By Cindy Jo Ayers
Ann Almond of Northeast Gilchrist County has written her first book, Joy Ride. Almond is an avid trail rider and lover of horses. She grew up in the Melbourne area of Florida moving to Gilchrist County in 1993. She and her husband Bill live at Raindance Farm and have two Arabian horses. The book, Joy Ride was written from a collection of stories written over the past few years from her adventures trail riding.
While describing her first book, local Almond wrote, “Enjoying the trails of Florida’s pines and palmettos on horseback has been my passion for over 30 years. Joy Ride is a collection of my adventures on horseback. I was a horse crazy kid who fell in love with the Arabian horse early in my life. Not having the means to take lessons, much less own a horse, I had to wait until I was an adult to fulfill my dream.
The wait was worth it, as I began my horse life with my first horse, Bask, and I discovered the sheer joy of owning, caring for, training, and loving my horses. Having raised and trained my Arabian horses for the past three decades, I have a deep love and bond with them and it flourishes each time we explore the trails, either on solo rides or with some great friends.
The feeling of riding your horse through some of God’s beautiful creation, sometimes encountering obstacles, both physical and emotional, is something beyond magical. It gets in your soul. I view it as a connection to God’s creation, provisions, and love. Riding astride my trusting horses, we have shared many fun and exciting adventures together. Camping with my horse allows even more time and opportunity to deepen our partnership. Having friends who share this passion adds to the fun. Join me on some of my fun adventures through the real Florida: a land of flowers, pines, palmettos, lakes, rivers, and oceans.”
Almond said one of her favorite places to ride is O’Leno/River Rise State Park, especially during summer months because of the shade. She also said with all the issues facing our nation today, it’s easy to get caught up with the negative impacts of the evil in our fallen world. Having a healthy activity, like horseback riding helps reconnect us to God’s natural world and His amazing provisions for all of us.
She went on to say, our part of Florida is full of great places to ride: River Rise State Park, San Felasco State Park, Watermelon Pond State Forest, Suwannee River Water Management lands-all waiting to be seen from the back of a horse.
As Winston Churchill said, “There’s something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
Almond said, “I believe God designed them that way, as a tool to help us. Even if people cannot ride, petting, grooming, or just spending time with a horse can be very therapeutic. I am forever thankful to our Lord that I have these wonderful treasures in my life.”
Her future plans include writing a children’s book about their many pets at Raindance Farm and maybe a book on her hiking experience across the Grand Canyon.
“Joy Ride” by Ann Almond is available on Amazon.com in both eBook and paperback (print on demand) or readers can purchase the book directly from Almond at her website, www.raindancefarm.com, and fill out the contact form; or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org., also Bits & Spurs Tack in Jonesville carries the book.
For information on her horses and upcoming books, please visit www.raindancefarm.com.
Local author writes first book, Joy Ride
By Cindy Jo Ayers