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.
Allie Carlson is a lifelong equestrian originally from Connecticut currently living in Alaska. She grew up learning about and loving horses as part of her local 4-H club and showing on the hunter/jumper circuit. She has her bachelors in Equine Business Management and Riding from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island and has dabbled in many different facets of the horse world, including teaching therapeutic riding, being an assistant trainer, vet tech, groom and working in advertising for an equine publication. Allie now splits her time between working for Herd of Zebras, freelance writing and studying equine massage therapy. She is a proud horse mom and will happily talk your ear off about her heart horse, Josh, and her current partner in crime, Wyatt. Allie is an Air Force wife. She and her husband have two dogs and enjoy hiking and exploring wherever the military sends them.
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.
Jenny Kammerer is a professional artist, video producer and frustrated Philadelphia sports fan who’s been in the saddle since the age of four. When she was 16, she met her Paint/QH/Draft cross Gibson (aka Guitar Solo) as a green two-year-old, and quickly settled into the training side of equestrianism, drawing inspiration from the techniques of Pat Parelli and other natural horsemanship teachers. Known for most of her childhood as both the awkward artsy one and the weird horse girl, she always seemed destined to draw nonsensical horse cartoons. In addition to her independent illustration work, she currently teaches painting classes at Paint With A Twist and produces short-form documentaries that can be seen on Horse TV. You can follow her personal art projects and stay up-to-date on Gibson and the Apocalypse on Instagram: @JennyKammArt
Morgane Schmidt is, among many things, an equestrian who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. Author of Life with Horses Is Never Orderly, she knows all about the madness that comes with the equine territory, having owned and competed horses in eventing and dressage for years. A lifelong fan of the classic equestrian cartoons penned by internationally renowned artist Norman Thelwell, she began her own comic series in 2011, sharing deftly funny reflections on life with horses on Horse Nation as well as her personal website. A native Floridian, she spent a decade in Reno, NV, where she was able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless (she has since regained her sense and moved back to the Florida swamp). Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She has completed her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking, her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now beastly 11-year-old Dutch gelding, and Milona DG, a 5 year old KWPN chestnut mare (you can make your own inferences there…). Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.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!