Horses, Independence, and the Revolution that Wasn’t

I’m sure we’ve all seen Hamilton or at least heard the soundtrack enough times now to feel like we know a whole lot about Revolutionary War-era history. I love that show too—I saw it once, and I cried from the minute the house lights went down until I was halfway through dinner afterwards. But it misses some things, and not just because there were no horses. Horses were important to military history through about World War I, depending on where you’re looking and what you mean by “important.”

Sometimes You Have to Read: A Rebuttal to Missy Clark

I have found it encouraging to see equestrian media getting involved in the #BlackLivesMatter conversation—for a community that is disproportionately white, sometimes we don’t seem to want to engage in any sort of “controversial” conversations. “This is an equestrian publication, why do we have to talk about race?” Because race and racism are relevant to every corner of the horse world, from where you buy your hoofpicks to where you pick up your ribbons. Missy Clark, a nationally famous equita

It’s Pride Month! What Does That Mean? | The Plaid Horse Magazine

June means a lot of things in the horse world: Devon, Upperville, the end of the school year, the beginning of summer. For a lot of us, it also means the start of Pride Month, when LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) celebrate how great our community is. It’s a month sprinkled with Pride events involving parades, fairs, dance parties, and drag shows. The spirit of Pride is joyful and often irreverent as we spend the month focusing on our creativity and resilience. Pride has a coo

Daniel Stewart’s Equestrian Athlete Camp Part 3: Broken Mirrors and Bamboo Trees | The Plaid Horse Magazine

For more sports psychology insight and training advice, check out parts one and two of this series. A long time ago when I couldn’t afford a horse and needed to get my thrills in somewhere, I played roller derby. I totally loved it, even though I wasn’t very good. It was definitely the fittest I’ve ever been in my life, and I haven’t pushed myself physically as hard since. But it’s in there somewhere, that ability to go beyond limits, even though I’m older now. On the Thursday of the clinic, t

Daniel Stewart’s Equestrian Athlete Camp Part 2: Outgrouping, The Threat Response, and the Danger Zone | The Plaid Horse Magazine

This is part two of my recap of the Daniel Stewart Equestrian Athlete Camp. Click here to read the first post. I knew that once the workouts started at the Daniel Stewart Equestrian Athlete Camp that it was going to become clear whether or not I really could handle things without Mo around to make up for my shortcomings. I’d been working out a little bit at home, plus I ride horses and do farm chores every day, but I was under no delusions that I was actually prepared for this on a physical lev

Daniel Stewart’s Equestrian Athlete Camp, Part 1: Beyond Hips, Heels, and Hands | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Last week I found myself driving into the Adirondacks to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, site of Daniel Stewart’s Equestrian Athlete Camp. With my fingers clenched on the steering wheel and mind racing with anxious thoughts. “What if I can’t do it? What if I’m an outcast no one will talk to? What if I break a bone or re-injure my shoulder and can’t ride this season?” Before I left, I “joked” with barn friends that I’d be a lot less nervous if I was just taking my horse up there to ju

Handling Barn Drama: Protecting Your Happy Place | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Barn drama is as prominent as barns themselves. It happens everywhere… even if you’re the only boarder. “Did you hear what so-and-so did?” I say to my horses as they kick their stall doors to ask for more hay. But juicy gossip isn’t always harmless fun. In fact, it can really hurt people. This sport is hard enough, with myriad reasons for us to feel bad about ourselves at any given time. Missed a distance in a big class. Can’t afford the newest helmet. Didn’t import our horse. Don’t like how we

Touch of Class: Show Jumping’s Great Thoroughbred Mare | The Plaid Horse Magazine

The hallways of the hunter/jumper sport are lined with champions, and one of the greatest on the wall is the Thoroughbred mare, Touch of Class. Touch of Class (1973-2001) was everything she wasn’t supposed to be in order to make it in the sport of show jumping. She’d had a brief career at the track (under her Jockey Club name Stillaspill) that fizzled out after six unsuccessful starts. For an elite show jumper, she was tiny at only 16 hands. She was hot. She seemed to cross-canter more often

Navigating the Horse Show World as a Native American Woman with Pearl Running Deer | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Pearl Running Deer knew from a young age that she wanted to make it in the horse showing world, but that the path might not be easy for an indigenous woman in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Running Deer did not grow up on a reservation. Rather, she lived in an area with eight to 10 other Native families who worked together to learn important elements of their culture, including bead work and sewing, and taking trips to the reservation in South Jersey regularly. Outside that group, life was not

When Anxiety Comes to the Barn | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Many of us see the barn as our happy, safe, away-from-real-life-problems place. But what happens if you don’t experience relief or euphoria when you go to the barn? What if, instead, your anxiety follows you there? These days, anxiety disorders have become diagnosed more routinely as more and more physicians recognize the symptoms and take anxiety more seriously. Anxiety is different than worrying or being nervous. If your worries are uncontrollable, excessive, prolonged (for months), or irra


