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Why my first book ended up on the shelf as soon as it arrived

I knew I would have a busy time this week with so many big things all arriving together at the end of the month, so I was trying to be very organised… and then the Time Thieves stepped in.

By Horse Agility Club founder Vanessa Bee


Horse Agility Handbook

The Horse Agility Handbook available from the club shop

It all started on Friday afternoon when, at lunchtime, 500 Horse Agility handbooks arrived.



I should have felt excited, I should eagerly have ripped open a box and gleefully leafed through the pages and photos I know so well, but I felt not one jot of exhilaration. My first published book and its gestation period has been that of an elephant.


It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but they were a week later arriving than promised and as we had taken a lot of pre-publication orders, I was very eager to get them sent out. It's a throwback to my days in the greetings card industry – I hate being late sending out orders.


In those days, I was supplying shops and I always felt that every day the goods weren't out there on the shelves, they were lost sales.


So despite the books going out to individuals, I felt the old panic set in and we started packing up orders to send out all over the world immediately. I won't reveal the postage bill but it was more than a good night out at the pub. By Monday, we'd sent out more than 200 books and the feedback is good. The sales are continuing to come in but a few each day is much less daunting. My description of sending out books sounds so smooth and seamless doesn't it?


But that's where the Time Thieves stepped in. I had a Horse Agility fun day on Sunday so I set all the equipment up on Saturday morning to give me the afternoon free to finish orders. I had just got into the swing of it when I heard a tap at the window.


There was a face. A long, brown and white face with brown pricked ears.


"Hello," I said to the face. "Hello," it replied in pony speak. I opened the door and there was another face, a long grey face beside the brown and white one. "Hello, who are you?"


There was a moment's hesitation, then two faces turned into bottoms and headed away from me as fast as their hoofs could take them.


First job was to check the gate on to the main road was shut. Thank goodness it was, otherwise we might have had a big problem. I knew the pony and his horsey friend were pretty well safe in our private lane.


My first thought was that someone must be frantically looking for them. They wore no tack or headcollars so I was sure they had got out of a field.


A few phone calls to friends decided where they hadn't come from. But I'd already a strong suspicion where they had escaped from.


I jumped in the car and raced round to a small livery yard on the other side of the forest to see a worried group of people wondering which direction to go next. It was great to be able to tell them that all was well and that their horses were safe.


But my best-laid plans were gone, the afternoon was over and I had horses to feed and sort out for the night. But it's strange, I never resent that sort of interruption because horses escaping from fields is every horse owner's nightmare. It has only happened to me once but I was 675 miles away in working in Scotland. I'll save that story for another time!


Buy a copy for yourself at the club shop at http://shop.thehorseagilityclub.com


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