Standlee Best Contributor Column of 2017

Vote for your favorite column here!

Welcome to the 2017 Horse Nation Readers’ Choice Awards! For 2017, we’re giving readers the opportunity to look back at some of your favorite posts and articles from the past year and decide which of them deserves to win the ultimate year-end title.

For the Standlee Best Contributor Column, we’re featuring the best of our contributing writers’ column work from the past year. Check them out one more time and then vote in the poll below! Our Readers’ Choice Award winners will be announced on Friday, December 29.

The nominees are…

The Academic Equestrian

Haley stopping Jeri. Photo by Ellie Woznica of Counting HoofBeats Photography

“However, since the words “I can’t” have no place in the saddle, we persevere in our pursuit of competence, having the good grace to laugh at our mistakes, to pet the saintly animals who pack us around, to retain focus and keep trying no matter how little progress we think we are making.” (From “Learning Humility,” September 20, 2017)

Haley Ruffner details the ins and outs of life as an intercollegiate rider: how to maintain friendships when you’re competing against each other, instilling confidence in yourself and your teammates, and all the ways one can say “whoa” on a reining horse. Review her column here.

Equestrian Social Media

Stock image licensed by Entrigue Consulting

“As a professional equestrian, you’re probably using social media as a rider or to help promote your small business. If you’re trying to build your accounts and your profiles, or are new to social media, the best way to look at the world of digital TMI is that of an online community.” (From “Dos & Don’ts For the Professional,” September 1, 2017)

Claire Trafton of Entrigue Consulting helps readers navigate the waters of social media and self-promotion for both amateurs and professionals, from wading through new amateur eligibility rules to client/trainer relationship tips. Review her column here.

Fat to Fit to First Level

Photo: Tess McHone/Everyday Beauty Photography

“The response to that single photograph was so positive, it made me realize there are a lot of riders like me. Riders who are not young, but still active. Riders who are not thin, but striving to be more fit. Riders who are not independently wealthy, not riding six-figure horses, and not ready to hang up their boots.” (From “An Invitation,” June 16, 2017)

Esther Roberts invites readers on a “raw, rugged, honest journey” of weight loss and overall health and harmony both in the saddle and in everyday life, from challenges on the back of her green mustang to the tranquility of the yoga mat on her front porch to making the best choices while dining out. Review her column here.

Lessons Learned

Those knees, that smile – we both had fun! Photo by Erik Jacobs / P.TEN Marketing

“From the very first jump all the way to the last one of the course, JJ was a total rock star. He had a lovely pace, a wonderful attitude, and said “sure thing, mom” to every jump – even the ones I could tell he wasn’t entirely confident about. It felt effortless, and we crossed the finish five minutes later to officially complete our first event back after 1.5 years off. I may have definitely yelled ‘I HAVE THE BEST HORSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!’ as we ran through the timing flags, and Miriam may have definitely shed a tear or two.” (From “The Return of Ainsley & JJ,” December 5, 2017)

Ainsley Jacobs treats every eventing competition and every ride like the learning experience it is, and finds the takeaway lesson from every moment she spends in the saddle — including not just the good, but the bad and the ugly as well. Review her column here.

Thoroughbred Incentive Program Youth Ambassadors of the Month

Photo: Rachel Sulman

“Thoroughbreds are such intelligent and willing animals who genuinely want to please. If you can develop a partnership with a thoroughbred at any opportunity – take it. You will both learn so much from each other about patience, persistence, dedication, and trust, and be rewarded in the most incredible ways. I can’t recommend thoroughbreds highly enough for any discipline, as even after their racing careers they are so versatile and quick to learn that will excel wherever you may take them. The average person has many careers in their lifetime, why should a thoroughbred only have one?” (TIP Youth Ambassador Teri Simone, November 9, 2017)

The Thoroughbred Incentive Program honors a youth ambassador each month and publishes their individual stories and profiles with Horse Nation to help spotlight these young riders who are not only talking the talk but walking the walk by representing the Thoroughbred breed in their own equestrian communities. Review the column here.

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