JESS CLAWSON, DIRECTOR OF PODCASTING FOR THE PLAID HORSE, SHARES LIFE LESSONS WITH THE HERD. Hello, Zebras! I’m Jess. I’m the director of podcasting for The Plaid Horse, an event rider, and a very gay nerd. I’ve come a long way in my journey (I’m 37), and even thinking about where to start with this is hard. I’ve been through eating disorders; abusive relationships; struggles with PTSD, depression, and anxiety; coming out as queer. Instead of going into the dreary details of all of it, I

Should We Be Using Bisphosphonates for Horse Soundness Maintenance? | The Plaid Horse Magazine

As equestrians, we care a lot about our horses’ well-being and soundness. Chronic lameness in any competitive or pleasure riding horse can be devastating. We can spend an awful lot of money on supplements and medications, but how do we make decisions about what to feed or inject into our beloved equines? Sometimes it’s easy to skip the research and trust our trainer or vet, but our horses belong to us and it’s job to make the final educated call. Tildren is the brand name of bisphosphonates t

Queer Equestrian Voices: An Interview with Tatum Standley | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Throughout my career with horses, I’ve known dozens of farriers with bold personalities. They’ve spanned the range from homophobes that I’ve ceased to involve with my horses’ care, to the most wonderful human beings I’ve ever met. Today, I’m sharing with you a conversation I had with a farrier who definitely falls in the latter camp, Tatum Standley. He is not only a fun person and great farrier, but he’s part of the queer equestrian community. I’ll let Tatum tell you about his identity in

New Strides in Equine Assisted Therapy for Veterans | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Those of us fortunate enough to spend time with horses know how much they can challenge us, as well as how healing that time spent can be. For people like me who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), horses can have a significant hand in our healing. All across the country, equine assisted therapy (EAT) programs help people with mental illness, and now the Veterans Administration (VA) is making financial support possible by earmarking $1 million for EAT through its Adaptive Sports

What Eventers Can Learn From Hunters | The Plaid Horse Magazine

I’ve been riding since I was four years old, and almost all of that time has been in eventing programs. I missed the pony hunter world entirely. Though I love the jumpers I’ve ridden, I never really did much of the hunter thing beyond taking baby horses to hunter shows every once in a while for a calm introduction to competing. My horse, Mo, could have been a hunter because he’s a nice, quality dude, but it never occurred to me to go that way with him. That doesn’t mean this eventer has never l

Getting Through Winter: Seasonal Depression and the Equestrian | The Plaid Horse Magazine

For those of us who don’t have the budget to go to Florida or live somewhere warm and sunny year-round, winter can be tough on both our riding and psyche. It’s harder to find motivation to get and ride when the wind is whipping in my face and stirring up my fit, young horse into wild antics. When my frozen fingers are hanging on my horse’s expressionistic leaps, I just want to be snuggling my cat on the couch. But because I have seasonal affective disorder, I have to push myself to get out ther

Avoiding Cultural Appropriation for Your Horse Halloween Costumes | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love it with every earnest bone in my early-millennial body. I am that person who decorates my house with all sorts of Halloween-associated kitsch. My dad came over last month, and said he lost count of how many cauldrons I have, one of which my black cat was curled up sleeping in at the time. That’s how much I love Halloween! My favorite Halloween costume ever was when, in sixth grade, I dressed up as the Headless Horseman and rode my saint of a black quarte

Toxic Trainer Relationships: What to Watch Out For When Finding the Best For You and Your Riding | The Plaid Horse Magazine

A toxic trainer can kill someone’s love of riding faster than just about anything. From verbal to sexual abuse to simply playing favorites, trainers who are negative influences in our lives do way more harm than good – no matter how many ribbons they have on the banner. How do you recognize toxic traits in a trainer? It can be so hard to know whether something is actually wrong, or if we’re just overreacting. The important thing to remember is that if you’re feeling bad more often than good, so

It’s National Coming Out Day: What Does That Mean, and Is It Problematic? | The Plaid Horse Magazine

Are you out amongst your friends at the barn or in your pony club or at home? Do you wish you were? How do you tell your story? When we think of queer stories, it’s easy to think of movies like Brokeback Mountain or Boys Don’t Cry, where being queer is hard and being out is terrifying, perhaps even deadly. Even in the cupcake of a film Love, Simon, coming out was a horrifying prospect to an upperclass boy with a supportive family. But what does it mean to be “out,” and how can we talk about it

Making the Horse World a Safe Space for LGBTQ Equestrians | The Plaid Horse Magazine

AN INTERVIEW WITH JESS CLAWSON BY BLOG EDITOR LAUREN MAULDIN Even on the best days, horse shows can be difficult places. There’s the weather, the nerves, the chance your horse may throw a shoe right before his jumping round. Horse shows are not easy to navigate, and that can be especially true for riders who identify as LGBTQ people. Merriam Webster defines safe space as: “a place intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations.” In
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