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Amateurs Like Us

January 17, 2017

Amateurs Like Us: Great Opportunity, Great Expectations For Eileen O’Leary

Looking back on the year Eileen O’Leary had aboard Bahama Boy in 2016, it would be easy to focus on the ribbons. The pair took blue ribbons at the CFHJA May (Fla.), the Venice Hunter/Jumper Spring Concours (Fla.), and Ocala Masters (Fla.). Their crowning achievement, though, came as champions in the adult amateur individual division at the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Children's/Adult Amateur Jumper Championships in Culpeper, Va., this past summer. They were the only pair to jump four double clear rounds. 

January 10, 2017

Amateurs Like Us: Sarah Murawski’s Checking Off Her Bucket List

“There’s something about developing a relationship with a horse that really fulfills me,” amateur Sarah Murawski said.

And this fall, she was able to fulfill her bucket list goal of competing at the Waredaca Horse Trials Novice Classic Three-Day Event in Laytonsville, Md., Oct. 20-23, with a very special horse.

Murawski is a small animal veterinarian with her own business, Randolph Regional Veterinary Hospital in central Vermont, and balances her eventing goals with the demands of her practice and family life—she’s married with three children.

January 4, 2017

Amateurs Like Us: Bring On 2017!

At the beginning of 2016 I had a whole plan worked out for how to get Steve and myself through the year productively and moving toward our goals. To sum up the outcome of all of this planning I will simply say this: 2016 sucked.

It started out pretty good. My plan centered around a few goals. One was to do the high adult amateur jumpers until we got bored with it, and then move up to the low amateur- owners.

January 4, 2017

Amateurs Like Us: Elizabeth Grubbs' Bumpy Road Led To The Perfect Place

It has been a long bumpy road for Elizabeth Baroody Grubbs to find that once-in-a-lifetime horse to jump and show and even fulfill her dream of getting her wedding photos taken with, all the while balancing her riding with family and a career. 

Today Elizabeth is a paramedic, working three jobs to pay her horse bills but also living her dream as she shows Finn, her off-the-track-Thoroughbred with a heart of gold. You can find her this spring in schooling shows around Northern Virginia, with her husband setting jumps in the warm-up.

December 27, 2016

Fear, Passion And Shopping: Our Best Of Amateurs Like Us Blogs In 2016

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 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:

December 21, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Realignments And Reawakenings

I am typing this (quietly) while my 4-month-old baby is asleep in his car seat. We just got back from getting his shots, and after the screams over the pain and unfairness of life, he finally fell asleep and I am not moving him.

I haven’t blogged in almost a year. It isn’t that anyone would have noticed, but more that I am in awe over how much has changed in that year.

I got pregnant.

I sold my one-star horse.

I got a new house (and moved the week I had the baby).

December 13, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Caitlin Zech Took The Long Road To US Dressage Finals With Her Arabians

Caitlin Zech knows she probably took the scenic route to U.S. Dressage Finals (Ky.) this year, and she’s OK with that.

Zech qualified her half-Arabian, Double XL, at Prix St. Georges and her full Arab, Groovin, at training after nine years as a student of dressage. She estimates Double XL, or “Ike,” spent a total of two full weeks in training with her instructor in the 10 years she has owned him; the rest of his knowledge, from the ground up, is all her handiwork.

December 7, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Gina Plantz's Patience Paid Off And Now She's Living Her Dream

When Gina Plantz was graduating from the junior divisions, she had a tough decision to make. She’d always been a rider on a budget—in fact, she’d never even owned a horse as a junior.

“I was a working student during my junior years,” she said. “I never actually owned my own horse until I was 31. I was always a catch-rider.

November 29, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Tim Jones Is Changing Lives And Conquering His Dreams

It seemed like fate that eventer Tim Jones would one day own and compete horses named Ironman and Teflon.

The amateur rider has been through a lot in his life, from putting himself through college, dealing with the death of both parents and building a business from scratch, but through it all, Jones has exuded a mental confidence and eternally positive attitude that’s helped him reach his dreams, both in and out of the saddle.

November 22, 2016

Amateurs Like Us: Torrey Wilkinson Made Her Way Up The Levels With A Homebred

Back when Torrey Wilkinson was a sophomore in college she became captivated with the Andalusian. She’d signed up to study abroad in Spain and was introduced to the breed, then later went to Ecuador for seven months and had the opportunity to ride a few which solidified her resolve.

“I actually loved the breed and their mind and how adept they were for dressage, and I sort of fell in love with them,” said Wilkinson.

So she went to her mother Debby Messick, who has a small Hanoverian breeding business, hoping she’d get her dream horse.

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