GoHorseShow Asks: Why Are You Thankful for Horses in Your Life?
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"Growing up and showing has taught me not only discipline and hard work, but has also taught me about failure and the value of dusting off and getting back on that proverbial horse!" says Lauren Rodberg, with her new horse, The Fire Escape.

GoHorseShow.com would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. We asked several people in the horse industry why they are thankful for having horses in their lives. How have they benefited emotionally, physically, professionally, and socially from their involvement with horses? See what your friends had to say.

Lauren Rodberg (pictured right)--Growing up and showing has taught me not only discipline and hard work, but has also taught me about failure and the value of dusting off and getting back on that proverbial horse! Aside from the horses themselves, I’d have to say that I’m most thankful for my barn family. Everyone is so supportive of one another. I’m so fortunate to have my trainer, Nancy Renfo, and the gang in my corner!

Mike Jennings--I am thankful to say that horses have been a part of my life on a daily basis since since I was about six years-old (that's more than 50 years). I have been blessed with good health, but I think it is due to the outdoor and physical nature of working with horses. I constantly call my personal time with my horses therapy. Almost all of my friends are horse people and I consider myself lucky. I gathered almost 5,000 Facebook friends, for business primarily, but is is always fun to read my news feed--very little ugly stuff from my horse friends. I have been involved with more than 50,000 horse sales transactions--only a small percentage have been problems. When I encounter someone that is unpleasant, I can always stop and think about how many nice people there are in the horse industry. It makes me feel good.

Jason Wanderer--Horses provide a much needed balance in my life. In the office, I am a bit of a workaholic, hardcore business man who is always on the go. I hate to admit it, but, there may be some truth to those in the horse world who compare me to Ari Gold's character on Entourage. Horses are a true outlet to enjoy myself and horse; disconnect from work; gain a different perspective; be active and surround myself with like minded good people who share the same passion. I think Winston Churchill said it best, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." I could not agree more and that is what I am most thankful for!

Hope Elizabeth D'Alessio--If it were not for having horses in my life, I would probably have been more of a problem child. Because I had something so precious and important to me, I stayed out of trouble. Horses physically benefited me all throughout my life, but, especially, last March when I had ankle ligament reconstruction surgery. I was unable to walk for 8 + weeks much less run for showmanship which really upset me because showmanship is my favorite class. I hadn't even attempted running until my first show back when we had showmanship practice, and, although the pain was excruciating, I wanted to show showmanship again so badly that I worked through it. Emotionally, my horses have been a shoulder to cry on whether the tears were tears of joy or sorrow. They have been a faithful friend when humans weren't, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My involvement with horses has been difficult with school but when you're headstrong about a career and about showing horses nothing is impossible!

Larry Spratto--After the fire, we were not sure we could go on, but after sometime, we realized we could not go on without the horses in our lives. They are setting poles and doing concrete work on the new barn this week. So many emotions, but hopefully moving forward and onto a better 2013.

Max Clason--I'm thankful for horses because I wouldn't be the person I am without them. Ever since I can remember, I have been around horses and without them I wouldn't have met some of my closest friends or wouldn't be at Oklahoma State riding on the equestrian team. I also don't think I would know what to do without horses on the holidays. All around, I'm thankful for horses because they have brought me so many opportunities and some of my best memories.

Sarah Elder Chabot--I am thankful for horse because it is what makes me get out of bed in the morning, and why I go to work (to pay for it!). I feel like it is why I breathe. Honestly, having grown up with horses, it has shaped and molded me as a person...given me my work ethic, and my goal oriented focus in everything.

Jonathan Nowacki--I'm thankful to have horses in my life because I've met some of my best friends through showing horses. Emotionally, it's taught me to look at the bigger picture in life. The people I've met because of showing will be life long friends. Horses and showing careers come and go, but the friends and memories I have are what I'm thankful for.

Holt Graham-Pope--I'm personally thankful for horses because without them I wouldn't have met my husband and his family. It's amazing how my passion for horses led me to the life I'm surrounded by today. Professionally, I wouldn't be employed if it weren't for horses- as they are my key advertising specialty. Don't get me wrong, I could still do design and photography without horses, but when you are passionate about something--it's best to surround yourself by it so you want to invest your energy, time, and your heart into it. Horses have always been my passion....I'm grateful for every aspect of the horses in my life!

