Kelpie

The Kelpies Take Manhattan

We had an amazing opportunity yesterday — to see the Mini Kelpies, which are two 1/10 size maquettes of the full-size Kelpies statues in Scotland. In case you’re not familiar with The Kelpies, they are these giant horse-heads:

The Kelpies, Scotland

The Kelpies of Scotland. Photo: TheKelpiesatHelix Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheKelpiesatTheHelix/info)

Having never seen the full-size Kelpies, I can’t say with absolute certainty that they were no less dramatic in miniature form… but there’s no doubt that the mini Kelpies, set before Bryant Park’s staircase beneath the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan, were incredibly striking. Maybe even goosebump-inducing. They were utterly fantastic.

Portrait with a Mini Kelpie. They're big!

Portrait with a Mini Kelpie. They’re big!

Kelpie in NYC

A rather forbidding Kelpie

I wish the Kelpies always lived in NYC. I would visit them every week… even if that meant slogging into Manhattan! There is just something about them — something that conveys the fierce power of a horse — which is amazing considering the medium, strips of shiny metal. They still have every bit of the expression and character of the original horses who modeled for them — two Clydesdales, as a matter of fact.

The Kelpies will be at Bryant Park until mid-April, according to their website. Bryant Park is behind the New York City Public Library, at 6th Avenue and 42nd St. Very easy to get to, so if you are traveling to the city, be sure to hustle over there and see them. (Pro-tip: Bryant Park has gorgeous public restrooms, something that isn’t easy to find in Manhattan.)

Later that afternoon, wandering our home borough of Brooklyn and desperate to soak up every last drop of sunlight and every moment of semi-warm air before winter settled in again, we found ourselves in DUMBO, walking towards Brooklyn Bridge Park…

Manhattan Bridge Reflections

Manhattan Bridge Reflections

Cal against Brooklyn Bridge Park, Manhattan in the distancve

Cal against Brooklyn Bridge Park, Manhattan in the distance

In the distance behind Calvin you can see the glass structure around Jane’s Carousel. This beautiful historic carousel was inundated with water during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It’s since been fully restored. We stopped by to take a glance but since it was the first warm day of the year, every prancing steed was taken! Another time. When New Yorkers aren’t quite so excited about taking off their coats and feeling a little warm sun on their faces!

Although after this winter, it’s hard to imagine that we’d be able to take warmth for granted again. I know we will, but… it’s been pretty rough.

Of course, cold weather means writing weather. I’m working on the revisions of my upcoming novel, Ambition, and you can read snippets and teases of it at my Facebook page, Natalie Keller Reinert: Horse Books for Grown-Ups. I’ll be posting more and more, along with photos and inspiration for the people, places, and horses in the book, as I get closer to a publication date. I am really excited about this book, which has taken several years to get to this point, the actual “Let’s publish this thing!” stage.

I also posted about my days with the New York City Parks Department Mounted Unit at Equestrian Ink, so don’t miss that if you’d like a first-hand look at riding in Central Park.

Other People’s Horses Selected as Semi-Finalist in Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award

For a girl writing about racehorses, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Other People's Horses: Book 2 of Alex and AlexanderYesterday, Castleton Lyons, home of the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, announced the eight semi-finalists for the 2013 competition. This unique award celebrates one common theme in full-length literary works: the racehorse.

Imagine my delight I was thrilled to see I FREAKED OUT AND NEARLY HAD A HEART ATTACK when I saw my own Other People’s Horses on the list, the lone novel amongst racing histories, memoirs, and biographies.

There are no words for my appreciation for not just the nomination, but all the readers who encouraged me, left me nice reviews at Amazon and GoodReads, sent me emails to let me know they liked the books, and have generally clamored for me to continue writing about horses and the people who love them. I never would have dared enter this competition without you and your support!

Thank you for telling me that Other People’s Horses means something to you!

I promise there is more to come.

If you haven’t read Other People’s Horses, I still love you. Go to my Facebook page for a coupon code for 20% off the paperback at the CreateSpace store, good now through March 31st.

And with that, here is the press release for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Awards semi-finalists. Have you read any of the other books? Tell us about them in the comments!

2013 Dr. Ryan semi-finalists exceptional group

The 2013 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award competition has drawn the strongest slate of semi-finalists in its eight year history to date, an impressive assortment of well-penned histories, fiction, biography, and autobiographies—both human and equine. In the end, the underdog theme ruled the day in this cycle of uniquely award-worthy entries.

Launched in 2006 by the late Dr. Ryan, the award, worth $10,000 to the winner, was the industry’s first to honor full-length literary work focusing on racing. Dr. Ryan loved good writing as much as he loved a good Thoroughbred, and thus placed few parameters on his concept other than skill with the written word.

Three 2013 finalists will be revealed via press release on March 17 (see: http://www.castletonlyons.com/). The winner will be announced during an invitation-only reception at the Ryan family’s historic Castleton Lyons farm near Lexington on April 9.

