Each year, COTH’s talented bloggers contribute some of the best equestrian writing you’ll read on the internet. From thoughtful posts about growing up and the challenges that happen in the horse world to humorous posts about farm sitting and the highs and lows of running a boarding facility, here are the top 10 blogs of 2019.
Blogger Meghan Laffin had a perfect life on paper. She had a great job in a cool city, but something wasn’t right; she missed horses.
“A new dressage facility in Northern California is looking for a manager. I took the interview as an excuse to see wine country, but they liked me. They want me. And I can’t possibly accept,” Meghan writes. “But sometimes the head can’t convince what the heart knows. I make the leap, give my notice, and off I go.”
While most equestrians get their first taste of all things horsey after a “yes,” we often hear the word “no,” as we move up the levels of equestrian sport. Blogger Erica Saunders urges riders to stop saying, “no,” and to start saying “yes” again.
“With every ‘no’ we eat away at the heart of the sport and erode the base on which it is founded,” she writes. “We’ve been fighting a losing battle for decades, and the only way I’ve ever seen to turn the tide? Restore the culture of ‘yes.’ ”
One daughter is off to college, and the other two aren’t far behind. Having gone through the ups and downs of their junior careers, horse show dad extraordinaire and blogger Chad Oldfather jokes that his friends, “having had a similar sense of my life over the last decade or so, made it a priority to limit their children’s exposure to horses. No sense in ending up like me, they never quite said out loud.”
But would he do the horse thing again? His answer? “In a heartbeat.”
Horse blogger Jitterbug’s advice to her fellow quadrupeds is always funny and insightful. Here, she offered suggestions on how equine instructors can fix their rider’s issues after receiving photo submissions.
“I’d advise the quadruped instructor to really push off with the hind legs when descending the rest of the way into the water,” Jitterbug writes. “His human is not leaning far enough back, in my opinion, and she needs a good jolt to remind her to stay out of his way.”
The rewards of equestrian sport may be wonderful, but it’s expensive, and there can be many obstacles along the way. Here, blogger Mara Santiz acknowledges the hardships, saluting those who are willing to do whatever it takes to ride.
“This is to the girls who work hard every day without anyone seeing,” she writes. “It sometimes seems like people like me go unnoticed in this world. You can work hard every day, and there will still be people simply handed opportunities. We need those hard-working people, the ones in the barn day in and day out waiting for their chance to shine.”
Blogger Chad Oldfather is back with a very different kind of piece, where he analyzes the kind of resources required to finish near the top in the big equitation finals and offers up some suggestions for how things might be done differently.
“We seem to be locked in a world in which most potential participants have no realistic chance of rising to the top, simply because of economic considerations that bear no relation to talent,” he writes.
“I began the march back to the ring, telling my now-calm horse, ‘You can apologize for earlier whenever you’re ready, Aria.’
“I swear her reply was instant, audible and mocking: ‘You can apologize for earlier whenever you’re ready, Mom.’
“I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at her. She was right.”
Blogger Lindsey Long reflects on a crazy day at a horse show, and how you can never take your horses for granted, no matter how quiet they are.
Blogger Lauren Sprieser is no stranger to success in the show ring, but even she has rides that don’t go as planned. She shares some of her favorite tips and tricks on how to deal with a bad day at a horse show.
“You are allowed to feel bad about your performance, but the amount of time you are allowed to throw a pity party is directly proportionate to the level at which you are competing and the stakes of said competition,” she writes. “Remember that ice cream and/or margaritas cure virtually everything. When in doubt, apply liberally.”
George Morris’ life ban was a surprise to many, while others claimed this was a long time coming. Either way, the story rocked the equestrian world creating a divide between those who support the famed coach and those who support SafeSport’s decision. The Chronicle’s president, Beth Rasin shared her thoughts on the controversy.
“I am sad that a legend I grew up idolizing has been banned from the sport,” she writes. “But it’s also sad in some ways that it took so long for the reckoning to happen, that so many rumors had to be brushed under the rug for so many decades. There is truly no winner in this case.”
Blogger Ali Ingellis’ first blog for the Chronicle took on a tough topic in a lighthearted way. As a farm owner herself, she shares some advice on how to be the kind of boarder who will be welcome everywhere they go.
“We’ve all done it. The thing. The text. The ill-timed question. The snarky remark. The single moment in time that will flip the switch in our barn owner’s brain on their assessment of us. The PIA switch. You are a PIA boarder. The worst….This article will hopefully serve to save you from this fate,” she writes.
You can read all the Chronicle’s blogs here. Check out the rest of our Best Of 2019 coverage, and make sure you follow @chronofhorse on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date with everything happening in the horse world in the new year.