THE ADVENTURES OF OTI AND VALENTINA
Oti Moves To California
By Nicola Ducharme
Valentina had always loved horses and dreamed of having her own. One day, her dream came true when her family met Oti, a sweet, snuggly horse with a fun personality. As Oti moved to California to be with his new family, he became excited thinking that maybe he could become a Hollywood star. But as he settled into his new home and was cared for and loved by Valentina, he realized that was all he needed.
Join Valentina and Oti in this fun and loving story of friendship and acceptance.
About the Author
Nicola Ducharme lives in San Diego, California with her husband Dave and their daughter Valentina. She grew up in Australia, and loved to ride horses as a child, but never had a horse of her own, and never went beyond riding for pleasure.
Nicola moved to the United States and became a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. She had her daughter Valentina at the age of 41. When Valentina was 2 years old, they were introduced to a gorgeous little pony named Cookie and started doing pony rides. It wasn’t long before Nicola realized that she wanted to reconnect with her childhood love of horses too, and started doing lessons herself.
Fast forward 3 years, and Oti joined the family. Nicola and Valentina both fell in love with him, and he has completely changed both their lives for the better. Valentina and Oti have developed a deep bond, which inspired Nicola to write stories about them.
Nicola still works as a Naturopathic Doctor, and has written several books on Lyme disease; but her foray into the world of children’s books has become a passion for her.
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Valentina has always loved animals, and horses. She started riding when she was two years old, and hasn’t looked back. Valentina and Mama sometimes compete for who actually owns Oti – so they share him and call themselves Big Mama and Little Mama. Oti loves them both equally, but knows that Valentina is the keeper of the treats.
Valentina has other loves too – ballet, gymnastics, and all kinds of dance are fun for her. She sews her own clothes, and loves arts and crafts.
She loves hanging out with her friends at the barn, and can be found on any given Sunday doing the course of jumps set up for the kids (“people jumps”) after her riding lesson, and eating French fries and milkshakes. She has a strong bond with her trainer, Cathy – they share a similar sense of humor and Cathy teaches Valentina to play the guitar that she gave her.
She loves to travel, and with family in New York, England and Australia, has many opportunities to do so. She misses Oti though, along with her dogs and bunnies, and as much as she loves to go away, she always loves coming home.
Valentina is wise beyond her years; she is a sweet, sensitive child. Always fun and easy to be around, she makes friends just as easily as Oti. They are a great pair.
Oti is part horse, part dog, and part clown. He is sweet, fun-loving, affectionate and has a great sense of humor.
Nicola and Valentina wanted a safe, gentle horse, and Oti certainly is that. His favorite gait is stop! While he definitely kicks up his hooves when it’s play time, he’s not one to go running off with them on him – part of what they love about him. He loves to be in their space and snuggle up to them, much like a golden retriever, and always wants to be by their side.
Oti has a mystical quality to him. It might be mostly to do with his long, magical mane and huge fluffy hooves. But it’s really his sweet nature and personality that wins hearts everywhere he goes.
But don’t be fooled, there’s a little clown in there too. He’ll try to pull your zipper down on your shirt, he sticks his tongue out for most pictures he’s in, and will sneak his next door neighbor’s water even when he has two full buckets of his own, just to be a pest.
Oti thinks life is one big party and he’s the guest of honor.