Winning Horsemanship. A Judge’s Secrets And Tips For Your Success
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What is your book about?
“Winning Horsemanship” is part memoir, part self help and part education with lots of horse stories, horse sense and humor woven through it.
What inspired you to write your book?
I wrote it principally for the growing number of horse lovers who achieved their dream of horse ownership later in life than I did, and so didn’t have the advantages of being able to imbibe some of the skills, techniques, feel and lore from old timers and from childhood experiences like I was lucky to do. Travelling around the country as a Warmblood judge (a Warmblood is a generic name for a group of horse breeds that excel in Olympic equestrian disciplines), I would see people who were not only frustrated by their horse’s behavior and their own limitations, but who were sometimes actually in danger and didn’t know it. I wanted to help them by sharing my knowledge, so they don’t have to learn the hard way.
What is a typical day like for you?
These days I have pivoted into screenwriting, which of course is still writing. Most of it is related to documentaries or true stories, so it’s also still non-fiction. I like to start the day with a glass of water followed by a long walk. (Once upon a time I would have gone riding, but I don’t have horses any more.) Then I do some stretches. I also do weight bearing exercises a few times a week. I do some educational reading with the first coffee of the day, after that I sit at my desk, ready to start work. I don’t have a set writing routine, so what I do varies according to what needs to be done and the time available. There are always plenty of phone calls, Zoom calls and emails to attend to, as well as face to face meetings. By mid-afternoon I usually like to read for fun. I have different books on the go in different areas of the house, so my afternoon reading is different from my bedtime reading. I enjoy cooking, so I almost always make time to prepare (and eat!) dinner. My creativity tends to kick in properly in the latter part of the day, so I’ll often write or create until fairly late..
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
I love reading, writing and playing with words. I also appreciate the freedom of being my own boss (and my own greatest critic).
What are some favorite books you’d recommend to our readers?
My reading range is very broad, from great literature to true crime to thrillers and Nordic noir on the fiction side. With regard to non-fiction, a large part of my library is devoted to horse books – my genre to date. There are also sections on management, self help, business, history (I’m attracted to war, for some reason), art and craft, other animals, gardening, farming etc. etc. To name several titles: “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, “The War Of Art” by Steven Pressfield, Stieg Larson’s trilogy, “Good To Great” by Jim Collins, “Horses Are Made To Be Horses” by Franz Mairinger.
What advice do you have to offer our readers?
Firstly, for me, writing is not a linear process, so feel free to start in the middle, the end or nowhere in particular if that suits you. I save chunks of text as “thought headings” as I go and splice them in later. Secondly, the best piece of advice I received was to write for just five minutes a day. Anyone can commit to that. It’s not intimidating but it gets you going and sometimes it keeps you going. There are days when I call it quits at five minutes, but there are other times when the first five minutes turns into hours and hours of productive work. Thirdly, you don’t have to be a grammar and spelling guru to be an author. You can tell your story and let a combination of software, editors and proof readers polish it for you. I’m a pedant from way back, but I was very grateful to those who ran their constructively critical eyes over my manuscript.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was Australian Powerlifting Champion in 1988 and represented Australia at two World Championships. I’m also a bellydancer and once upon a time I spent six weeks in Antarctica for work.
What’s next for you?
I have begun creating TV shows and I’m excited to share that I have just received my first paid gig to write a feature film screenplay based on a true story.