Thursday, October 20, 2016

VOTE! Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2016!

Riding & Writing has been nominated and is a Finalist for HayNet UK’s Blogger of the Year 2016! Winners are selected by peer voting! Please cast your vote for Riding & Writing!

Thanks to all the great participants; cowboys, writers, authors, artists, photographers, poets, horse trainers, equine clinicians and therapists, and more!

VOTE here!

Thanks for voting and being part of the
Riding & Writing community!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Poetry from the Field: Monday Road Poetry Volume II by Gina McKnight


Poetry from the Field takes you around the farm, through the countryside, and into the forest. Ohio poet Gina McKnight invites you to sit under a sycamore tree and along the banks of Monday Creek. Journey along the well-worn path to the barn, to the stables, and a place in the hay. Find joy in the company of bees, birds, trees, and rain.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Poetry from the Field by Gina McKnight

Poetry from the Field

by Gina McKnight

Giveaway ends November 15, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Editorial Review
"Poetry from the Field" (2016) is the second volume of poetry, by American poet and equestrian, Gina McKnight, and brings a fresh breath of air to readers. It is an aptly named volume, as Gina spends most of her time in rural, bucolic surroundings with her beloved horses; and it reflects and expresses diverse aspects of this life with considerable zest.

Once again, Gina McKnight uses a lyrical and moving language to express her feelings and thoughts and daily observations, in close communion to a changeable and fluid natural environment, within continuous life cycles and their ebb and flow, with a unique vitality. Often, external natural scenes merge with the poet's inner being, to create very subtle patterns.  Poems like 'Blue', ''Cherokee's Mane', 'Elementals', 'Hay' and others, invite us to explore this world of sensitive contrasts and to engage with this at a highly personal level. Hope and Faith seem to be particularly strong, prominent factors, impregnating the whole of this poetic system.

This volume has an added grace, in the small but entrancing illustrations added to it by artist Tamara Rymer.  All in all, it is very well-presented and readable collection, worth perusing by all poetry lovers.

Editorial Review by Omer Tarin, D.Litt, FRAS, FPAL. Poet, scholar former university professor and director, The Sophia Institute, North-West Pakistan, and spiritual teacher of the Chishti-Nizami Sufi Order in South Asia

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Zan Economopoulos: Arabian Horses in Art (c) Z. Economopoulos
ZanEconomopoulos: Arabian Horses in Art
Archived Article as seen in the September 2016 issue of Arabian Finish Line
No duplication without permission.

Zan Economopoulos knows Arabian horses. A horse-lover since childhood, Zan is an expert artist, “capturing the spirit of the horse as it is symbolized by the Arabian.”  Zan’s artwork is currently exhibited in the United States, as well as in personal collections around the world. As a portrait artist, Zan’s commissions include Dynasty, a Canadian Bronze Medalist Dressage horse, and much more. Zan writes, “There as so many aspects to what the horse means to us that it endlessly feeds my creativity.”

Experiencing the beauty of the Arabian horse at a young age propels Zan’s creativity. “The Arabian horse has inspired me since early childhood,” Zan writes, “when a gift of old Arabian Horse News magazines from the 50’s entered my life and imagination. Before social networking there was an incredible network among young, horse loving kids called the Junior Arabian Horse Club. Art contests were a vital part of that experience. At 14, I was a winner in my age group in an International Arabian Horse Association contest and my painting hung in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. for the summer. That early recognition sparked my belief that I could succeed.”

GM: Welcome, Zan! We are thrilled to connect with you and talk about horses and art! You truly know horses to be able to capture them so beautifully. When was your first encounter with a horse?
ZE: Horses are such an important part of my life. I can’t remember the first encounter. My grandfather was a great horseman, a Texas cowboy. I have a photograph of him wearing his full cowboy gear when he was postmaster in a dusty Texas town. He was proud to say he once owned an “own daughter” of Steeldust, a racing progenitor of the Quarter horse breed. I was the quintessential horse crazy girl and lucky enough to have him as my grandfather. When I was old enough to have a horse, about the age of 10, he found a half Arabian half Morgan mare for me. I’ll never forget the sight of my tall handsome grandfather sitting up in the saddle riding my soon-to-be-horse.

GM: As Bedouin myth has it, Arabians were created from the South Wind. They truly have a regal nature and versatile disposition. As an artist, you are known for your work with Arabians. Why Arabians?
ZE: My grandfather gave me a subscription to Western Horseman magazine when I was about 8 and I saw a photograph of Golden Fantasy, an Arabian mare owned by Mr. Lewis of Lewisfield Arabians. I wrote him a fan letter, and in turn he sent me a copy of Lady Wentworth’s The Authentic Arabian Horse. Then I was hooked on the Arabian. A stack of old, old Arabian Horse News magazines that someone gave me when I was a child are still in my possession. Those magazines, and that book, shaped my life. However, I also do many dogs, sheep, foxes and other breeds.

