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Summer Reading

Good day!

Wow. So this is what it feels like on Monday morning after a relaxing weekend off, like normal people have! It’s tough when your work schedule is opposite the rest of the business world. For me, I mostly work on weekends—so does Rich in the winter. So everyone else expects you to be in the office first thing Monday morning to attend to business, regardless of whether you worked 12 hour days over the weekend and hadn’t had a day off in weeks.

Rich and I had a great three-day weekend at home, got lots of riding in, watched Wimbledon matches (wow- Federer/Nadal match was incredible!), did some back-burner chores and I even had time for my favorite recreational activity—reading!

I started a new book this weekend which is incredible. Although I normally love spy books, this is a different genre, and an awesome story about horse people. My dear friend Polly, a colleague from Lexington KY, sent me the book with “must-read” instructions. Polly and I share books a lot, so I knew it would be good.

It’s called The God of Animals, by Aryn Kyle. Incredibly, it is a first novel for her and I believe it is destined to win awards. It’s a story of grief and family attachments and a young girl, the daughter of a show horse trainer/instructor, whose older sister runs away to marry a rodeo cowboy, leaving the 12 year old girl to deal with the brunt of her family’s heartache and strife. Here’s a lovely excerpt from the first few pages.

“My father was being kind when he said I didn’t have the temperament for showing, because what he meant was that I didn’t have the talent. I couldn’t remember to smile and keep my heels down and my toes in and my elbows tight and my back straight all at the same time. When I focused on smiling, I dropped my reins, and when I thought about sitting up straight, my feet slipped out of the stirrups. My father said that he needed me more outside the ring anyway, but I saw how it was. We had a reputation to maintain and a livelihood to earn. In the end, I wasn’t good for business.

But Nona was good enough for both of us. She smiled and laughed and winked at the judges. Outside the ring she would let little girls from the stands sit on her horse. While she showed them how to hold the reins and where to put their feet, she would aim her voice at their parent’s and say, “You’re a natural!” Then she would flash her smile at their mothers and say, “My daddy gives lessons. You all should come out sometime.”

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those books that you hate to finish, so I am savoring it slowly, like a fine scotch. I don’t have a lot of time to read anyway, but this one is hard to put down. I’ve read another great book recently called Modoc, by Ralph Helfer. It is the true story of “the greatest elephant that ever lived” and the boy-turned-man that shares his life. It is a remarkable and inspiring story and a real page turner—hard to believe it’s a true story. Thank you Heidi, for that one (she’s not always the slave driver). I’ll have to reconsider my choice of books, since none of the spy/adventure novels I have read lately are worth mentioning to anyone. Well. There was the one called Quickie that was pretty good.

Now, it’s Monday morning—so I’d better get back to work. No reading or recreating for me this week (although I do get to ride—thankfully that doesn’t count as recreating for me). I head to NC early Thursday for an expo, so it’s a good thing I’m rested up because three 12+ hour days, bookended by two full days of travel, set-up and tear down can take it out of you!

Hope you find some time for reading!




Julie Goodnight Horsemanship Training ·
Horse Master TV Show— Airing weekly on RFD-TV beginning January, 2008 ·
PO Box 397· Poncha Springs CO 81242
phone (719) 530-0531 · fax (719) 530-0939


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  1. Hey Jule,
    Love the video clips. They’ll have to do till Cablevision gets on the wagon. I’ve saved them all to my RealPlayer for future reference. Thanks sooo much. BTW: back when I was young guy and a gearhead, I had a mural on either side of my tricked out ’73 El Camino very similar to your logo. It was a cowboy on a bronco jumping over the creasant of the moon just like yours. God, that car was beautiful, and fast!

  2. Loved Modoc. That was such a fun book. I hear there is a movie in the works.

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