Happy Thanksgiving From the Horse Nation Team!

The staff and contributors of Horse Nation have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.


Leslie Wylie, Editor-in-Chief

I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given to be a part of this amazing project called Horse Nation. I’m thankful for everyone who has supported us along the way, including our talented contributors, generous sponsors, and of course Horse Nation’s loyal readers! You guys re-energize me every day with your love and devotion to the common denominator that unites us all: horses.

Speaking of which, shout-out to my own two equines, Mishka…


…and Esprit.


The world just looks better between their ears.

Kristen Kovatch Bentley, Managing Editor

I received a text message from a friend last week:

brain and heart

And I laughed and sent her back some sort of commiserating response, feeling ever so lucky to have somehow landed myself in a career that doesn’t require me to make this particular choice, working with an amazing team of people who never cease to amaze me over and over again (and maybe scare me a little bit) with the hilariousness they create out of this equestrian life. Truly, the past calendar year has given me so many things to be thankful for, not the least of which includes marrying a man who is remarkably tolerant of the fact that I have more photographs of myself with Red the Cow Pony than the two of us as a married couple. In a world where so many horrific things happen on a daily basis, I am thankful for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, the people around me and the opportunity to continue to do what I love.


Lorraine Jackson, Staff Writer

My default setting as a regular HN contributor is to be thankful for stuff like viral videos of Clydesdales farting in symphonic unison, but when the world feels a little downtrodden with turmoil, I feel so incredibly thankful that my biggest problem is that my mustang just put another 2 foot hole in the turnout blanket that she doesn’t really need. My problems aren’t even really problems — they’re inconveniences associated with my life’s INCREDIBLE luxuries. I feel profoundly lucky to have the luxury of enjoying my life’s passion and sharing it with a horse with so much to give.

Horse Nation Lorraine Jackson and Itxa

Lindsey Kahn, Staff Writer

I would never have become the horse-riding, art-creating, muddy-jeans-wearing, cavaletti-toting weirdo I am today if it weren’t for my very non-horsey parents. So thanks, Mom and Dad, for encouraging me to feed my passion. I’m thankful for my supportive partner Michael, even though the only equine body part that he knows is, oddly, the pastern. I’m thankful for the unforgettable members of my barn family, who make my job so much fun.
I’m thankful for my students, from the spunky peanuts to the hardworking high schoolers (I know, it sounds contradictory). They all entertain and challenge me, and motivate me to continue my own education. Of course, I’m also thankful for the saintly lesson horses who teach these kids the joys and frustrations of riding horses.
Lastly, I’m forever thankful for the horses I’ve owned over the years: to my first horse, who kept the local vet clinic in business by frequently impaling himself on innocuous blunt objects; to the first horse I started under saddle, who is brightening the lives of his new owner and riders; to my Irish jumping bean, who mare-glares at her reflection in the mirror; and to my little gray gelding, who desperately wants to be a lap dog.
Four off the ground2

Photo by Jackie Metelak.

Amanda Uechi Ronan, Staff Writer

I’m very thankful for being introduced to a new discipline this year. Polo has taken over my life, but I love it! On that note, I’m extremely thankful for my dedicated #horsehusband who has not only been waking up at 5 a.m. every weekend since March to feed the horses and cook our breakfast, but dragging me out of bed at 6 a.m. afterwards to drive us to the polo club. I’m thankful to my seven-year-old daughter for being the best cheerleader and wearing my “team colors” to matches. Last but not least, I’m thankful to my three horses who put up with me swinging a 52-inch wooden mallet very close to their heads while I stick and ball at home. They still have no idea what I’m doing, but they’re in it to win it.

Photo Courtesy Amanda Uechi Ronan.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Uechi Ronan.

 Morgane Schmidt Gabriel, Staff Writer/Cartoonist

I’m thankful for seasons that don’t include snow, the times I manage to sneak horse laundry into our house washer without being caught, hot showers, summer time, and the general chaos that is life with horses. Oh, and also I’m thankful for not winter; did I mention that already? ;)

In all seriousness though, there are quite a few legitimate things I’m quite thankful for. For starters, my wonderful friends and family who make me laugh, cry, and occasionally scream, and who never fail to support my dreams (however absurd). Additionally, I’m thankful for the fabulous horses in my life who continually give 110% and never fail to astound me with their seemingly endless generosity and compassion. We could all stand to learn a bit about life from them.

I’m thankful for my ridiculously wonderful husband who somehow manages to put up with, and support, my seemingly incurable horse addiction, and who also is always there to pick up the pieces when the inevitable horse tragedy occurs. He has no idea just how fabulous he is.

