We Ask The Industry: What Are You Thankful for this Year?
From the horses themselves to the “behind the scenes” people who make it all work, their answers inevitably did not fail to capture everything there is to appreciate about this sometimes crazy, yet almost always fun, horse show world that we love so much.
Let us know what you’re thankful for this year in the comments, and everyone have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.
Kent Ray Taylor – I am so thankful we were able to attend horse shows in 2021. I’m thankful that my KRT personal family and KRT show horses family are all healthy and doing well. I’m extremely thankful and blessed that all my horses are happy, healthy, and performing to the best of their ability. I am very thankful to the judges that recognized all our hard work and rewarded our efforts. 2021 will be a year I will never forget. I wish everyone a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season. GOD bless.
Grant Mastin – 2021 has been filled with many blessings that I will cherish forever. I am so thankful to be surrounded by great people – my mom, family, friends, mentors – who have supported me along this journey. 2021 is a year that I will truly never forget, and I am forever grateful.
Leigh Ann Griffith – This Thanksgiving is one to offer the greatest thanks of my life after experiencing a nearly fatal brain abscess last summer. A serious health crisis is life-changing because you reflect how vital your faith, family, and friends are. Additionally, it renewed my spirit on how very blessed we are as an industry to be surrounded by these majestic creatures in our barns and pastures. Never take anything for granted. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Emma Brown – In 2021, we had a lot to be thankful for; about a year ago, we were unsure if my horse Brett would be able to return to the show pen again. However, we were lucky enough to have him back in the arena, and he has given us 110% every time. This has been an emotional year, and we are so grateful he’s able to be with us and extra thankful to have him as my partner in the arena. It has been a year I will forever be eternally grateful for.
Amy Groefsema – I am grateful every day for all that I have. The past two COVID years have been trying and full of change. I might have lost my freedom to travel to horse shows, but I gained my kids all the time, and for this, I am grateful. Every day I am their chauffeur, their cheerleader, their chaos organizer, their study buddy, and most importantly, I am the one they lean on. Being with them all the time is what I am most grateful for.
Beth Clemons – I am grateful today, this year, and every day for my life. I am thankful for my amazing family, friends, and support system. I’m grateful to be able to do what I love and make a living doing it. I’m also very grateful every day for my dogs, who make me smile and laugh endlessly.
Emma Edwards – In 2021, I am grateful for many things that happened in my life – from landing a new job, traveling a little more, and attending horse shows more normally. First, I accomplished two of my biggest goals this year – winning the Congress and the World Show in my favorite event. Second, I am incredibly grateful for my horse Jack, who is my once-in-a-billion. In the last (almost) two years of uncertainty with COVID, I always knew Jack was something I could consistently look forward to, plus the bonus of seeing great friends at shows. Of course, too, I am thankful for the village that worked tremendously hard to help me achieve these big dreams of mine. Lastly, I am grateful for good health this year for my family.
Stephanie Mohindra – I am grateful that I was able to attend the NSBA World Show. The show motivated me to be a better rider and work harder not to become complacent. I’m also super-grateful for my amazing husband, who supports my horse addiction.
Vanessa Froman – I’m super-grateful to everyone who hosted the horse shows still this year. But most of all, I’m thankful our boy’s schools here in Illinois went back to full-time in person, and their soccer returned like usual this fall. This was the first time since March 13th, 2020. It has warmed this mom’s heart to see my kids have their day-to-day lives almost 100% back and how it lifted their spirits.
Lauren Stanley – 2021 gave me so much to be thankful for with the horses. Rooster gave me the best final ride I could have asked for when we won the NSBA World in the Hunt Seat Equitation. Everything about that ride was what we had been practicing daily, and it was so cool to be able to put it together in that arena. I am also thankful that Rooster is being loved and appreciated in his new home with Miranda as they continue to do great things with him. It was a huge blessing to be a part of his journey. Looking back at where we started with him and seeing him set a world record in the Senior Trail this year has been nothing short of amazing. I am thankful for all Rooster taught me as a horsewoman. Finally, I am grateful for the opportunity to move on now to start 2 two-year-olds in their all-around path as utilize all that I have learned. What a great privilege 2021 has been. It makes me even more excited for 2022.