I have owned Arabian horses all of my life (except for now, unfortunately). My first purebred, an Arabian Stallion Ibn Saka, one of the first Arabian race horses in this country, helped put me through college with stud fees and sustained me in other ways too numerous to account. Our story together lasted over 20 years, but his influence on my life continues to this day. A little bit of him is in everything I paint.

GM: Being creative usually requires a place to spread out – paints, easels, lighting. Describe your studio...
ZE: I have a beautiful studio in my home with great light from skylights and northern light through the windows. It is a wonderful space, large enough to allow me to work on several things at the same time. My mother was an artist and I have her large easel where I do canvas work, and a worktable completely covered in paint where I sit to do the glasses. I always stand at the easel. My cat has learned not to lie behind me because I step back often to get a better perspective. The studio was built to be a mother-in-law suite above our garage so I have a bathroom for clean-up and a second room for the library and preparation work. I have a lot of art books.

GM: Do you have a favorite piece of art of your own creation?  
ZE: This was the most difficult question. I worked in galleries for a few years as a gallery assistant and I remember the gallery owner telling me that artists never chose as their best work one that she thinks actually is their best work. This is because the artist may specifically like something for a reason the viewer may not be aware of, such as finally getting the right color for a white horse, or learning a lesson about perspective.

For me it is also difficult because I have 3 different styles. The first success I had was with my Whymzee line, very stylized Arabians based on my love of fashion illustration. Whymzees are exaggerated versions of snobbish Arabians and were an instant hit with buyers. The legs are long and unfinished. They are mainly watercolors because that is the classic medium of fashion art and because it lends itself to the loose movements the Whymzee’s are known for.

A few years ago I decided that I could learn from copying old masters, a classic method of learning to paint. The portrait of Kador is in this style – it is not a master copy per se (known in art circles as a “master emulation”) but it is my attempt to emulate my favorite artist, Alfred Munnings. The painting of dogs and horse running is a master emulation of an Alfred de Dreux but I have changed the horse to be more Arabian and it is more a painting of joy rather than fear as the original was.

But the one I have chosen as my favorite is Pegasus Reborn. It is the best representation of my style, which is more contemporary. It was done quickly with confident strokes, excuse me for saying that about my own work. Pegasus Reborn was a true accomplishment for me, exemplifying my style and bringing something to the subject above and beyond the horse. It sold within 5 minutes of posting it on facebook.

"Pegasus Reborn" (c) Z. Economopoulos
GM: When I was reading through your website and looking at your gorgeous art, I ventured upon your artwork on glass; a great way to showcase a stallion or memorialize a favorite horse/pet! If I were to order a custom fired glass portrait, how long does it take and what type of pose/picture should I send?
ZE: The wineglasses and whiskey glasses have almost turned into a full time job! I’ve done literally hundreds now in the past five years. A clear photograph is the main consideration. The client must be reminded that we are talking about a very small image on the glass, so some things, such as a horse and rider, are difficult to get detail on. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done those though. At this time most of my commissions come through the Sportsman’s Gallery/ Paderewski Fine Art in Charleston SC and Beaver Creek CO. I do take commissions personally, but mainly for existing clients, clients that have ordered from me before. The gallery is great about handling the details of the order. They know what type of photograph works the best. They send them on to me for my final okay. For the gallery I rarely do horses, mainly dogs and birds. And hunting scenes! I’ve had orders for as many as 75 at a time, for hunting lodges. Wineglasses, whiskey glasses and decanters are standard orders but I’ve done coffee mugs, etc. I can turn around a smaller order (say 4 or less) in a week, 2 weeks for a set of 6, and often do for special gifts. However, I have so many orders waiting to be finished right now that the gallery gives a time-frame of one month to complete an order.

The images on the glasses are dishwasher safe but most people hand wash since I use very good glasses. I have clients who have used their glasses as their main stemware for years. Then again some clients just put them in a breakfront for display. With normal use, however, the glasses can be used, and I like it when people tell me they do.

GM: Where are you currently exhibiting? 
ZE: The Sportsman’s Gallery/Paderewski Fine Art Galleries in Charleston, South Carolina and Beaver Creek, Colorado, handle my work. In addition, I’ve exhibited at the Kentucky Horse Park Egyptian Event for the past 5 years and Region XII for 3 years. I also exhibit with a group of equine artists at the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Championship at the Kentucky Horse Park in Conyers, Georgia, in October.

GM: As a famous artist, commissioning around the world and staying busy in your studio, what do you enjoy in your leisure and relaxation time?
ZE: Well I like to get out of the house occasionally. That sounds like a joke, but it’s been true lately. I have enough commission work to keep me upstairs in the studio everyday all day for about the next 6 months. I love to read. I’m big on history, especially ancient English history. I also have a workout studio in my home, which comes in handy. I don’t like to miss my work out, or a daily walk about the neighborhood to refresh my mind. I would like to travel more and I hope that is in my future.

