Presenting The First Annual International Lesson Horse Day Essay Contest Winner

For the inaugural International Lesson Horse Day, Horse Nation teamed up with Absorbine to host an essay contest seeking to crown the world’s greatest lesson horse. The votes have been tallied and we’re ready to present our winner!

No matter if we are recreational horse enthusiasts or professional riders at the top of our game — or likely somewhere in the middle — we all have a lesson horse to thank somewhere along our equestrian journey. On April 26, we recognize the contributions lesson horses have made to the horse world and take a moment to honor these patient, hardworking souls. We teamed up with Absorbine to help recognize the world’s best lesson horse on this international holiday and award the winning essayist a special prize package!

You wrote mini-essays and sent us your photos of your beloved lesson mounts — we received over 70 entries and read each one. There were countless stories of equines of all ages, shapes and sizes helping riders young and old on their equestrian journeys in every step of the way. Some essays were written in loving memory of lesson horses who have left us. It was so hard to choose just ten finalists that we decided to open up our final round to our favorite 12 essays.

We then welcomed readers to enjoy the finalist essays and vote for their favorites: over 6,000 readers cast their ballot in an exciting final round that saw many lead changes. One lesson horse stood out from the rest, however, claiming over a third of the total votes cast.

We are happy to present the winner of the first annual International Lesson Horse Day essay contest:


Submitted by Alexandra Manwarren

Photo by Barbara Wertheimer

Photo by Barbara Wertheimer

Casey. He was the definition of the perfect therapeutic lesson horse: a gentle, giant, white Percheron who was wise, sensitive and patient. After starting out as a NYC carriage horse, he came to Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Academy in Philadelphia to begin a new career as a therapy horse for people with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities.

He gave strength to those that had none; his capable legs carried a rider whose legs could not support themselves; he provided safety, security and self-confidence to those who had little. He was the guardian of secrets when a troubled rider needed a confidant; a patient horse that knew his frustrated rider needed extra time to tell seizing muscles to relax. At the end of a lesson, he would bow his head to accept the praise from his rider for a job well done. He knew his riders, he knew their hearts and he accepted them unconditionally.

This special member of our equestrian staff was taken from our program too soon.  There is an empty stall in our barn and a chasm in our hearts that can never replace what Casey gave to our program, and especially, our riders.


On International Lesson Horse Day, we recognize and remember Casey and his comrades in barns and stables all over the world, working tirelessly without complaint to nurture the next generation of equestrians.

Our special thanks goes to Absorbine, not only for teaming up with HN to host this contest but for their recognition and support of equestrians and lesson horses of all levels!

Go lesson horses, and go riding!

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