Book Award Semifinalists:

Battleship: A Daring Heiress, A Teenage Jockey, and America’s Horse
Author: Dorothy Ours
A character-driven work based in the early decades of the 20th century. Battleship centers on enigmatic Marion DuPont of the famed chemical manufacturing family … her battles against the gender limitations of her time, her marriage to a Hollywood movie star, and most importantly, her undying love for horses—most specifically her faith in a pint-sized son of Man o’ War, who, in 1938, packed her colors to victory in the world’s most heart-testing race: England’s Grand National Steeplechase.

Casual Lies: A Triple Crown Adventure
Author: Shelley Lee Riley
The feel-good narrative of a woman trainer who sees potential in a small, nondescript bay colt and runs with it—literally—parlaying a meager $7,500 purchase price into $795,991 in career earnings. Under the name Casual Lies, the colt took Shelley Riley on the ride of a lifetime, winning in graded company and, more importantly, placing in both the 1992 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Foinavon: The Story of the Grand National’s Biggest Upset
Author: David Owen
Another with the Grand National as a backdrop, this one provides an account of the 1967 renewal, unimaginably upset by the 100-to-1 title character, Foinavon. Owen details how the winner and his companion, a white nanny goat named Susie, thereafter charmed the British masses as they traveled the country on a “victory tour,” while reminding one and all of the true meaning and glory of the Grand National itself.

Jack: From Grit to Glory  
Author: Chris Kotulak
The story of a living American legend, told via anecdotal material, interviews of those who know him best, and through memories from the man himself. The down-to-earth Nebraskan is a Hall of Fame horseman and himself the son of a Hall of Fame trainer; and in the course of his nearly 60 years—and counting—on the track, Van Berg has remarkably developed both racehorses and other trainers of Hall of Fame caliber.

Other People’s Horses
Author: Natalie Keller Reinert
The only fiction entry among the finalists, this one brings back a pair of married trainers, Alex and Alexander, from 2012’s Head and Not the Heart. In this one, the husband is abroad on family business, leaving Alex at Saratoga running the stable, battling sexism, dealing with a naïve assistant, and falling hard for a crazy filly she thinks she can fix.

Ride the White Horse: A Checkered Jockey’s Story of Racing, Rage, and Redemption
Author: Eddie Donnally
Gut-wrenching autobiography of a jockey on a road straight to hell, replete with race-fixing schemes, batteries, and squandered dreams. Stalked by alcoholism, drug and sex-addiction, and mental illness, we follow Donnally’s life as it descends from nascent talent into hopelessness, homelessness, and total despair. Donnally’s gritty mea culpa of a life not well lived may be a tough read, but is ultimately, one of hope and redemption.

New Books Released!

I’m so pleased to announce that my historical romance series, Heroines on Horseback, are now available in new editions and under my name. Previously published under the pen name Sydney Alexander, these three novels are particular favorites of mine, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with my readers. Each feature unique men and women who draw strength from their relationship with horses.

Miss Spencer Rides Astride: Book One in Heroines on HorsebackBook 1, Miss Spencer Rides Astride, is a fun Regency-period romance set in a hunting yard in Ireland. William Archer is on the run from an arranged marriage back in London. Grainne Spencer is trying to make sure her father doesn’t remember she’s a female who ought to be in dresses, not stomping around the yard in boots and breeches. Both of them seem prone to really, really short-sighted decisions. More a short novel than a full-length, Miss Spencer has received some excellent reviews and is just chock-full of horses.

The Honorable Nobody: Heroines on Horseback Book 2Book 2, The Honorable Nobody, was originally Book 3. But it makes more sense to fit it in right after Miss Spencer. That’s because the Honorable Nobody in question is Peregrin Fawkes, William Archer’s closest friend  — and raging racehorse enthusiast. All Peregrin wants is to succeed as a racehorse trainer. But when he scoops Miss Lydia Dean out of danger before London soiree, his goalposts start to move. And Lydia, who minutes before thought her heart broken forever, finds herself head over heels in love with her rescuer. Unfortunately, other, wealthier forces are also at play, and also set on marrying Lydia.

The Genuine Lady: Heroines on Horseback Book 3Book 3: The Genuine Lady, is a cowboy western. Yes, I wrote a cowboy western historical, and I love it. Cherry Beacham was an English lady… once. With her infant son, she has fled scandal and disgrace in England for a new life in the Dakota Territory. She finds a little town with a big heart ready to welcome her, despite her desire to keep to herself. And she finds a cowboy with a troubled past that she just can’t seem to shake. This book is funny, sweet, and sometimes, a little sad — I just adore these characters!

Each book is available in the Kindle store at Amazon as well as in Nook at Barnes & Noble.com. Look for paperbacks coming soon.

I hope you love these stories as much as I do! They have been a pleasure to write and I look forward to adding more to the series in the future!

All of my books at Barnes and Noble are available here.

All of my books at Amazon are available here.