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]
Meagan DeLisle used to tell her parents she wanted to write books or ride horses when she grew up and she managed to find a happy medium between the two by contributing for Horse Nation and serving as the editor for our sister site, Jumper Nation. A small-town girl, Meagan drives three hours one way to train for the jumper ring. She dreams of the Grand Prix ring but spends her days just trying to keep her herd of four horses out of the vet’s office. A road-warrior, most of Meagan’s free time is spent in her truck with trailer in tow and you can usually find her sitting on a mounting block working from the comfort of her tack stall while at shows. [Email Meagan]
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.
Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 30-year-old 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]
“If I were a horse, I’d be a rather nondescript red mare, stocky, low to the ground, nothing fancy, but oh-so-versatile.” Esther Roberts authors Horse Nation’s “Happy, Healthy, & Horsey” series, complete with photos of her corpulent self in riding breeches as she makes a very public journey towards fitness. Why this foray into self-humiliation? “Not all riders are young or thin; if I can inspire even one other rider to take better care of herself, that’s a win.” She’s also a classical pianist and writes books and patents and legal briefs (“until my first best-seller, lawyerin’ supports my equine addiction”). She lives in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee on her own farm with numerous critters, equine and otherwise, and rides a (formerly) wild mustang for fun. [Email Esther]
Biz Stamm a horse trainer/mad scientists who enjoys spending her free time running like a gentle breeze in the foothills of the Oregon coast range. Specializing in starting young horses under saddle at Stamm Sport Horse LLC, she brings the analytical approach she has acquired while working in laboratory to her training. She currently owns two horses: the Kalvin Cycle (Kalvin), a 10-year-old half-Arabian gelding, and DB’s Alpha Helix (Helix), a 5-year-old Kiger mustang gelding. While she is currently pursuing competitive goals, her main goal is to enjoy her horses, and for her horses to enjoy her. [Email Biz]
Maria Wachter is a self-proclaimed crazy mule lady (similar to a crazy cat lady, just not quite hoarder status). She lives in the mountains outside of Las Vegas, Nevada on her little slice of heaven with her boyfriend, mules, horses and cats. She is obsessed with trail riding and camping, and waits tables at night to fuel her addiction. She has a passion for writing about finding the funny in all things equestrian. She strives regularly to take the seriousness out of the situation and let people see how “special” they are for climbing upon a thousand-pound animal with a mind of its own. [Email Maria]
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!