EN Gives Thanks: Counting Your Blessings, Part II

What are you thankful for this year? That’s the question we asked EN readers for the 2018 Thanksgiving Challenge from World Equestrian Brands, and your responses were numerous and heartfelt. Over the holiday weekend, we are honored to share your special stories. You can view an archive of them here

Photo courtesy of Tiffany Morey.

Tiffany Morey: This year I am thankful to be lucky enough to have a life with horses in it. Although they have a way of making things more interesting and complicated at times, there is nothing like the companionship and love of a horse to make everything better at the end of a long, hard day. Happy Thanksgiving and go eventing!

Photos courtesy of Jeanna Epping, with extra thanks to JJ Silliman for the photo of Jeanna pushing her stroller.

Jeanna Epping: I am so thankful for my crazy this year. For all the members who help in the crazy that is my new life and all the members who at least don’t comment on my crazy (in public). I spend my days (poorly) balancing my 14-month-old, my eventing and horse career, my bartending job, and my family. Finnic is the best baby I could ever ask for and allows (most days) me to get everything I need to get done at the barn with him in tow. My circus is quite the show, and the barn family is always helpful and never judges when I push the stroller halfway across the farm with horse in tow so I can ride in the arena. My faithful dog Lincoln is always there to lend a happy (muddy) face when needed. This is the front stage view of the circus.

Behind the curtains is a very very patient husband that helps keep it all together. He never says no when I have a crazy idea on how to get it all done or judge the amount of coffee I consume or the fact the barn might be swept when the kitchen is not. I may not have reached any of my goals this season or even completed a single event with my horse BUT we showed up and we did it! Hopefully next season is smoother and more accomplished, but I’m so thankful for the process right now.

Photos courtesy of Nicole Virden.

Nicole Virden: The beginning of 2018 was a rough one. I was having some serious health issues that started impacting my ability to work as a nurse, and the side effects of the medications my doctors gave me started to cause rapid weight gain with little symptom relief. As I headed into Spring, I was depressed and starting to feel hopeless. I lost my dear Aunt unexpectedly… and I lost the ride on my lease horse (on top of everything else). I was devastated.

Then my miracle happened: I met my new health coach and gained a new horse-friend in the process! With her help, I set out on accomplishing some new goals … get healthy, get fit, and get riding! As the pounds started coming off, I test-rode a mare that ended up being a great fit. She was feisty and fun, and even with my experience, she gave me a challenge! I just needed to find a barn to move her to. My friend came to the rescue again, offering me a spot at her private boarding facility.

What am I thankful for? This year, it seems I’m thankful for everything! I’m thankful for my wonderful friend and coach, my new barn friends and my wonderful trainer! I’m thankful for the sweet mare I get to ride every day, and the progress we are making. I’m thankful for my husband who supports and understands my horse addiction and its role in helping me heal. I’m thankful for my improving health and fitness. As I look ahead to 2019, I’m excited to continue my journey in health and horses, in the show ring and beyond. So much to be thankful for, I feel truly blessed!

Photos courtesy of Sara Kolenda.

Sara Kolenda: What am I thankful for? The forgiveness of my horse. The trust my horse has in me to navigate over the terrifying obstacles and scary terrain that we eventers tend ask without even thinking of the horse’s perspective. I’m thankful that God gave us the gift of these incredible creatures. And I’m thankful for the love my horse gives me in return. Love shown in nickers and excitement when I walk in the barn. The love that brings me out of the darkness of my depression on those long, hard days. The love that has built a bond so strong that we can conquer anything. These are a few of the things I am thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day I am alive.