Equine Collection Blog Archive

It is with some sadness that I can now report that the collection is done, with the exception of the serials which are now in progress. It is my last day here as an employee of Tufts . With over 6500 titles (when all is said and done!) it was a large task, but one I have been most honored and privileged to work on. This job will forever live in my heart – it was a dream that I never wanted to end! The collection is now accessible to all and hopefully with a quick search, you shall be able to find some gems to aid in your research or pleasure reading of anything to do with the HORSE. This is my first time working with a digital collection and the rave reviews and downloads (almost 2,000 downloads on our most popular book!) on Archive.org have far surpassed my expectations.

Nothing says a last day like a party! And what I party I got! Horse themed of course… The staff and some of the people who helped me with the collection came. (Oh, I love parties, especially ones for me!) The library staff here is made up of talented, wonderful people who enhanced the experience of working on this collection. The Seaverns collection is available to the public, we just ask that you call (508-839-7957) or email (webvet@tufts.edu) and make an appointment. Then you too will be able to see the glory of the collection for yourself and meet the wonderful staff who works here. Give my love to Suzanne (you’ll probably see her first as you come in!), my office mate, who put up with the piles of books and traffic of book carts exploding from my area. Thank you all!

PS. If anyone knows of a Horse Librarian position, let me know!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on October 16, 2009 4:12 PM

This collection never ceases to surprise me – some are good, some make my eye twitch. Earlier this summer I found, in a box, a spread of prize lists from horse shows. Each horse show has a list of entrants and their horses, along with the times for the test that they are going to ride and this is called the prize list. A couple in particular caught my eye, with a familiar logo. The New England Dressage Association still has the same logo from the 1980’s! And low and behold, in a prize list for their Summer Competition from 1982, I found my trainer’s (who is also my aunt!) name and her first horse! More surprising to me is how far the sport of dressage has come in just under three decades. In the 1980’s it was only possible to show to 4th level dressage and there was no possibility of riding the International levels. Now you are able to compete at the International levels at most recognized shows and most definitely at all New England Dressage Association shows!

And now on to the twitching part… I’m currently working on cataloging the serials, or items that are published in installments (like a magazine or a journal). Just today I had a great surprise — an expert serials cataloger is coming in to finish that part of the collection! Yay! Now my time is freed up to tie up all of the loose ends.

My next lovely surprise was that we had visitors specifically for the collection! Unfortunately I wasn’t here to help them, but I think we may have found what they were looking for. It appears they were doing research on a Harry Worcester Smith who once lived nearby in Grafton. They were looking for a photo and we found a most elegant one of him on a horse! As you can see from the results, he was an accomplished Fox Hunter. It warms my heart that people are coming to look at the collection and use it.

Here’s to surprises! I hope you find one today!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on September 25, 2009 3:03 PM

The Great Shift!
It is with some sadness that I write this blog entry. Indeed, I’ve been trying to write it for two weeks now and the words would not flow. The cataloging of the monographs (aka books!) has just about been completed. With just about 6,000 books in the catalog we are now starting to shift the collection from it’s scattered locations throughout the library to an order which we hope is easy for patrons to use. Let me tell you that shifting 6,000 books is no easy task! We have many hands helping us and hope that we do not end up shifting everything too many times! It’s literally dirty work, but thankfully with student helpers who don’t mind, or at least don’t complain too much to me, the job will be completed before August when our students arrive for their next year of vet school.

And now it’s time for some shameless self promotion of the collection! We’re famous – AGAIN! Our books have taken a prominent place on our Hospital for Large Animals website. Don’t they look great? And what a perfect place for them to be seen, on the Health Management page! Note the link on the bottom of the page! Yay!

News in the horse world is teeming with intrigue. Walking with Winnie is a blog written by a woman who was walking cross country from Massachusetts to California with her mustang mare. The mare has, unfortunately, come up with some lameness issues. [note: use Internet Archive waybackmachine https://archive.org/web/ to access an archived copy, search for http://blog.walkingwithwinnie.com. I have enjoyed following them through their journey thus far! In the dressage world, a five time German Olympian, Isabell Werth’s horse has tested positive for banned medication. International riders respond to the testing asking for clearer regulations. An American, Steffen Peters, for the first time has swept the CHIO Aachen! On a sadder note, the Boston Mounted Police force has been disbanded due to budget cuts. This article has strong voice, and is not necessarily my view, nor is it endorsed by the school, however has some interesting parallels between India and the USA.

