"I am blessed to have such an amazing family who supports me in my riding and in life," Cori told us. Photo © Eric Mendrysa

We Ask the Industry: What are You Thankful for this Holiday Season?

GoHorseShow would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. As the horse show season begins to slow down, it is a great time for us to count our blessings and think about the things that we are thankful for.

For many trainers and exhibitors alike, it is a sigh of relief that the Congress and World Show are over and Thanksgiving is here. Some will be looking forward to staying home with family and friends while others will be packing up and heading to shows over the holidays.

Throughout the horse showing community, there will be whispered thanks for good horses, great moments of the year and our good fortune to be able to show horses and do what we love.

As we reflect on another show season, we asked some of the industry’s leading exhibitors what they are grateful for in their lives.

Cori Cansdale – (pictured above) Mainly, I’m grateful that my friends and family are healthy. I made so many new friends this year, and with these new friends, memories that will last a lifetime. I am also blessed to have such a fantastic family who supports me in my riding and life. I am thankful for my trainers who push me to be better every day, and for my horse, who expects perfection every time I swing my leg over.

Anthony Montes – I am thankful for the life that God has blessed me with by allowing me to do what I love every day. I am thankful and grateful for the support of my family and friends. I am thankful for my wonderful clients who are supportive of my goals and allow me to show incredible horses. As I reminisce on the year 2017, I feel like there are so many things to be thankful for. However, coming to the close of a long successful show year, I am thankful for the break I get for the holiday season. I will get to spend time with people I love and reflect on some of the other things in my life.


Graysen Stroud – This summer, I was given the opportunity to lease an amazing horse, Invita Duke, who has been competing in the youth walk trot events under the guidance of my mother. Kelly Lake, his owner, offered to let me show him this past summer. I don’t think I gave her a split second before taking her up on her offer. We went to the AQHA World Show this past week in hopes of making top ten in the showmanship and horsemanship.

Well, I ended up having one of the best weeks of my entire life. I won the Level 2 Amateur Horsemanship, was reserve in the Level 2 Showmanship, fifth in the Level 3 Showmanship, and to top it all off, I was the reserve world champion in the Level 3 Horsemanship.

If someone would have told me six months ago I was going to be competing at the world championships, let alone becoming a reserve world champion, I would have called them crazy. It has always been a dream of mine to receive a globe from the world championship show, and last week my goals came true.

Michael Hoyt – This holiday season I am thankful for having such supportive clients, talented horses and being part of a supportive horse showing community. I am looking forward to the new year of showing and having my clients reach their goals.





Madison Nirenstein – This holiday season I am thankful for so much. I am grateful for my family, my friends and especially the horse community. I’ve watched as the community helped each other out during times of need, especially the California fires or helping raise money when someone was sick. I’m genuinely thankful to be a part of such an active, supportive community. I am also thankful for my first reserve championship at the Congress and recently placing top ten at my first AQHA World Championship as an amateur. I can’t wait for the future.




Emma Edwards – First, I am thankful for good health. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to show my horse, Jack, and thankful that my parents are supporting me and allowing me to continue my showing career as an Amateur. Also, I am extremely thankful for my trainer Nancy Renfro, for always making sure Jack and I are ready to compete, grateful for the fantastic guidance she gives me, pushing us to be our best and for always believing in me. Last but not least, I am so thankful for the people and friends I have met through AQHA and showing, so many of whom will be lifelong friends. Happy Thanksgiving!



Harley Huff – I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to ride for OSU and be able to meet so many new people and build friendships that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I’m thankful for my family for always being there for me and supporting me in whatever I want to do.





Natalie Alcorn – This holiday season, I’m thankful for my friends and family for always supporting me in everything I do. I’m so fortunate to have been raised around an industry with such special people. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to ride and show such a special horse that made showing and practicing so fun over the years. I’m grateful for everyone who has made it possible for me to show my horse and do what I love.




Patsy Gilbert – There are so many things for me to be thankful for this season. Of course, my love of our Lord and my family and friends that are my family. But, I am especially grateful for my two trainers, David and Cheryl Busick. I have always been a person who made sure everyone else lived their dreams. I was the one in the background making it happen for them. When I turned 60, I decided if I was ever going to live my dream of having a show horse at the AQHA World Show, I had better make it happen. So, with the help of Cheryl and David, I went looking for a horse. The first blessing was all the new friends I met. As everyone knows, it takes a while to find your dream horse. I was lucky enough to find mine, Four On Da Floor or Hudson. He was successful in the pleasure futurity pen but was new to the trail. I told David and Cheryl what my dream/goal was, and they made it happen. It was a thrill of a lifetime to have my first horse at the World Show. It was a dream come true. I call David and Cheryl my dream makers and they truly are.

Jenn Wheeler – To start, we were given a fantastic opportunity to live and train out of our private facility and form a partnership with some great people who have helped us build new, custom barns and arenas to suit our growing program. We have a talented group of horses and clients who we couldn’t be more proud of. The hard work and time we have poured into our training has shown this year. We are very fortunate to work with some awesome people who support our program and cheer each other on. It’s a big family around here, and on that note, my family is my biggest reason to be thankful this year. My wonderful husband and beautiful daughter, our supportive parents, all of our relatives and friends are in good health. Without family, none of the above would matter. We are truly blessed.


What are you thankful for this holiday season? Let us know.

About the Author: GoHorseShow intern, Kinsey McDougald is a junior at Oklahoma State University where she is a part of the equestrian team. Originally from California, she grew up on a ranch and showed registered Hereford cattle and Quarter Horses. Since the day she was born, horses have always been a part of her life.