The Amateurs Like Us bloggers on coth.com share wisdom, inspire laughs and chronicle their struggles. And readers love it.
In our best of the 2017 Amateurs Like Us blogs are entries about finding the right trainer, finding that unique fellowship among amateur riders, losing a treasured horse, and more.
Lindsey Long knocked it out of the park with this blog about the complicated relationship between an amateur rider and her trainer.
“I have seen too many of my peers stuck in bad training situations because they don’t objectively assess the job their trainer is doing. And I’ve been there myself, trapped by my own trainer-as-god mentality, feeling they are above reproach and not to be questioned.”
COTH staffer and hunter-rider-turned-fledgling-eventer Ann Glavan gained quite a few fans with this hilarious blog about her DIY adventures with a Friesian-Thoroughbred cross and a UHaul truck pulling her custom pin-striped trailer.
“I feel like we need a secret handshake or salute for when we see each other, the fellow competitor in the noisy old truck and tin-can trailer, the one who’s also about to unload a baby horse hurricane that will be turning heads in the warm-up for all the wrong reasons—I raise my electric taped-together crop to you, my fellow scrappy amateur. May your truck continue running to the next show, your beer stay cold, and your horse stop just short of throwing you in the dirt.”
Lindsey Long makes the top-10 list again with her blog about being an inexperienced rider paired with a green horse.
“It hasn’t been the smoothest journey for us. We’ve had to switch trainers and facilities several times, and we’ve backtracked a lot more than we should have. But every day Aria greets me with enthusiasm. She has never held a grudge or been impatient with me, even when I deserved it. She has taught me about kindness and forgiveness, and that being a good teammate is more important than any ribbon.”
Dressage rider Samantha Silver spent a few weeks combining her day job with moonlighting in a working student position at her trainer’s barn and blogged about it for COTH. In this, her first blog entry, she tells the story of her off-the-track Thoroughbred, Jimmie Echo, and his journey from steeplechasing to eventing to dressage.
“I have always been a big fan of setting goals and single mindedly focusing (or obsessing might be a better word) until I achieve whatever goal I have set. I am cautious to set realistic, yet challenging goals for myself. Once I learned what a USDF bronze medal was, I knew I had to make that my next project.”
Blogger Natalie Voss took a chance on a former neglect case, a draft cross mare, and built a relationship with her that put them into eventing together. And when she realized she was in the running for a year-end ribbon, she wrote this heartfelt blog about what it meant to her.
“As stupid as I realize it is, that big puffy ribbon is a symbol of all the wonderful things I thought I’d never be able to do with this horse. When the day inevitably comes for her to retire, I’ll have photos, memories, lessons, but I’ll also have the big ribbon on the mantelpiece to remind me of our achievements.”
This was blogger Elizabeth Grubbs’ first entry after having been featured in the Amateurs Like Us profile series. The professional firefighter and DIY hunter rider chronicles her adventures with her OTTB hunter Finn on COTH’s site.
“When I go to the barn or a show, I don’t care about much other than having fun, and we have zero pressure on us. I told myself when I started showing after a seven-year hiatus, it’s not about winning. It’s about having fun, and if you get ribbons, that’s just a bonus. We have a couple of shows coming up and a clinic next month. I never would have thought 15, 10 or even three years ago I would be where I am today, but I love every minute of it.”
Readers loved Jane Rankin’s description of the club of “older” amateur riders at her barn.
“Between the seven of us you can receive tax advice, clarification on property issues, suggestions concerning the health of your eyes, general understanding of legal terms, recommendations on educational topics, decorating tips and ideas, and a direct line to Coobie bras. What could possibly top that? Only one thing and that is, as different as we all are, we share one common bond and that is the love of horses and our sport.”
Amateur hunter rider and school teacher Tiffany Elmer wrote an entertaining series of blogs about her preparation for a George Morris clinic; this entry chronicled the first day of the clinic.
“Three diligent months of prep work and no-stirrup riding meant that I could keep up just fine. I even got a much coveted “perfect” on one of our outside lines. After all the preparation, hearing that word from George is literally everything.”
Lindsey Colburn had COTH readers laughing with her hilarious blogs about her rides on her OTTB Soon in a George Morris clinic. But with this entry, she had them crying with the tale of his death.
“It was here that I was grateful for never taking a moment for granted with this horse. I lost a great horse before, and what I would give for one more afternoon with her. I know how fragile these animals are, and how tomorrow is never guaranteed. At the end of every ride, I always kissed Soonie goodnight, told him that I loved him, and more recently this year, always said thank you. Every ride.”
Tiffany Elmer devoted this blog entry to recognizing some of her amateur rider friends, posting their photos, and telling a bit about their journeys in between commenting on what makes riding as an amateur special.
“There is a quiet bravery contained within the adult amateur. It’s not the stuff of legends or the ride others will remember in an Olympic ring. It’s falling off lesson after lesson and still getting on to do it again. It’s not having a good ride in what feels like months and still having the drive to keep going. It’s getting brought down to your very lowest, faced with what seem like insurmountable odds, and still riding through it.”