Liz Barnard Hay--I am so thankful to have horses in my life. Actually, I could not imagine my life without them. Horses have definitely been my best friends throughout my entire life, and, I have met so many wonderful people and life long friends through horses. To this day, I still love going in the stall with one my horses and talking to them about anything on my mind. It always amazes me how much better I feel after our little chats!

Kim Coleman McDavitt--I am a select, and I have always loved animals from the time I was a little girl. However, showing AQHA shows only started about 11 years ago. Going to the shows with my husband and two children has become part of our lives in a big way, and we love it. I own a restaurant and stay really active with it, but I try and come home each day just to see my favorite horse, Rusty, and give him a treat. Riding my horses has kept me extremely fit and sane. With my horses and more importantly at the barn, there is no better therapy. Trust me, words can not express my thankfulness and appreciation that God allows me to share my world with amazing animals like my horses.

Cassandra Madaras--I think that horses gave me confidence in all aspects of my life--socializing with other people/kids, etc. Also, a big thing my horses always did for me was gave me a distraction. I was a kid that grew up in a divorced family and one ride on my horse relieved all that stress and I forgot about everything.

Bri Bielecki--I am thankful for all of my horses because they have had such an amazing affect on my life. They are powerful animals but they have such a gentle spirit. Growing up, I was always a very shy girl and I didn’t make friends easy, but I had always loved horses so being around them was natural. My first horse, Vista, was like my best friend. With him, I gained more confidence in myself and made many great friends over the years. The greatest thing about a horse is that they don’t judge. Vista provided a very warm and loving environment for me and taught me to be a confident, kind, and loving person. He is like my rock. My other horse, James Brown, (Ima Final Version) is so stubborn but he has taught me how to be patient and understanding. Vista and James Brown always have a way of making me smile or laugh. This Thanksgiving I thank God for a chance to ride and care for these beautiful animals. I have seen the difference they have made in lives of special needs kids and veterans. They are truly special animals.

Tara Eubank--Horses have provided me with a profession since graduating from high school. I have been blessed with meeting my best friends due to being involved in the industry. I wouldn't change a thing about my life!

Millie Warner Corder-Horses have always been my "go to" for emotional success. My horses always end up being more than a "means to win", some have been my closest friends. I was one of those little girls that ate, slept, and dreamed about horses. I got my first horse, Flicka, when I was 11. It has been an on going love affair ever since. Over the fireplace is a picture of a horse, Chuck Cole. He got me started showing, and, for many years growing up, he was my best friend. After being on the APHA's Top 20 twice in the late 90's, I decided to try showing halter because of the physical problems I was having. Although I had some great halter horses and successes, a piece of the puzzle was missing. Then, along came Lucy and Floyd. My riding horse, Make Me Shine, aka. Floyd, has made it possible for me to be back in the saddle and winning again. It is hard to say what horses have meant to me emotionally.....all I know is that I am a better person for having had them. There is no other relationship like loving a horse, and if I had it all to do over, I wouldn't change a minute of this ride. Yee haw!

Nicole Kuklinski--I am very thankful for having horses in my life. Emotionally, I have become a better person. I have hit emotional highs and lows while showing, but, it just makes me a stronger person. Physically, I have gained a lot of leg and abdominal strength. It keeps me in great overall physical shape. Professionally, I have learned that you can not stop doing something until you do it correctly. I have gained a lot of confidence in myself, and will push myself to do my best. Socially, I have met a lot of amazing people and have made a lot of great friends. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Carey Nowacek--Wow! How haven't I benefitted? The people I've met, the friends I have made, the lessons I have learned, and the sublime joy of loving an animal are all things I am thankful for. What a privilege!

Parris Rice--I am thankful for having horses in my life because they have helped me grow up and learn responsibility. Starting at a young age, I had to learn how to care for another living animal, that was dependent on me. They have made me a well rounded person. Horses have also made me a stronger person, I had to learn how to get my point across to a 1200 pound animal. I cannot imagine my life without horses though. They are amazing, wonderful creatures and have shaped my life since I was born.

Jenna Dempze--Horses are the best therapy! I feel like horses have this special ability that enables them to give a feeling of peace and comfort to humans. Besides being a comfort for me, I have them to thank for many other blessings in my life. My family and I have met so many great people through horse shows. I have horses to thank for bringing my boyfriend and I together as well. Horses have taught me a great deal as well. They are an incredibly honest animal, when you don't give your best, they tell on you. They have taught me to work hard and always give it my all. I am thankful for the opportunity to have these amazing animals as a part of my life.

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