John Thier feels the sum of his life experience is best expressed by the following: “So, one spring I was riding horses for Phillip down in Aiken. Phillip would put the working student riding assignments for each day in this big notebook. I would always get the little red mares because Phillip has a sense of humor, or something. But one morning, I looked in the book, and next to my name were the three nicest horses in the barn other than the ones that Phillip was riding. I felt like the luckiest guy on earth. At the end of the day, Phillip asked me how the horses had felt. Feeling like a big shot and pretty full of myself, I gave him a really objective answer. I said that I thought they needed improvement in this area and that area and what not. I think it either annoyed Phillip, or I was completely wrong about the horses because I was put on nothing but red mares for the rest of the spring.” [Email John]
Kristen Kovatch Bentley is a self-proclaimed horseback writer located in Mayville, New York. A former dabbler in equitation, horsemanship, reining and reined cowhorse, Kristen also spent a few years on the range working a cattle/guest ranch in Wyoming. Kristen now bothers cattle from horseback on the family farm with her racehorse-turned-ranch horse Jobber Bill and shows Percherons with her family. [Email Kristen] [Twitter] [Instagram]
DeAnn Long Sloan is a former English teacher who has been searching for a way to channel her love and judgement of most things literary into her passion for horses. DeAnn rode casually throughout her childhood and adolescence, but did not ride with any regularity or own her own horse until well into adulthood. Since jumping into horse ownership, she has tried to immerse herself in the equestrian world as much as possible by becoming a certified equine sports massage therapist and contributing to Horse Nation. Her main past times include trying to be slightly less bad at riding and avoiding as many vet bills as possible. [Email DeAnn]
Kristen M. Brennan grew up a horseless but horse crazy kid in New Jersey. A horse was at the top of her Christmas and birthday list year after year, but her parents’ response was always “Go to school, get a good job and then you buy your own a horse.” So she did just that. After almost a decade of higher education and two cross-country moves, she landed herself in the middle of the horse capitol of the world, Lexington Kentucky and that inner horse girl went wild. Together with her husband and young son, she owns Fall Line Farm LLC, home to her beloved horses, some chickens and a few boarders. Living by the motto “My life is just a bunch of ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ all strung together,” she showed her OTTB Marcus in the hunters, jumpers, equitation, local medals then tried eventing until his retirement in 2018. Realizing that he was much easier to deal with when gainfully employed, Marcus came out of retirement to be the world’s worst trail horse and dabble in Western Dressage. In 2019, through Horse Nation, Kristen chronicled her journey to the Retired Racehorse Project with her special OTTB Geoffrey , who she impulsively took off the track when she was supposed to “just go look” at horses (Sorry hubby!). Geoffrey, aka “Snap Decision,” and Kristen are now working their way up the levels in eventing and having a blast.
Nicole Cammuso has been immersed in horses and science alike by working as a vaccine researcher, horse trainer, boarding stable manager, and veterinary technician, making those very expensive framed pieces of paper from higher education establishments not entirely a waste. After years of taking on any and every kind of horse a client would send her way, Nicole found her niche in retraining off-track Thoroughbreds. She recently downsized her equine business for a full-time job in the financial world, but training never stops as she has a young filly she is starting from the ground up. Nicole is excited to be contributing to Horse Nation, sharing her progress and process developing her horses. Nicole’s hobbies include mounted shooting and an eccentric interest in developing feeding programs for the horses in her care.
A freelance writer, Jessica Fox spends her days ghostwriting for businesses…after she’s snuck to the barn at the crack of dawn. Though living in Los Angeles, Jessica is a Maryland native who grew up riding (then jumping) anything she could throw a leg over and eating as much crab as possible. Now she’s a grown-up still riding anything she can throw a leg over, but is half-passing with varied success instead of thundering cross country. Horseless at the moment, she exercises a variety of mounts at a dressage barn where she hopes her next equine BFF will fall in her lap. She’s currently finishing a novel and brings her penchant for turning everything into a story to Horse Nation. [Email Jessica]
Ashley Francese started riding at the age of four when her father bought her an elderly cantankerous mule. Now a saddle fitter, horse trainer, and riding instructor, she enjoys working with horses with behavioral problems. Ashley loves off-the-track horses and has several Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds in her barn. A lifelong nerd and a lover of all things ancient, she is also a Latin teacher with a Masters degree in English. Writing for Horse Nation allows her to marry her love of horses with her love of words.
Casey French is a wife, mother, barrel racer personal blogger, dog lover and attractor of “the complicated and quirky equine athlete.” Born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, she grew up in a rodeo family. Casey has dabbled in both English and Western disciplines as well as horse racing. She now resides in Charlotte,TN, and when she is not baby wrangling she spends her time training future hopefuls and countless hours reading equine wellness articles in hopes of achieving peak performance with her equine partners.
Morgane Schmidt is a teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She has completed both her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently focused on bringing along Stormy, an APHA gelding, at PSG/I1 and introducing Willie, her coming four-year-old Dutch gelding, to the ways of the show world (though she tries not to be the one with the ‘harpy on a string’ in the warm-up ring). Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, Stormy, The Husband, and writing gross grad school papers. In her “free time” (i.e. the time she should be sleeping) she draws horses. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com or her training site at www.xhaltsalute.com.
Marcella Gruchalak started riding in her teenage years. When she turned 16, her father told her she could have a car or a horse. She picked the old hand-me-down family car, but turned around the next day and bought a horse with her savings. From then on she’s had her fair share of fall offs and bolting experiences, which have helped her balance and seat. She’s up to try any discipline with her horses but you’ll most likely see her making her best effort in impersonating Annie Oakley in the mounted shooting ring.
Noelle Maxwell is an all-around horse nerd, equestrian history geek, and reader of books both horsey and non-horsey. Highlights of her rider/writer career so far include but aren’t limited to her ongoing project on Nautical, the Horse with the Flying Tail and getting to interview some pretty cool people (including the legendary Bill Steinkraus). [Twitter]
Candace Wade wrote the book Horse Sluts – The Saga of Two Women on the Trail of Their Yeehaw. She has contributed to Horse Nation, Mature Lifestyles, Riding and Writing, The Tennessean and is a member of American Horse Publications. Candace writes political diatribe, wrote “Hillary’s View” pet column and four unpublished film scripts. She learned to ride at age 46. Still rides at 59+. [Email Candace] [Horse Sluts on Facebook]
Go Team. Go Riding!