Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BTS: The Racehorse Buzzing in New Zealand!

Wow! Word sure travels fast! This writeup was posted on a website from New Zealand... Thanks are owed to David Aldred of BC Standardbred who a) noticed the book and b) took the time to write about it! An extra bonus is that one of the very, very helpful people who patiently answered my questions (Bill Young) is mentioned, which is extremely cool!

Veteran BC horsemen, Bill Young is featured in a newly released book "Behind The Scenes - The Racehorse".

The two page story briefly takes you back to the start of Bill's career at British Columbia's Ladner track and reflects on his life in the industry that he still actively participates in today as a trainer at Fraser Downs.

The book written by experienced horsewoman and author Nikki Tate and published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside, takes you behind the scenes to examine the fascinating world of the racehorse.

Tate takes you on a journey looking at the history of horse racing, from chariots to chuck wagons, the racing breeds, standardbreds, thoroughbreds and quarter horses, the role of trainers, grooms, drivers, riders, farriers track vets, outriders and paddock judges.

The author also shows her readers what a day in the life of a horse at the racetrack looks like and a horse's life after racing.

She also looks at problems that exist in our racing industry.

Almost every page features great colour photographs including a couple of shots of BC's Sandown Park.

Behind the Scenes, The Racehorse is informative and very interesting reading, particularly for the younger reader looking to find out some basics about horse racing.

The book is beautifully presented with excellent photographs.

David Aldred, BC Standardbred

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Congratulations Cybils Winners and Finalists!

The winners of the Cybils were announced today... Check out this amazing list of fabulous books... And don't forget to nominate your favourite books next year!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

No Apologies!

...for not blogging for a while. And, if I don't apologize for not blogging, I can at least honour one of my New Years' Resolutions! Obviously, I'm not doing so well on my other resolution - to blog mroe often!

Anyway, the silence in blogland has nothing to do with a lack of things going on over in the real world. Today, for example, a lovely review of Behind the Scenes: Racehorse in the Globe and Mail by Susan Perren.

By Nikki Tate, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 72 pages, $24.95, ages 9 to 14

"People and horses have co-existed for thousands of years, though nobody is quite sure when humans realized that horses were capable of providing more than a source of food. Once people saw how fast their new mode of transportation could be, it probably wasn't long before the first horse race took place."

These words set the stage for a very thorough and very readable investigation of racehorses and horse racing, an arcane subject, perhaps, for the young, but in Nikki Tate's hands an engrossing one.

Tate uses coloured photographs liberally and to good effect to take her readers into horse barns and onto racetracks. She tackles the history of and differences between Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses, as well as their attributes.

Tate doesn't hesitate to illuminate the dark side of horse racing - drug abuse, cheating, overproduction, inbreeding, abuse - but her enthusiasm carries the day.

Oh, how elusive the Globe and Mail review! And how sweet when the coveted review finally appears! Yes, I am celebrating here today!

The great review made up a little for the terrible, terrible behaviour of Ringo, my young and zany Welsh-Hackney cross. I am not exactly sure what set him off, but wow - our quiet stroll down the road and back (pony in hand as he's not yet broke to ride) was way more exciting than it should have been!

As I type, I wonder if there is even any point in trying to catch up on all the highlights of the last couple of months. It feels like an impossible task - so I'll stick to what's going on today.

The most interesting thing that's going on is the Cybils picture book judging (fiction category). While my own deliberations have been tortured (there are seven excellent finalists), I can only imaging what the next three or four days of group discussions will be like (I am one of several judges). Ack. How on earth are we to decide this one?

In less interesting, but quite fun news, just finished my column for Island Parent Magazine - reviewed a stack of books for kids about dogs - dog training, dog care, dog behaviour, dog breeds... you get the idea. Watch for the column in March.