Early mornings, long days, and everything in-between; there is no doubt about it, equestrians are hard working. Do you know someone who works tirelessly to make their riding goals a reality? A working student that goes above and beyond to lend a helping hand? A fellow competitor who impresses with their exceptional horsemanship and work ethic? We asked, and you answered.

Because they are the #HardestWorkingPad, we teamed up with ECOGOLD to give a hard working rider an ECOGOLD Flip Half Pad (value $249) to help make their life a bit easier.

We had an assortment of equestrians enter and tell us their heartfelt stories about the fellow riders that inspire them with their hard work and dedication. Using a random number generator, Horse Junkies United was able to pick the winner.

Cue the drum roll…and the winner of the Hardest Working Rider Contest is…Emily Head. Congratulations!

In case you missed it, here is Emily’s lovely article about her friend Sophie.

Getting Back Up With A Smile

By Emily Head

The hardest working rider I know is Sophie Spence. She’s a 12-year-old girl who doesn’t take no for an answer. Just this last year, she’s had to deal with her father passing of cancer. Through this terrible last year, she hasn’t given up on her riding, or anything for that matter – when most probably would. My name is Emily Head (20) and consider myself as somewhat of a big sister to Sophie since she doesn’t have a sister and her older brother is two hours away at college.

Watching Sophie this past year not only after her father passed, but dealing with a problem horse who she had to sell, has truly inspired me. Although only 12, she is a starter on her school’s (very demanding) volleyball team, competes in IEA, and still makes time for her own personal horse and her own shows. Sophie goes from school, to a three hour volleyball practice, straight to the barn (changing in the car) in order to stay on top of her game and not fall behind in riding while she has so much else going on.

I’ve seen this world put her down so many times- but she never seems to let it put a damper on who she is as a person or an athlete. Through all of this she’s become a mature young woman who I believe lots of other young riders look up to. Most don’t know her story- but still see her smiling little face at every horse show. I believe Sophie Spence deserves to win this contest- not for the half pad- but so that she can be recognized for her truly hard work and dedication to this sport.