GM: What is your advice for novice artists?
ZE: Develop your own style. Don’t have any agenda other that your own desire to paint, especially when you are starting out. And take lessons from as many established artists as you can. I’ve spent a great deal of money going to art classes around the country. Some have been better than others, but I don’t try to judge anymore. What you think is the worse experience often turns out to be the most influential on your work, down the line. The exception to that was the teacher Lesley Humphrey, who was the Kentucky Derby artist a few years back. The classes I took with her were invaluable to me. She was generous, fun during the class time, and a great teacher. Everything about studying with Lesley was a joy.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
ZE: The art of riding is a subtle communication between man and horse, where man must both exert control and let go of overt control. Horsemanship is finding the path of training that allows your horse to be the best it can be, no matter what discipline.

Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from Ohio USA (c) Z. Economopoulos (c) Z. Economopoulos (c) Z. Economopoulos (c) Z. Economopoulos

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ride for Life: The Three Golden Principles for Riders by Catherine Louise Birmingham

 “Catherine Louise Birmingham is an amazing rider
with insight and values that every rider needs.”

Recommended Reading!

The Three Golden Principles for Riders 
by Catherine Louise Birmingham 

Internationally esteemed dressage rider and trainer Catherine Louise Birmingham shares her deepest insights in this inspiring debut. The Three Golden Principles for Riders - Focus, Feeling, and Action - are demonstrated in a clear, concise way that is easy for all riders to understand and apply to their personal journey. Birmingham shares her own experiences in a way that offers reassurance and a new way forward for riders, regardless of level or ambition. The perfect book for any rider searching for the confidence to better themselves in riding and in life. This unique book will be cherished forever.

Author Catherine Louise Birmingham is an internationally acclaimed dressage rider, and trainer. Her career spans Germany, Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Jakarta – Indonesia. Her expertise in horsemanship is recognized and respected around the globe.   

Catherine’s articles have appeared in Danish horse magazine Ridehesten and The Horses Mouth Australia. Her first book Ride for Life: The Three Golden Principles for Riders is available in English and Danish with Wiegaarden.  

Catherine is a world class teacher and pioneer in both human and animal behavior. She is available for talks and seminars for businesses and riding centers worldwide.

Read Catherine’s Riding & Writing Interview here!

Connect with Catherine…

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Horse Training Secrets Revealed by Craig Parish

 Horse Training Secrets Revealed!

"Without your help I couldn't have done it."

 Train a horse and eliminate any bad habits, often in just hours!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Zen Mind, Zen Horse by Allan J. Hamilton, MD

Available in Paperback and eBook
An amazing reference manual for every horse owner.”

 Zen Mind, Zen Horse:

The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses

by Allan J. Hamilton MD (Author), Monty Roberts (Foreword), Robert M. Miller (Foreword)

Eastern philosophy enters the stables in this unique guide to horsemanship. Allan Hamilton describes how horses understand and respond to the flow of vital energy around them. They use this energy, called chi, to communicate with their herd, express dominance, and sense predators. Hamilton shares safe, simple techniques to make you more receptive to your animal’s chi, so you can develop a calm and effective training style that will not only help your horse follow commands, but strengthen the spiritual bond between horse and rider. 

My Review…
An amazing reference manual for every horse owner. Filled with everything horse - from Native American anecdotes, to handling/position and body language - Zen Mind, Zen Horse will keep you engaged and informed. A great refresher course for seasoned riders and essential reading for all novice riders. Recommended reading.
Gina McKnight

About the Author
Allan Hamilton’s started off working life as a janitor. Today, Dr. Hamilton holds four Professorships at the University of Arizona in Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Psychology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. He graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed his neurosurgical residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He has been chosen by his neurosurgical peers as “One of America’s Best Doctors.” Dr. Hamilton has authored more than twenty medical textbook chapters, fifty research articles, and has served on the editorial board of several medical journals. He has been a vocal advocate for reform of medical education and the peer-review process to reduce morbidity and mortality from medical mistakes and surgical mishaps. 

Dr. Hamilton's first book, The Scalpel and the Soul: Encounters with Surgery, the Supernatural, and the Healing Power of Hope (2008,Tarcher/Penguin USA) was awarded the 2009 Nautilus Silver Award, which was conceived to recognize world-changing books. Previous Nautilus Award winners include Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Scalpel and Soul has been translated into several languages and is now in a paperback edition. For the last several years Dr. Hamilton has served as medical script consultant to the TV series Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. Dr. Hamilton raises Lipizzan horses, German Shepherds, and purebred Angus cattle on his ranch on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona. His latest book, Zen Mind, Zen Horse—The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses was published in September, 2011 by Storey Publishing. Forewords for the book were written by Monty Roberts and Dr. Robert Miller—two of the luminaries of the horse world. 

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