers!

Teacher's Tack for Believing In HorsesI want to offer help for parents and others struggling to homeschool children, a job most people are not trained to do. My solution also helps fill a void for horse crazy kids missing their horse activities due to the current COVID19 shutdowns.

Teacher’s Tack for Believing In Horses is available for free here as a PDF file. This teacher’s guide accompanies my book, Believing In Horses, an inspirational story about a strong-willed girl in a military family who commits to saving unwanted horses. My brother, Eddy Ormond, developed learning plans and fun activities, complete with a full homeschooling module to help children learn in an interactive way.

Eddy brought more than 15 years of elementary school teaching experience to this project. Teacher’s Tack debuted at the State of Maryland International Reading Association Conference, received praise from educators throughout the U.S., and has been used globally even as far away as South Africa! Eddy worked with me while I wrote the book and helped create situations that would appeal to a young audience. His involvement in the book inspired him to create Teacher’s Tack, an educator’s perspective on how to “teach” Believing In Horses and make learning fun.

And don’t just take my word for it that Believing In Horses is good for children. Recognition has included:

• Parent Tested Parent Approved Official Winners Seal of Approval

• National Education Association’s Read Across America program selection

• PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) excerpt in its annual assessment, and

• Inclusion in CommonLit’s digital library of reading passages and curriculum materials. CommonLit is an education nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s literacy nationwide.

Believing In Horses is available for free in eBook or paperback at libraries. Copies are also available at Amazon or via my website.

Next month, I will share free educational resources related to Believing In Horses, Too. Stay safe, everyone, and let me know if I can help with an interview or answer questions for your readers.