The next phase for me for the collection is to continue on with the “clean-up” of the difficult titles and then it’s on to the serials! For every end there is a new beginning!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on July 14, 2009 11:22 AM

Show season!
Last weekend was the unofficial start to summer! Here in New England, that means horse show season is upon us. Anyone acquainted with an equine enthusiast might have heard murmurings about showing growing louder. For some wonderful tips on preparation for shows, the collection, of course, provides a wide variety of books in several disciplines.

The shelves left of uncataloged books are dwindling, but there are still some fascinating nooks and crannies left of the collection. For instance, there are two boxes filled with programs from local horse shows! I went and pulled a couple of examples! One is from the Dedham Country and Polo Club in 1959, however from the website, I could find no mention of a horse show. With a tad more digging around the internet, I found that the show actually originated in Norfolk Hunt Club and the show does indeed still go on, but in Medfield now! Yet another horse show program is from the Myopia Show, which continues to run to this day and even will be televised on NESN this year. This show is, according to their website, the 2nd oldest horse show in the US!

This weekend, I will be grooming for my aunt, while she competes at the Intermediare II level of dressage at the Mystic Valley Hunt Club. If you find yourself there, please come and find me! I love to talk about the collection!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on June 1, 2009 3:03 PM

Horsey weekend!
The best kind! Saturday started with the very exciting Preakness and the exciting duel between Rachel Alexandra and Mine that Bird who both ran magnificent races! I am usually a little bored (gasp!) by racing but these stories have piqued my interest and wow, it was a truly amazing race (even though I already knew the winner by the time I watched it… boo!).

Sunday began with my waking up late and running off helter skelter to the barn where my horse, Sandor, is stabled. It was going to be a big day for us! Pam Goodrich, of Foster Meadow Farm, was teaching a clinic. Sandor and I were the 3rd ride and I made it before the first ride even started. Phew! Being late and not watching other’s ride is a no-no in the etiquette of the dressage world! Pam’s distinctive growls were well timed and added humor, both for the riders, and the auditors. Many of the ideas were familiar, but added to the overall effect. Pam rearranged my position a little, so don’t judge my photo too harshly! Nor look at the face too closely – I’m concentrating! Alyssa and Sandor

After feeding the horses and listening to their contented munchings, it was back home I went. One might think the horsing stopped, but no, I found the house empty and decided to indulge yet again! I had not one, but two episodes of Equitrekking was teaching a clinic. Sandor and I were the 3rd ride and I made it before the first ride even started. Phew! Being late and not watching other’s ride is a no-no in the etiquette of the dressage world! Pam’s distinctive growls were well timed and added humor, both for the riders, and the auditors. Many of the ideas were familiar, but added to the overall effect. Pam rearranged my position a little, so don’t judge my photo too harshly! Nor look at the face too closely – I’m concentrating!

On the horsey chart, this weekend measured at least 18 hands!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on May 18, 2009 4:04 PM

Spring has sprung!
Upon returning to the state, I was thrilled to see all of the shades of green, mixing with the blooming of flowers! I was less thrilled to see the hayfield that was my lawn….

The greetings of home are always sweet, even when the dog pretends she doesn’t know you any more. Along with the greetings also came news of the Kentucky Derby and what rags to riches story it was! It warmed my heart, although I missed my mint juleps and had been determined to try some of the recipes from this book: Derby entertaining : traditional Kentucky recipes for my annual party. Alas, I will have to wait until next year!

In dressage news, an American finally has won the FEI Rolex World Cup on American soil! Steffen Peters has been on an amazing journey with his equine partner, Ravel.

In the eventing world, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event was won by an Australian woman. The horse world goes on – even when I’m not in the country!

