A few months ago I met an inspiring woman who allowed me to share her story for the “Time To Ride” contest, a writing contest to shine a light on a first-time horse experience that made a lasting impact on their life.
It was my pleasure to be able to share Marlise’s story in hopes that others might be able to find solace in the darkness of depression. It was just an extra delight to discover I had won the contest. Below is the press release from TimeToRide.com. I’ll post the story soon.
Time to Ride Writing Contest Winners Celebrate New Riders
Washington, D.C., November 9, 2015 – Time to Ride’s freelance writing contest, inviting entries focused on a first-time horse experience that made a positive, lasting impact on someone’s life, has concluded by awarding the grand prize to writer Megan Arszman. Earning honorable mentions and a Time to Ride prize package are Cathy Thacker and MacKenzie Waro. Time to Ride received dozens of thoughtful and beautifully written pieces exploring the magic experienced when one connects with a horse for the first time.
Arszman’s piece titled Not Your Standard Medication explores how one woman overcame clinical depression with horses by taking up riding for the first time as an adult. “Depression is like a dark hole, and there are days that you struggle just to see a glimmer of light. For some it can be crippling, but others find a way to fight through. They might do it on their own, with medication, or with the help of angels around them. For Marlise Langenhoven, her angels just came in the form of horses,” begins Arszman’s piece. Arszman explores how riding lessons, initially a request of the subject’s daughter, proved to be much more than a hobby. Langenhoven’s connection with horses helped her “end the victim cycle” and move forward with her life by providing a unique path to healing. Langenhoven is quoted: “My time at the barn was the joy of my life.” Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
Honorable mention writer is Cathy Thacker, a CHA- and PATH-certified instructor whose piece, Dear Feedbag Fairies, describes the heartfelt letters summer camp riders write to their horses. Thacker writes “the connection between girls and horses can be hard to explain to outsiders; our letters help us explain and illustrate that connection and unconditional love.” Thacker writes, “It could be argued that a lot of activities inspire children to overcome their fears and gain confidence. I would argue that there is a strange and special alchemy that takes place only at the barn.” Click here to read the entire piece, including an excerpt from “an emotion filled and tear stained declaration of love for our miniature donkey, Jenny.”
Second honorable mention honors go to MacKenzie Waro for her piece titled Just a Dream and a Challenge. Waro details how witnessing a powerful connection between one of her horses and a young girl caused her to consider her lifelong relationship with horses in a new light. “I have been riding for 22 years, and it took a newcomer with a dream for me to see that horses are more than a teammate; they are our soulmates.” Click here to read the entry.
“We are amazed by the touching entries and thank all the writers who entered pieces,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokesperson. “These pieces are further proof of the horse’s amazing capability to connect with and change humans unlike any other animal. It’s why we call ourselves horsemen and why we are so dedicated to helping new people discover the joy of horses.” Time to Ride will be publishing excerpts and entire essays from the contest at www.timetoride.com. Please visit the website to learn more about connecting new people to horses, and find a map of stables and other equestrian resources for newcomers.
The American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance
Time to Ride is an initiative of the American Horse Council’s marketing alliance, formed to connect people with horses. It is designed to encourage horse-interested consumers to enjoy the benefits of horse activities. The AHC marketing alliance is made up of the following organizations: the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, the American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, Morris Media Network Equine Group, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, Equibrand, the National Cutting Horse Association, the National Reining Horse Association, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and the Texas A&M University Equine Initiative.
About the American Horse Council
The American Horse Council is a non-profit organization that includes all segments of the horse industry. While its primary mission is to represent the industry before Congress and the federal regulatory agencies in Washington, DC, it also undertakes national initiatives for the horse industry. Time to Ride, the AHC’s marketing alliance to connect horses and people, is such an effort. The American Horse Council hopes that Time to Ride will encourage people and businesses to participate in the industry, enjoy our horses, and support our equine activities and events. The AHC believes a healthy horse industry contributes to the health of Americans and America in many ways.