On Thanksgiving, the EN Team Is Thankful For …

Happy Thanksgiving! Illustration by Lindsey Kahn. Happy Thanksgiving! Illustration by Lindsey Kahn.

Happy Thanksgiving, EN! The EN team has a lot to be thankful for this year, in particular that we have more than 1 million readers who trust this wacky website as their leading source for eventing news and commentary. THANK YOU for reading, and here’s a look at what we’re all thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

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Photo by Josh Autry

Jenni Autry: I’m the proud owner of a talented off-track Thoroughbred that seems to spend more time rehabbing from injuries than actually competing. But somehow all the time off and tack walking seem more than worth it when we do get to go gallop and jump. I’m thankful Mia and I were able to compete this year between injuries.

I’m lucky to have have an incredibly supportive (and hilarious) husband in Josh, who somehow doesn’t think I’m completely insane for loving this sport (or, if he does, at least he doesn’t tell me). I’m also grateful to work with an unbelievably talented staff of people who push me to be better and stand by me when I get it wrong; that’s really all you can ask for in a team.

And let’s not forget John. Without him, this crazy thing called EN wouldn’t exist.

Behold, the mighty Fritz.

Behold, the mighty Fritz.

Lindsey Kahn: I’m thankful for insulated boots; sturdy hoof picks; low-profile riding helmets; farm dogs and cats; house dogs and cats; fall trail rides; good food and better company; horse hugs; my warm bed; my favorite students who text me at ungodly hours with questions about their horses; my not-so-favorite students who don’t text me at all; the camaraderie of the Area IV riders (all 20 of us); my spunky mare and my dopey gelding; ibuprofen; my awesome EN coworkers; and my tiny, awkward doglike creature, who has an entire Facebook album devoted to photos of him looking uncomfortable.

You never know where EN's West Coast team will be hanging out with their horses . . . leave no taco stand unturned! Photo by Charlie Critz.

You never know where EN’s West Coast team will be hanging out with their horses  … leave no taco stand unturned! So many things to be grateful for — friends older than dirt, adventures, real Mexican food, a high-fiving pony and a hobo horse, demo rides and clinics, and never knowing what comes next! Photo by Charlie Critz.

Stephanie Nicora: I am thankful for many things this year, especially the opportunity to venture deeper into West Coast eventing and expand EN’s West Coast staff by 50 percent! Also:

  • Owen, who brought me back into the sport, has made incredible strides and keeps me sane — plus the newest member of our family, Pippa. May she have many growth spurts and learn how yummy grain really is!
  • Area VI’s enthusiasm, openness and team spirit: I cannot count the times you warmed my heart his year watching the area’s events and members (plus our Area VII and Canadian free spirits), from pros to juniors to adult ammies to the Pony Club kids — your love of the sport, smiles, laughter and generous hearts have been so deeply inspiring. Watching you cope with setbacks, be gracious in victory, and achieve long set goals (all over the country and world!) — I am deeply proud to call you my friends. West Coast knows how to party!
  • Ride On Video for not only producing an excellent product, sponsoring an EN giveaway, and bringing us the Galway Downs CCI3* LIVE, but for hours of entertainment, quick rides for photos, phone numbers, hugs, and Carol Burnett as the antidote to the pre-dressage puke face I tend to get.
  • My longterm partner in crime, Erin Critz
  • And the best home-away-from-home/team/colleagues/coaches/friends: Team DF

Me and my 'baby pony', Rufus. Photo by Lorraine Peachey.

Me and my “baby pony,” Rufus. Photo by Lorraine Peachey.

Colleen Peachey: In a way, this year that been everything that I hoped it would be … even though nothing happened quite in the way that I thought it would. This was to be “the year” that my baby pony Rufus got started under saddle.

Even though we had a discouraging start at this endeavor in early spring, that unfolding of events ended up helping me onto a different path for Roo’s training. I reconnected with someone from my past, and also spent an amazing summer and fall of first seeing Roo train … and riding him myself!

It’s such a terrific feeling to have seen my baby pony grow up and then come so far this year. And I look forward to another year of furthering Roo’s and my own learning in 2016. I’m definitely thankful for super supportive family and friends … and a special someone who spent so much of his time helping me with Roo this year.

Of course, I feel blessed to live in this country and enjoy the freedoms that we do. Thanks to the men, women and canines that protect us. And finally, a shout out to the awesomely incredible and talented EN team … thanks for another year, y’all!

Stylin' in the One K Defender Pro. Photo by Jaime Meinert.

Photo by Jaime Meinert.

Sally Spickard: It’s been year full of ups and downs and big changes for me. But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the meaning of being thankful, and I am grateful to have a large list of things to count as blessings. I am thankful for an amazing career that has opened so many doors, introduced me to new friends and mentors and made my professional dreams come true.

I am thankful to be a part of the West End Farm barn family and to have such a supportive and caring group behind me. I am thankful for my young horse, Jesse, who may be ending his career far too soon but who will always be the horse that got me started again. To him I am forever indebted, and he will forever have a home with me, no matter what his job is.

I am thankful for the opportunities that have come across my path this year — sometimes it’s easy to forget and become jaded with everyday life. I just watched the last movie of The Hunger Games franchise, so I’ll end with this quote:

“I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in things because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years. But there are much worse games to play.”

I'm thankful for these to special girls. Photo by Dave Taylor

I’m thankful for these to special girls. Photo by Dave Taylor

Dave Taylor: I am thankful for the following:

  • My family — which is not horsey by any means — have embraced this life of horses I have chosen and become a huge part of it.
  • My wife Nicki, who is by my side every day, on the ground at shows and supports me no matter what I do.
  • Sunset Hill at McCuan Farms, the farm that has become my family, my other home and the reason I get to do what I get to do.
  • My horse Serendipity, a horse that give more than she should, takes care of me no matter what I ask her to do and loves me unconditionally.
  • All of the animals that I get the honor to work with and spend time around on a daily basis. This includes horses, goats, chickens, cats (lots of cats) and a really nice little Corgi (Trixie).
  • Lastly, My Eventing Nation team. This year I have ventured down a road I never thought would be a reality. Being a member of EN I have learned more than I thought possible, met some incredible people and horses, watched firsthand others reach and exceed their goals, became friends with a bunch of amazing people, and developed a talent I didn’t know I had. Thank you for becoming a team I turn to on a regular basis. You guys are awsome.

My girls, Willow and Fey. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

My girls, Willow and Fey. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Leslie Threlkeld: In the last year or so, I have taken many chances, both professionally and personally, and when I said to a friend how nervewracking it all is, she said, “good things usually are.” I feel fortunate that good things have come my way and helped me to develop and, I hope, become stronger and better, as an individual, a writer, a photographer and a horsewoman. I love my jobs, the work I do every day and the people and animals who surround me.

I am not only thankful but exceedingly grateful to have an abundance of friends, a loving family, the best boyfriend and a barn full of special horses. I also work with an incredibly talented, supportive and inspiring team of people at EN and beyond in the small but mighty community of equine media.

This is a world where many people don’t have the basic necessities of life, and we are all aware of the tragedies reported on the news every day. I am blessed to have no complaints. I am thankful, and I am humbled.

Leslie Wylie: I’m thankful for unconditional equine love. When Mishka whinnies at me from across the field or Esprit comes galloping up to the gate with hearts in his eyes (and burrs in his forelock because I’ve been busy with work and haven’t made it to the barn in a few days), it melts my heart completely. What did I do to deserve such a gift? I don’t know but I’ll take it, and I’ll do my best to recycle it back out into the world.