The collection remains mostly as I’d left it, with the exception of some work done by my worker bee students! I’m delving into the art books, getting distracted occasionally by some truly magnificent photography. If you are looking for art books in the Seaverns collection, start in the N’s! There are photography books in the TRs and picture books in SF 303 – always feel free to ask a librarian! We love to help!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on May 15, 2009 2:03 PM

An exciting day!
The smell of spring is in the air and one can once again begin to feel the warmth of the sun, in between the gusts of wind, of course! On my drive here this morning I was yet again mulling over how lucky I am to be working here – even the drive, while long, is bucolic as I pass by farms and the rolling green field where the dogs find some needed stretching space on my way to Tufts.

And now to the excitement – my sister is coming for a visit, to see the collection and to help me out with some tricky French and Italian titles that have been piling up on my desk. For those who have seen my desk, the piles can be overwhelming! I’m trying to tamp them down, fight against the entropy! The problem is, there’s a reason why these titles were left – they are tricky! Tricky cataloging! My sister is a fellow horsewoman and I am very excited to show her the collection.

Spring cleaning even comes to my desk! It also is, I admit, a task I feel I need to accomplish by the end of the week, as I am going on a long journey to India (click on the link to see our books on India — this collection has everything!). There will be a shortage of posts as I will be out until the second week of June. Hopefully the spring cleaning will remain intact until I return and I don’t find a new pile on my desk!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on April 14, 2009 4:20 PM

Time flies . . .
when you’re having fun! I can’t believe it, it’s been just over a year since we started work on this project and we’re going to reach 1,000 scanned books with the shipment that goes out on Thursday. As always with projects like these, there are many people behind the scenes who are helping. Although my “voice” is prominent, the rest of the staff here at the Vet Library have all helped in many ways. Margot Thompson, who was the mastermind behind the Wiki and the Blog, has also left a surprise on the blog. If you will go to the previous entry and click on “Mac” you will find something very neat. Margret, the director, works on talking up the collection whenever it seems appropriate to help get the word out to a wider audience. Betsy remains on the lookout for the end user, checking my work and ensuring that our records are in some sort of compliance with the rest of the University. Amity handles the Seaverns books with care as they fly off the shelves for ILL to various parts of the country. And Suzanne! Ahh, Suzanne. She gets the pleasure of sharing her office with me and listening to me moan when I find the oddities that keep me awake at night. Dave, well, Dave he makes sure my computer is running in top condition. Many thanks to you all for all that you do and know that this collection isn’t being done in a vacuum, and that without your help, I’d be a long way from finishing!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on March 24, 2009 4:36 PM

My desk and carts lie in a major thru-way for the library. One must pass by to get to the kitchen. This, as you can imagine, leads to a LOT of foot traffic and being a sociable person I enjoy this immensely. I also enjoy when people stop by and peer at the titles on the carts. This one book, Mac by Cecil Aldin which is still on my cart as it is in the middle of a particularly hard batch of cataloging, has attracted a lot of attention from staff members. Each one has stopped, intrigued by either the spine, which is a blue and green tartan, or the front cover, which is a drawing of a dog that one cannot help but say “Awwwww” to. Mac is a treasure and although only one staff member so far has read it, I’m thinking this book might not stay on the bookshelf too long – at least until the staff has a chance to take it home.

A little known fact about the Seaverns collection, is that not only is there an amazing amount of nonfiction, there is also a fairly sizable collection of fiction and even juvenile literature. If you wanted to browse the shelves, PZ 3-10.3 are literature titles, SF 302 is also children’s lit specifically for Horses, and SF 309 for Horsemanship for kids, which is also mixed with books for adults.

Lesson learned: you might find a treasure on your way to the kitchen!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on March 6, 2009 4:19 PM

The World Dressage Masters
What an experience! The Florida circuit is like entering another world – a world where horses are paramount and the money flows around them – you can almost taste it in the air! It was a perfect setting and the performances ranged from beautiful to making the hair on the back of your neck stand upright. Stephen Peters, who won the Grand Prix on the first day, also has a glowing report of the event. All things were, however, not perfect. It was COLD! I bought a winter jacket and a horse blanket to wrap up in! And Anky forgot the test twice! It is always good to know that mistakes can happen to all of us, even those who have won three gold medals! Anky’s musical performance was wonderful and the hair on the back of my neck stood at attention as I was awed by the ride. A heart felt thank you to all of those who participated – you helped to inspire me in my own riding! We’re raring to go now! I wish that there had been a program to bring home, as it would have been something, I think, that John Seaverns would have loved. My photo story is a sad one – I’m just bad at it and I don’t think digital cameras like me…. Alas, I took 8 pictures and they’re all bad…. Sorry!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on February 24, 2009 3:10 PM

