By Justine Griffin

Hardest Working Rider Contest Entry #5

The first time I saw Sarah Williams, she was zipping around a jumper course with her big dark thoroughbred gelding, Onyx After Midnight.

We lived in different cities, attended different high schools and rode with different trainers. But once a month over the span of several years, we’d convene at the same local hunter/jumper schooling show circuit and battle it out for that blue ribbon.

Sarah and I would meet again years later totally by chance. We were both college students living in a new city and happened to apply for jobs at the same local restaurant. We were still horse crazy. We both had our high school mounts with us at college.

Sarah and I became great friends. I’m not sure if it began at the side of the hunter ring, where we’d root for each other even though we were technically competitors. Or in college, as we talked about horses more than boys in between waiting on and cleaning tables.

sarah-1Our lives would diverge again after college. Sarah started her own riding business. She shares her talented horses with eager young girls who, like us, just want to be around these animals. She’s brought in rescue horses, nursed them back to health and showered them with a lot of love, then found them new homes.

Sarah and I’s friendship strengthened through the loss of the beloved geldings we’d had since before high school, the ones that taught us everything we know about life. I was heartbroken for Sarah when I heard about Onyx. Sarah was one of the first to reach out to me when she heard my gelding, Tuffy, passed away.

Years have gone by and we both are still riding. We have new horses in our lives. We still live in different cities. Sarah continues to pursue her dream of training horses and teaching young riders while managing her own riding goals. We all know how tough it is to turn a love for horses into a viable job. I don’t think it’s been easy for Sarah, but somehow she always finds a way to do it.

Sarah’s not only teaching young girls what it’s like to sit in the saddle, she’s preparing them for life. She’s an excellent role model and a caring instructor. She works hard to give her horses the best care and just to find time to put her own butt in the saddle.

I’ve always admired what a kind soul Sarah has. She has a way with horses and people that is gentile and smart. She is one of the hardest working horse-crazy people I know. From trucking her horses across the state so her kids can show, to teaching lessons and managing a farm, I don’t know how she manages to do it all. I’m sure she’ll be embarrassed when she sees this story, but she so deserves the attention.

We need more Sarahs in the world.

Tell us about the hardest working rider you know and enter to win not one…but TWO ECOGOLD Flip Half Pads (value $249 each). CLICK HERE for contest details.