Reasons to Smile

Just a year ago I posted my first blog as a member of the Horse&Rider staff. Since it’s #ThrowbackThursday, I thought I’d share my top four favorite memories, projects, and experiences of the past year.

Paring down this year into a four-item list was a much-needed reminder to slow down and be grateful for the events of life, whether exciting or challenging. We editors are especially skilled at looking ahead; we’ve always got our eyes on the next deadline, event, issue, or editorial calendar and too easily forget to revel in each moment and truly enjoy the perks of our jobs.

So, here’s my reflection. And, I’d love to hear yours! What’s your most-memorable horse-related event or experience from the past year? Leave comments below or email me at

NRCHA Hackamore Classic: This was editor Jen Paulson and my first outing together. We swapped stories, she heckled me about my slow driving (I don’t think I’ve been allowed to drive on another trip), and we bonded over our enjoyment of Starbucks frappes. In Pueblo, she showed me the ropes: teaching me to use the company camera; schooling me on the types of images we look for at events, both in and out of the arena; and impressing me with her vast knowledge of each competitor, their trainer, and their horse.

AQHA World Show: In my second consecutive trip to Oklahoma City, I met up with old friends, made new ones, and worked hard to bring the show to H&R fans across all of our social platforms. Horse shows are a nostalgic environment that make me happy that I got into the industry. I feel almost giddy watching gorgeous horses and talented riders compete.

Photo shoot with Darla Kennepohl: Though my own barrel horse is still enjoying his temporary retirement with my parents in Idaho, I still hold a soft spot for the sport. I was intimidated to go on my first solo shoot, but Darla’s a pro and put me at ease with her knowledge and patience. I would’ve gladly spent the afternoon at her place, talking horses and learning more about her competitive journey.

Tack Talk with Al Dunning: This year the team decided to create a new department. Tack Talk was born out of several discussions about the importance of a solid understanding of the basics. The department’s reader service is high and anytime I get to chat with Al, I hang up with a smile on my face—–he’s just that kind of guy! He’s knowledgeable, well-spoken, and an amiable character to boot. I’m lucky to be able to work with him on this series.

Thanks for the great year, Horse&Rider. And, thank you to our dedicated readers and fans for your thoughtful feedback and continual engagement.

Related Articles
Dam Spotlight: Soula Jule Forever
Dam Spotlight: Snap Krackle Pop
Devin Conley Riding
When Opportunity Knocks
Time to Reflect
Receive news and promotions for Horse & Rider and other Equine Network offers.

"*" indicates required fields


Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.