A Very Young Rider
As I work my way through the collection, every once and awhile a book makes me take pause. Today that book was A Very Young Rider by Jill Krementz. This book is also one that I own, a present from my grandparents (although with my copy, the dust jacket is long gone!). It was worthy, at least I felt, of many reads and rereads. A touching story of a young girl as she progresses in her riding and showing from ponies to real horses. And what did she get for Christmas? You guessed it, a horse! Well, a larger pony, but close enough! I am not the only one to think this book is wonderful – over 1,000 libraries own a copy of just this edition and there are 9 other records in OCLC for different editions (or perhaps just bad cataloging…)! Check it out!

It has been just over a year that I’ve been working on the collection and I can still say, with much happiness, that I love my job. It still is a dream come true! We’ve finished the books outside the lecture hall and have moved to the 2nd floor of the library now. There are over 4,000 books cataloged.

I am leaving on a journey down to the warmer climes, to see the Gold Medal Olympian ride, along with 19 of her peers in the World Dressage Masters in Wellington, Fl.! I hope to get some photos to share with you all! Stay warm!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on January 28, 2009 11:43 AM

Happy Holidays!
The collection is going along swimmingly, although mentions of swimming in this area right now are probably met with glares. The snow is covering all and the probability of a white Christmas is very good, at least here in New England Are you one of those people whose wish list always includes a horse? Well, as you can imagine, it was all I ever asked for. My parents would always sigh, and say yes, but what ELSE would you like? Here’s to hoping all of your Holiday wishes come true!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on December 23, 2008 3:12 PM

While we Americans are in the spirit of thinking about presidents, I found something spectacular on this Friday afternoon. Sitting on the shelf (one of the last ones outside the lecture halls) was a pile of books that looked of somewhat dubious origin. I was hesitant to catalog them, knowing they were going to be most difficult. On my cart now sat this dubious pile. As I gingerly took one book, two books, some success! They had been cataloged! Polo has been one of the topics that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately. Paul Brown a name I also have seen quite a bit of, has a book entitled ‘Hits and Misses’ full of his own line drawings and signed by Paul himself. Next to this book was what looked like a duplicate until I flipped through the pages, the first of which looked just like the other book, but as I flipped further, I found all of these signatures! Intrigued, I looked further. Dates and names of dinner parties and cocktail parties, signed by the attendees, sometimes with notes, sometimes without! Now, I know you’re thinking that was exciting, but what is really exciting is that none other than Franklin Roosevelt signed it! What a neat end to a dreary Friday!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on November 14, 2008 4:01 PM


Can you lift 50 lbs.?
This is often a requirement for library jobs, especially the back room jobs like mine. Today I found out why. It was a day of miscellanea. With the large number of books being cataloged and processed, and my former student workers busy with their school work, there are bound to be backlogs. I worked on clearing up the reshelving, which sounds simple but with the collection spread over 5 different sections, it becomes trickier than one might want! I did, however, get my free work out, which makes me feel less bad about not using that gym equipment in the basement!

Also on the agenda for the day was offering three students positions to help with this collection. So far, two of them are excited to join the team! Hopefully they will make an appearance on the blog shortly! Stay tuned!

As for that long awaited book review:

Do you think of cowboys when you think of Turkmenistan? I didn’t, but now an image of an American cowboy is going to be inextricably linked. The latest book I’ve read of the collection (and yes, I admit, it took forever!) is Sacred horses: the memoirs of a Turkmen cowboy by Jonathan Maslow. This book is currently out of print but can be found here in our Seaverns Collection. I have learned more about Turkmenistan’s history than I ever could have anticipated. The author became obsessed with the idea of riding an Akhal-Teke which is a breed of horses, known for their distinctive high set neck and colors that literally glow. This obsession takes him on a journey whereupon he finds not only the horses, but many lasting friendships along the way. This book, although dense, leaves one wondering what is going to happen next. Two thumbs up!
Posted by Alyssa Freden on October 3, 2008 2:56 PM