2023 Readers’ Choice Award Winners!

We’ve tallied the votes: click here to find the best Horse Nation content of 2023, as decided by readers!

At the end of each December, we at Horse Nation like to look back on the year that was and highlight the articles, stories and videos that most inspired readers, triggered important conversations or had everyone rolling on the floor with laughter — and then let readers decide which one is deserving of the title of the Best of the Year. The votes are in: let’s see what resonated the most with you in 2023!

Kentucky Performance Products Video of the Year

Extreme Outrider

Originally published on June 13, 2023

“On the track, one of the many tasks outriders have is to catch loose race horses buzzing around. This outrider makes not one but two ridiculous catches at the same time — really showibg off how great he and his mount are at their jobs.”

‘Oh Crap’ Moment of the Year

Green Hunt Horse

Originally published on May 1, 2023

Admittedly, this is probably one of my favorite videos to watch. The commentary is just **chef’s kiss.**

“When I saw this video, all I could think was ‘oh crap’… as I laughed along with this incredibly patient and go-with-the flow rider. The notion of bringing along a green hunt horse is more than my wimpy 40-something brain can handle. But this is one heck of a video and definitely should make all of us appreciate those who can season a hunt horse. Laugh along with this rider and be sure to have the volume up… unless you’re at work. In which case, maybe wait until after work. There’s a fair amount of swearing.”

@blueyedbigdaddy Runaway Horse! 😂😂😂 #horses ♬ original sound – Hidden user

SmartPak Best Series of the Year

Thoroughbred Logic

Catch up on the series here. 

Every week, Aubrey Graham of Kivu Sporthorses offers her logic on training Thoroughbreds. Some of what she writes is specific to the breed, but much of it can be applied to nearly any horse. Aubrey discusses a wide variety of training and management topics, covering everything from turnout to collection to let down to nutrition.

The Idea of Order Cartoon of the Year

Social Skills

Originally published on June 28, 2023

This cartoon is dedicated to those of us whose social skills are highly developed… as long as we’re interacting with other equestrians.

Zoetis Funniest Piece of the Year

I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means: Equestrian Edition

Originally published on January 3, 2023

“Perhaps one of the most quoted lines from The Princess Bride — and there are many, so that’s saying something — is Iñigo Montoya‘s response to Vizzini’s overuse of the word ‘inconceivable.’

“Even if it’s not the most used quote, it’s one I find myself repeating often — sometimes to myself, sometimes aloud (it all depends how salty I’m feeling in the moment). In the equestrian world, I find myself thinking this A LOT. There are a ton of terms that equestrians — or wannabe ‘equestrians’ — use on a regular basis that don’t quite mean what they think it means.”

This list from DeAnn Long Sloan (in collaboration with The Western Thoroughbred) included terms such as dead broke, in your pocket, out of, stand up, dream horse, and many more.


Breeches.com Photo Challenge Gallery of the Year

Face Photos

Originally published on March 16, 2023

“This week we asked to see head shots and wow, did you all deliver! Enjoy these nine photos of horses, up close and personal.”

Photo by Lorin Grey

Etalon DX Fantasy Farm of the Year

Fairytale Estate in California

Originally published on April 28, 2023

This $11.9M estate in Sonoma County was dubbed “A true professional equestrian complex set in incomparable natural beauty,” and it has plenty to drool over. The estate is “set on 30 acres in the serene rolling hills of Petaluma, CA. It’s only minutes to downtown Petaluma and 40 miles north of San Francisco, so this idyllic private sanctuary still lets you get what you need to get without traveling too far out of your way.

“The curated grounds include a reservoir, acres of lawn, gardens, and fenced green pastures.”

The equestrian facilities include an Italian villa-style state of the art professional showcase dream barn, with 15 oversized stalls with rubber matting, an automatic water system that tracks consumption, fly spray system, electric fans, tack room, vet stall, grooming stall, two farrier stations, two bathing stations, a huge storage room, one half bath, and a stable manager’s lounge or office above the stables with kitchenette and full bathroom. Oh yeah. And a rad viewing area of some amazing outdoor arenas.

Story of the Year

Operation X: Where Do We Go From Here?

Originally published on November 28, 2023

“Ultimately, we have to be more responsible for seeking out appropriate dressage education for ourselves – regarding the training process itself as well as evaluating the professionals we choose to work with. We also need to be willing to speak up about questionable practices as we see them, not turn a blind eye because we are dazzled by talented horses or chandeliers in the barn aisle. Certainly, everyone can have a bad ride, or a momentary lapse in judgement, but when those lapses are the norm there’s a problem. And when it gets to the point that ‘everyone in the industry knows’ the riding is questionable – so much so that a tv station goes undercover to bust them — well, then it’s an official dumpster fire.”

Staff writer Morgane Schmidt penned this op-ed on what she refers to as the “current dumpster fire that is the fall out from Operation X.”

Thank you for your votes and thank you for reading. We look forward to continuing to be your go-to website for all things horsey in 2024. Happy New Year!