Mackenzie Drazan: My Journey with PTSD

It was a Friday and I had just finished my round. We were double clear and fast. I went to go sit in the grandstands to watch the rest of the class and as I watched, a bulldog came and sat down next to me. He proceeded to fall asleep in the sun, snoring as he sunbathed. It was a completely unremarkable, pleasant moment in time... which is why I was completely blindsided.  All of the sudden, my limbs locked and my chest felt like it was crushing my lungs. I couldn't breathe. The movie of my life

Laine Ashker: My Struggle with the Voices of Self-Doubt

I have a hard time dealing with my failures. Every decision I make can wear on me. I had a hard time with my weight when I was young, and I’ve always dealt with self-confidence issues. I wasn’t comfortable with my body. Even when I was a little girl, I wanted to do everything perfectly. I couldn’t go to sleep until my homework was done. I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I think, in this lifestyle, it’s very easy to be self critical. When I have people, sometimes even strangers, who have paid m

We Need to Get Over the Stigma of Air Vests in the Show Ring

A long-time staple in Eventing, the safety vest has been showing up across disciplines in 2020. Although there have been trailblazers (think top hunter rider and trainer Sandy Ferrell) who have worn a vest in the show ring for years, in a sport where tradition and appearances still hold a lot of sway, protective equipment can sometimes get an eyeroll or snide comment. Why is that? No rider is immune to injury, and accidents can happen in a matter of seconds. If we have the technology to make the

Karl Cook: No Product Is Your Magic Cure

Scroll through Instagram or Facebook, and you will likely come across a sponsored ad or two for a product promising a miracle for your horse. All you need is this one ointment or supplement, and your problems will disappear. Social media complicates things because many of us follow top riders and influencers in the industry, plus friends and acquaintances we’ve met at barns or horse shows. So alongside the advertisements, we are bombarded with posts endorsing this or that product with words lik

'Horsemanship Can’t Be Allowed to Die Out': An Argument for The Barn Rat

How tight should a noseband be? How many fingers should you still be able to put in a noseband when tightened? What about the throat latch? Are the answers to these questions common knowledge among riders? Helena Stormanns, former international competitor and current trainer to some of the best show jumpers in the world, thinks they should be. “These are all things I knew when I was seven years old. But I knew because someone had taught me.”

Dear Royce, You Are a Daily Reminder of My 'Why'.

Dear Royce, It took me almost a year to buy you. I first watched you jumping with Liubov Kochetova when you were six years old, and I knew you had amazing, raw talent. You were heavier, with bigger bones, than I normally liked in a horse, and you were definitely not the most broke. When she finally agreed to let me buy you (we had to sign a contract saying we weren’t buying for resale), you weren’t easy to get on. You were just a lot of horse, with a ton of pent-up energy. I remember them telling me, You can’t turn him out, he’ll go crazy.

Ride the Horse, Not the X-Rays: This ‘Unsellable’ Horse Went to the Olympics

If you take a look at Asih’s passport, you get a glimpse of a horse who’s seen it all, including the 2012 Olympic Games in London. From Burghley to Badminton, Asih, called “The Champ,” has one very impressive resume.  But the CV doesn’t tell the whole story.  Despite his eventing success, Asih is a horse who never sold. His x-rays as a youngster were troubling, and he never “passed” a vetting due to kissing spine and a navicular bone problem.

'The Horse Lends Me His Eyes': How This Rider Soars Without Sight

Riding horses was a lifelong dream for Wren Blae Zimmerman. Unfortunately, her family didn’t have the finances when she was growing up to let her ride. Her parents were focused on academics, and they’ve always wanted Wren to find something reliable that would allow her to make a good living and be secure. As a senior in high school, she was on track for college and business school, with plans to go into the corporate world. Horses were a fantasy, and theoretical equestrian jobs weren’t on the radar.

Is WEF Worth it? Four Riders on Making Their Wellington Dreams a Reality

Wellington is the stuff pony kids’ dreams are made of: sunny skies, a paradise of stables, Olympic-caliber horses, top riders, clinics, and non-stop shows. Pretty much an equestrian version of Disneyland for the horse-crazy crowd. But beyond the sparkle of the famed Saturday Night Lights Grand Prix, the Winter Equestrian Festival is about more than just blue ribbons and prize money. It’s a place to learn and make connections in the horse world, to grow your business and even build a family.

BIS Reads: Leaf by Niggle by Tolkien | Blessed is She

I am always amazed by the economy of a good short story. Authors like Flannery O’Connor, for example, teach us more about grace and the human condition in a mere couple of pages than some theologians manage in a lifetime of work. I don’t normally consider Tolkien, however, to be particularly conservative when it comes to word count. But I recently re-read his short story, “Leaf by Niggle,” and I was struck for the first time by the succinctness and compactness of Tolkien’s writing. He beautiful

Charity is Theology: How God Reaches Out through Us | Blessed is She

There is an added element of injustice here, when you consider that the statement was made in response to a perceived indifference toward theology due to his future parishioners’ economic poverty. I myself am a mother. I understand that a woman who does not know where her child’s next meal will come from does not have extra mental energy in that moment to try to understand the Trinity.

Espoir Equestrian's Founder Was Working Three Jobs to Get By. Now, She's Disrupting the Equestrian Fashion Space.

ive years ago, Carolyn van Schalkwyk was working three jobs to support herself and her horses, while at the same time trying to generate enough capital to get her new business, Espoir Equestrian, off the ground. Starting from scratch and operating on very little sleep, two things kept her moving forward: hope and a lifelong passion for horses. “After spending some time studying architecture, I felt quite boxed in and I wanted to explore more of the arts,” Carolyn recalls. “I love designing; I l

‘My Life Changed When I Met This Horse’: How an Unimpressive Driving Horse Became a World Cup Jumper for Shino Hirota

Round after round, the horse and rider combinations start to blur together. But then a colorful Paint enters the ring. His rider’s smile beams across the arena, and suddenly you sit up, take notice, and file the pair away as ones to watch. That’s the effect Japanese show jumper Shino Hirota and her aptly named gelding, Life is Beautiful, has on their audience. Captivated by their positive energy, we had to learn more about this duo.
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