And finally, I’m thankful that somehow I’ve been lucky enough to have had the myriad opportunities in my life that have allowed me to follow my dreams and continue to grow and explore not only the world around me, but the world within me as well.

Photo (c) Michele Ting

Photo (c) Michele Ting

Sally Spickard, Staff Writer

I try to keep stock of the things I have to be thankful for throughout the year. Sometimes, the going gets tough and it’s easy to forget. I recently got the disheartening news that my 5-year-old OTTB is most likely done with his short-lived eventing career, and I thought my heart was going to shatter as I hand walked him around the indoor (which I am also thankful for!) last night.

But then I stopped for and took a moment to just gaze at my happy, go-lucky baby horse. The horse who I plucked out of a pasture and essentially started from scratch with. I named him Fawkes after the phoenix in Harry Potter because he symbolized a rise out of a dark spot for me. He gave me wings, and even if his career is already over, I will never be able to thank him enough. I am thankful that he will live his life with me so that I can show him my gratitude each and every day.

Photo by Jaiden Waddle.

Photo by Jaiden Waddle.

Maria Wachter, Staff Writer

I’m thankful for my family, friends, and loved ones. I’m thankful that I am blessed to own horses and mules, and have the money to be able to take care of them properly. I’m thankful for my health and happiness. Right now, I’m VERY thankful that the weather has cooled off enough for all the flies to die.


Candace Wade, Staff Writer

I am thankful for the parents I had and the life my adventuresome, patient, supportive and gutsy husband and I have built together.

Eileen Cody, Contributor

I have so many things to be thankful for every day, none of which would even be possible without my amazing support network (or “squad,” as the kids are calling it these days). So, really, I’m most thankful for them: my completely non-horsey family who encourage my habit nonetheless (shout-out to my still-terrified-of-horses mom, who thought nothing of driving four hours last weekend to see me ride in one five-minute flat class); wonderful friends who keep me laughing and don’t judge me for splitting almost all of my free time between horses and aggressively marathoning British baking shows; my coach and the AU equestrian team, who collectively talked me into getting back in the show ring this year and helped me remember how much fun it can be; and Tripp, the little Thoroughbred with a big attitude who’s spent the past six months teaching me patience, that some questions have more than one right answer (and even more wrong ones), and that there’s no bad day that can’t be made better by horse breath.


Biz Stamm, Contributor

I was very overwhelmed while pondering everything for which I’m thankful. There are so many things! This is a fantastic problem to have, and after stressing about, and over thinking what should be a very simple to paragraph to write for hours, I think I’ve narrowed it down. This past year was a tough one. I spent a good portion of it injured and incapacitated, and those of you that know me know that sitting still and resting is not my forte.  I lost my mind a little less thanks to these three, amazing guys.

Dave, the husband who took the best care of me, always keeping a good sense over humor about things,


Kalvin, the saint who patiently tolerated my uncoordinated flailing when I decided I NEEDED some horse time despite still being on crutches,


and Helix, the court jester who was always finding new ways to entertain me, whether it be attempting to wash his grain pan in his water tub, or rearranging the barrels and cones in the arena.

Muddy Helix

Love you guys!

Sabrina Stoffregen, Contributor

I am thankful for the…

  • Miracle of my mare and her twin foals surviving an intense delivery
  • Sight of my horses galloping across the pasture to meet me at the gate
  • Unbreakable bond that grows as my daughters fall in love with their horses
  • Trust earned and trust given between horse and rider
  • Arrival of new tack and the smell of a new saddle
  • Lessons horses teach me about trust, love, and independence
  • Smell of fresh hay delivered to the barn
  • Patience of my horses when my daughters dress them up as unicorns for Halloween
  • Gentle nuzzles of velvet noses from my filly and colt when I bring carrots to the barn
  • Excitement of selecting new riding boots and breeches
  • Quiet presence of my equine companions as we walk through a grassy pasture
  • Freedom, connectedness, and confidence I feel when riding
  • Way my horses connect with my soul and melt my heart with just a glance
  • Weekends and evenings cleaning tack, mucking out stalls, and grooming my horses
  • Feel of holding the reins in my hands and me and my horse moving gracefully in stride together
  • Joy of teaching my daughters to braid their horses’ manes and tails
  • Gracefulness and beauty of my horses running free
Photo Courtesy Sabrina Stoffregen.

Photo Courtesy Sabrina Stoffregen.


Leave a Comment


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *