From the Edi­tor

Horse & Rider - - Contents -

WE HERE AT H&R love our horse lives. So when it came time to pro­duce our an­nual “Best Of” fea­ture, the op­por­tu­nity to count the many as­pects of our life­style that we cher­ish had us—and a few other in­sight­ful con­trib­u­tors—in­spired and ex­cited.

We began work on this fea­ture when the news re­ported one hur­ri­cane af­ter an­other, along with wild­fires, all in lo­ca­tions with large horse pop­u­la­tions. I watched our com­mu­nity unite to sup- port those in need in nearly ev­ery way pos­si­ble. It served as a great re­minder of what we can do when we come to­gether and cer­tainly mer­ited recog­ni­tion on our list. If there’s trou­ble, we’re there for each other. That’s some­thing to be proud of, for sure.

This fall, I had the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in two events in­volv­ing our tightly knit ta­pes­try of horse folks, fur­ther demon­strat­ing the far-reach­ing in­flu­ence of our horse lives.


Thanks to our sis­ter cause Hope in the Sad­dle ( HopeInTheSad­, As­sis­tant Edi­tor Ni­c­hole Chirico and I at­tended a gala ben­e­fit­ting lo­cal ther­a­peu­tic rid­ing cen­ter Hearts & Horses. Live and silent auc­tions and ticket sales ben­e­fit- ted the group’s mis­sion to pro­mote the phys­i­cal, cog­ni­tive, emo­tional, and so­cial well-be­ing of peo­ple with spe­cial needs through equine-as­sisted ther­apy. Bar­rel racer, break­away roper, and mo­ti­va­tional speaker Am­ber­ley Sny­der wowed at­ten­dees with her story of work­ing within the con­fines of her paral­y­sis from a rollover car ac­ci­dent to ride and rope again.

Here’s what sur­prised me: Many who at­tended aren’t involved with horses. Yet even they rec­og­nize the im­mea­sur­able value and im­por­tance of horse life and our com­mu­nity, thanks to how horses help peo­ple at Hearts & Horses.


We touted doc­u­men­tary-in-the-mak­ing “Down the Fence” as one of the best things to come out of 2015 in our

in­au­gu­ral “Best Of” fea­ture (avail­able at

Horse­ The film de­tails rid­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ences at a few of the Na­tional Reined Cow Horse As­so­ci­a­tion’s mar­quee events, as well as chron­i­cling the his­tory of the reined cow horse. You can now rent or buy the film from the iTunes store.

“Down the Fence” high­lights the Western com­mu­nity in two ways: on the screen and be­hind the cam­era. The cow horse com­mu­nity thrives as an ex­tended fam­ily, with train­ers help­ing each other, their spouses cheer­ing at the back gate, and kids play­ing to­gether. The film high­lights the value of this com­mu­nity in a va­ri­ety of ways. Be­hind the scenes, the horse com­mu­nity came to­gether to sup­port the film’s pro­duc­tion. A Kick­starter fundraiser, with do­na­tions large and small from all facets of the horse in­dus­try, as­sisted in mak­ing the movie pos­si­ble, be­cause cap­tur­ing the footage is only a small part of pre­sent­ing a film.


Our Western horse com­mu­nity is made up of many dif­fer­ent facets, from per­for­mance com­peti­tors to trail trav­el­ers to ther­a­peu­tic rid­ers and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. How­ever, this vast and var­ied group shares a love for the horse. That com­mon­al­ity—the four-legged fur balls that graze our bank ac­counts bare— brings out the best in us.

So what are the best things about your Western Horse Life? Email your thoughts to me at the ad­dress at right. We’ll share them in an up­com­ing is­sue.

You can reach Jennifer Paul­son at jpaul­son@aim­me­

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