Jenn Wheeler – 2021 I didn’t think I could be any worse than 2020, but boy, were we wrong. In March, Justin survived a pretty bad accident and then went through some pretty scary post-surgery complications that could have easily taken his life. All this happened while I was nine months pregnant, so we both are very thankful for our healthy family that is now complete. We both are grateful for the horse show community and our barn family, all the people that stepped in to help us – thank you will never be enough. We are thankful for our loyal clients who stuck by us through the worst time in our lives and trusted in our program. Finally, we are incredibly grateful for the NSBA & AQHA Crisis Fund Programs; you never really think you’ll need that support, but without that help, we would be in a much different position. If you’ve never donated to these programs, please do. It can change a family’s life and provide much-needed relief. 2021 has been rough, but has made the Wheeler family thankful every day. We are all so blessed to be a part of such a uniquely fantastic horse show community. Truly the best people there are. And I probably should have mentioned Nana Dorinda Wheeler in there somewhere because she had to play mom, nurse, nanny, therapist – basically all the things to get us through. I don’t know what we would have done without her.
Lana Markway – I am thankful that my two-year-old could progress at the rate I need to complete the goals that I wanted to this year. I am also very grateful that I could have flexibility with work all summer so I could show. Overall, it was a great year, and there was lots to be thankful for.
Tali Terlizzi – I’m thankful for so many things in 2021. First, I’m so grateful for my family, friends, and good health during this ongoing pandemic. I’m also incredibly thankful for what an incredible year I’ve had to show and all of the horses I’ve been fortunate enough to show. It is one year I will never forget.
Terri Cage – I am grateful for my clients – those who have used me for years and that I’ve developed friendships with, and for the new customers that I look forward to having the same friendships with. I’m grateful and blessed to have the ability to photograph some of the most talented and beautiful horses. I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and family that have allowed me to chase my dreams. And I’m grateful and humble to God for all that I have.
Juliana Blackburn Baskin Arora – Looking back on 2021, there is so much to be grateful for, including my parents and husband for their never-ending support. Also, I’m highly thankful to my horses – Marge, Olive, Joy, and their health.
Jimmy Daurio – I am thankful to follow my passion for helping others achieve their personal goals in and out of the arena. We were all blessed in 2021 to be able to show our horses during these trying times. Last, but not least is the love and support of my family and friends.
Hilary Reinhard – This year, I am thankful for good friends and family. I’ve had so many people that have supported me and made me laugh during this challenging year. I am also grateful for my husband of 20 years, who may not like the horse shows, but is always supportive. And, I’m very thankful that we survived the lockdowns and were able to attend horse shows again.
Kaye Nell Ivins-Ochetto – It may sound crazy, but I’m grateful for the silver linings of 2020. It took us back to the core of what matters most, humanity, allowing us to slow down our busy lifestyles. I can’t say that in 2021 things didn’t speed back up, which also meant we got to be back to regular show schedules, But I am so grateful to keep the appreciation and focus on the things and ones we love most, a little closer to our hearts.
Christy Arrington – I am grateful for my family and the fact that we are blessed to have the opportunity to work together, which allows us to spend so much time together. I am also grateful that my mother was able to show in 2021. This is the 5th year after being diagnosed with Parkinsons. She has worked so hard to continue riding and showing.
Blake Carney – I am grateful that we have been able to return to a feeling of normal in the horse community, and of course, the rest of the world too, after the height of the pandemic. I think it’s helped the shows grow and made people appreciate what we have. On a more personal level, I am grateful for a busy work life, a group of amazing clients and horses, and the people who surround me daily and lift me up. It takes a village, and mine is amazing!
Julie Hoefling – Horse shows looked a little different for me in 2021 as I leased my horse out to a very deserving youth girl. I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of something bigger than myself and that, although my situation was a bit different this year, I was able to still be a part of and work in an industry that I love. I’m grateful for the perspective and lessons I learned watching from outside the pen and very thankful to have gained friends who turned into family through this experience. Horse showing teaches you so much about life and also brings so many amazing people to your circle.
Heather Lange – I have so much to be grateful for. I have a job that I love, which allows me to enjoy the horse show life. I have friends and family that both support and challenge me. I have trainers who work so hard to make my dreams come true. And I am incredibly grateful for Trooper, Cowboy, Tater, and Odie (my furry family) who love me unconditionally.
Meredith Landy – I am thankful to have my best friend with me, after 9 years of showing together, and for him, almost 17 years as a show horse. Sly (aka Certified Stride), you are still the one. Nothing makes me happier and more thankful than seeing your handsome face hanging over your stall window every day when I walk down the barn aisle. And to look in your stall and see this magnificent show horse standing there, tall and beautiful. Could you be any more handsome? I don’t think so.
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Let us know…and Happy Thanksgiving to all!