The Amateurs Like Us articles strike a real chord for many readers as they find inspiration in knowing they're not alone in balancing riding with work, family and more. And the blogs written by amateur riders on www.coth.com give voice to the issues so many amateurs face, so it's no wonder they're some of our most popular articles.
Here are the top 10 most-read Amateurs Like Us blogs from the past year:
Amateur hunter rider Lindsey Long articulated that many riders experience at one time or another and need to find their way through—fear. And tens of thousands of readers read it and commented their appreciation for her honesty and andor.
"But, ultimately, you have to face your fear head-on. It has to come from inside. No one can get you over the fence but you. Three strides away when you're considering pulling up, pulling out, shutting your eyes, crying, puking, screaming, or some combination thereof… no one else can make the choice."
Blogger Carleigh Fedorka might wonder "Why do I do this?" when her alarm clock goes off at a ridiculous hour. But her answer comes when she thinks of the support system of fellow amateurs who sacrifice to pursue their passion.
“So at your next show, don’t look over at the lowly amateur, standing alone on the ringside, and judge her. Realize that that person has sacrificed so much of her life to be able to stand by that arena. And don’t think that just because she doesn’t have a famous last name, or is standing by a big name trainer, that she is any less than you.”
Lindsey Long hit another home run with this hilarious tongue-in-cheek missive to her husband about the non-stop flow of packages from tack shops. Because, really, what non-horsey husband really understands why a horse needs 18 blankets?
“You are a smart man, a high-level executive with advanced degrees. You are a master of logic and reason. And it would be a perfectly reasonable thing to assume, that I had everything I needed, if there was anything at all reasonable about the horse world, and if the number of horse-related items one needs was finite, concrete, or predictable.”
A fall changed amateur rider Piper Johnson's life and she had to make some difficult decisions about her horse of a lifetime. Readers loved her candid and heart-rending writing about how life can change.
"I was thrilled to be learning again, and to be improving myself. And I felt like me again, the horse-crazed kid all grown up into a horse-loving mom of horse-loving kids (well, OK, and a baseball-loving one, too), grateful wife and proud rider."Read more...
As blogger and amateur grand prix show jumper Emily Pope headed to veterinary school, she realized it was a time of transition for her chestnut, off-the-track Thoroughbred mare too.
"There’s no way not to appreciate everything that’s happened between me and my little sassy firecracker. We’ve had some sweet victories, some bitter moments, and a lot of days where I just tried not to offend Nikki (with varying levels of success). She’s such a diva, but she always comes through when it counts, and that’s one of my favorite things about her. She knows when it matters, and she has never let me down."
What happens when life finds a dedicated amateur rider in the situation of not having a horse in her life? This is the question COTH senior editor Molly Sorge pondered in a blog about how motherhood, career and life can sometimes mean horses get put on hold.
"I do still go for a hack every now and then, which I enjoy immensely. But the things I used to enjoy so much about having a horse—the gradual progression of training, the goals pursued and achieved, the challenges of figuring out a relationship with an animal—aren’t part of my life at the moment."
Emily Pope makes appearance No. 2 on the top 10 list with this touching blog looking back on her 11 years with her horse of a lifetime–complete with some great videos of their time together.
"My first winter with her was my crash course in Chestnut Mares 101, which we also could call, 'Emily cries on the way home from every lesson because this learning curve is crazy steep and Nikki is not an easy horse to figure out.' She was worth every struggle, but man, she did put emphasis on the tears part of the mantra 'blood, sweat, and tears.' "Read more...
Amateur eventer Camilla Mortensen consulted an animal communicator for some insight into her quirky mare Cairo. She explored the results, but found a somewhat more traditional answer to her issues as well.
"Last time Cairo spoke to a communicator it was when the owner of the mare in the stall next to her had an appointment and, I was told, Cairo interrupted and insisted on talking about herself."
What makes a "serious" amateur rider, questioned show jumper Susan Glover. Is it the size of fences they jump? Their spending? Their competitive drive?
“It really seems like the important thing is commitment, not to showing, but to excellence. Left to their own devices our horses would be super happy to just stand around eating, looking pretty, and costing us money without doing any work. Therefore, the responsibility is on us, as riders, to be as good as we can be for our horses, who work incredibly hard for us with their giant hearts."
How an amateur defines "success" might be very different than how a professional rider would, as eventer Natalie Voss explores.
“As an adult amateur who pours hours and dollars into becoming a better rider, I wasn’t sure how to deal with knowing I’d never get where I wanted to go. I wondered what Denny Emerson would tell me about knowing I might never get 'there.' "
Read more of our most popular articles of 2016: