Team HN: What We’re Thankful For
It’s Thanksgiving and all of us here at Horse Nation are counting our blessings.
The other day while I was cleaning my monster’s turnout, she walked over to the wheelbarrow, backed her can up to the front lip, SAT DOWN in the wheelbarrow until it tipped forward onto the ground and spilled manure everywhere, stood back up, and proceeded to itch her big red butt on the upright handle bars.
All that is to say that, while she’s a dump-load of work, I am thankful beyond measure that my horse is the funniest creature (human or animal) that I know, and being around her every day makes me forget all my first world problems for awhile. I would not trade her personality for all the talent in Phillip Dutton’s barn.
There’s so much to be thankful for after a pretty crazy year — my number-one thing to be thankful for is my amazing fiancé Erik who is happily by my side after a scary trailer crash this summer (the horses are OK too!) and the way he’s let me take over his life, his family farm, his horses and basically everything else. Despite wrecking up trucks and trailer we’ll all be around to look grumpy in sunglasses on wagons for many years to come. At the risk of this getting too emotional I’ll also add that I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to make a career out of writing weird stuff about horses for the internet — thanks, Horse Nation!
I’m thankful that the readers of Horse Nation give me an excuse to undertake inadvisable adventures (jousting, sidesaddle, foxhunting, the list goes on) and interview all kinds of cool people, from Shetland pony steeplechasers to dressage mule divas. I’m thankful for my family and friends for their endless patience and generosity, without which I doubt I would still be riding at all. I’m especially thankful for my fiance Byron. He supports me in every harebrained idea, is completely unfazed when I show him ads for $15,000 horses, and he’s even caught the horse bug himself and started taking riding lessons. I feel incredibly lucky, and a little afraid that we may end up living in a stall. Which actually would not be that bad.
Photo credit: Ian Sbalcio Photography
Amanda Uechi Ronan
I’m thankful for being loved — by my mom who taught me to be compassionate to all God’s critters, by my husband who tolerates utter insanity most days, by my amazing kid who “always sides with Momma,” and by all my other family members and friends in my support network. I’m thankful for learned humility and a growing sense of humor; the good Lord knows you need both when working with horses. I’m thankful for setbacks and failures, because in hindsight they usually teach me more than wins. I’m thankful for the opportunity to write stories (sometimes informative, hopefully always entertaining) about my passion in life — horses. And I’m thankful for all the simple things — health, clean water, a roof over my head, sunshine, the smell of a clean horse, the feel of a puppy licking my face, the sound of a cat purring as it’s curled in my lap, and tacos…because I really like tacos.
There are tons of standard things I’m thankful for — my wonderful family and friends, my animals, my career, my health — I feel like most of humanity would concur these are worthwhile things to be appreciative of. There are a few other things, however, that I feel like only fellow equestrians can truly appreciate. So, as an equestrian, these are some additional things I am thankful for…
1. I am thankful for my young horse: for the days he chooses not to dump me in the arena footing when it’s 15 degrees outside and for the awesome hands on veterinary skills he’s helped me hone (I am also thankful for his grossly cute face and his unwavering devotion to sugar cubes).
2. I am thankful for my old horse: for how well (and often) he demonstrates how poorly I’m actually riding to anyone knowledgeable and how generously he allows those with no clue how to ride to believe they’re the next Olympic super stars.
3. I am thankful for my trainer/mentor: for how she still allows herself to be seen with me at the shows when I insist on dressing my geldings in pink and wearing every sparkly accoutrement imaginable. I’m also thankful, of course, for her expertise when I am convinced that I have irreparably screwed up my young horse (she talks me down from that ledge quite often).
4. I am thankful for my vet: for how she expertly fields those 2 a.m. colic calls and how beautifully she handles my neurosis and assuages my fears that the nearly imperceptible bump on my horse’s leg is not a bowed tendon, torn ligament, broken bone, rare skin disease, burrowing bug, small alien pustule, etc, etc.
5. I am thankful for my farrier: for how kindly he refrains from strangling me after I call him multiple times on a Sunday convinced that my young horse’s foot is somehow broken and about to fall off (and how he comes out on said Sunday to look, and also brings wine with him).
6. I am thankful for my best showing cohort/friend: for how awesomely she listens to me as we trade tales of training woe and how badly we are riding, and how wholeheartedly she embraces and encourages the gross amount of horse show bling we both adore.
7. I am thankful for my working student/minion: for how organized she keeps me and how she cheerfully agrees to do all the things I absolutely loathe doing (*cough, cough* body clipping and washing the ALL white paint horse for the shows).
And finally, I am thankful for my husband who puts up with me constantly being gone all day, spending all of his money on “Horse Fashion,”* coming home smelling like the barn and covered in hay, and just generally being absolutely terrible at domestic chores. He’s pretty amazing.
What am I thankful for? I don’t even know where to begin. I get to spend all day every day doing what I love alongside a stable of talented writers whose passion for horses shines through in every word they write. Even better, people seem to enjoy reading what we write. I have a sweetie-pie of a horse who gets hearts in his eyes every time he sees me and two adorable bunnies who inexplicably hate my guts. I’m madly in love with my husband, whose kind heart and generosity of spirit inspires me every day. My family is true-blue and my friends keep my spirit afloat. When I stop to consider how blessed I am, I literally feel overwhelmed.
Happy Thanksgiving, Horse Nation. Go Riding!
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