The Appreciation Post

When I decided to make an Instagram for Donny, I didn’t have any set goal in mind. I had no plans to start a blog or a YouTube channel. It was just a place for me to post all things horsey & not annoy my non-equestrian friends.


My very first IG post.

But as I continued to post, my creative drive kicked in. I wanted to share my journey… and honestly just throw all of my experiences out into the universe and see what came of it. So that’s what I started doing. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t self conscious about it at first. Sometimes I still am. It took a lot of courage for me to open up and bare my soul to the sometimes judgmental and harsh IG community. “What if people think I’m a loser?” “Who is really going to care about what I’m doing?” “You’re not showing in the GPs or going to WEF for the entire winter, so why even start this? You won’t ever be ‘important’ enough.” Those questions often ran through my mind. But as I started to share, some wonderful things began to happen. My overall self confidence went up. Amazing bloggers, amateurs, juniors and brands started sharing advice and words of encouragement. Relationships started to develop. My little equestrian Instagram bubble began to grow, and I absolutely loved it.

​I also longed to connect with other equestrians again, as I had been out of the loop for a good eight years. There had to be other people like me… a working young adult just trying to find their place in this wacky horse world along with the time and resources to actually do so. I used to think it was a little strange to make friends via social media, but now I wouldn’t think twice about it. In fact, I have been lucky enough to make some amazing friendships all thanks to The East Coast Equestrian. Some of these friends I talk to on a daily basis, and couldn’t imagine them not being in my life.

So… hang in there, because this is my appreciation post for everyone who has helped make The East Coast Equestrian what it is. From each and every one of my followers to those of you who have developed into amazing friends, thank you.

My IG BFFs (& accounts you should follow!)

Melina, @mpmsporthorses, is beautiful inside and out. She is so supportive, treats her unicorn, Caraszini, like gold and is a great example of a true horsewoman. Her posts are REAL and she puts so much effort into her video edits. She is honestly becoming like the sister I never had and I so wish we could ride and hang out together everyday!

Kirsty, @jasper.thefriendlymini, does so much more than own two ADORABLE miniature horses. She has trained them from the ground up all by herself, runs a private barn where she schools all of the horses and is in an amazing mood pretty much 99% of the time. She is full of great training information and tips and always makes time to give advice. I love this gal.

Where do I even begin with Summer, @southflshowjumper? This pretty lady has seriously seen and done IT ALL. She is one of the most transparent, straight shooting and hard working women I know. She doesn’t take ANY BS and is a fiercely loyal friend. She also shares amazing insights which are basically gold, so be sure to follow her for a refreshing dose of REAL equestrianism.

Jess, @jsequitate, is another extremely refreshing dose of reality. She doesn’t paint a picture perfect life with her two beautiful mares, but instead shares her ups and downs. Her account honestly made me feel less alone. She somehow manages to work, attend university, teach riding lessons and school her two horses almost everyday… she hasn’t shared the secret yet, but we’re anxiously waiting for it!

Sabrina, @droptopblonde, is one of the most kind, caring souls I have ever met. She is patient and gives the most thoughtful advice. She even sent me a book & card in the mail when I told her I was having a ‘meh’ week… like who does that?! She is relatable, has the most gorgeous horse, and is just a straight up wonderful human being.

Kenzie, @keyztothakenz, is like Sabrina. She has this amazing calming way about her and is always the first to drop everything when someone needs advice or even just someone to talk to. She is beautiful inside and out, one of the hardest working gals out there and we can’t wait to watch her succeed at WEF this winter! (Oh, she also has killer makeup and skincare tips & recos!)

Jordan, @new.westphaliandreamer, is the littlest friend with the biggest personality and heart to match. She is a determined force to be reckoned with. Her two mares are simply beautiful to watch and she shares great insights about her experiences with them (one is just a baby that she’s bringing along herself!) as well as honest advice on brands/products.

Laurel, @ljumper713, is my mom-friend. But she’s like… a cool mom! In all seriousness, she is a small-animal surgeon, wonderful mother and OTTB owner that somehow manages to find time to make me laugh and smile everyday. She makes me believe I can handle whatever life throws at me because… well… she really IS superwoman!

Zinta, @zintapolo, is my boss lady inspiration. She flies helicopters, plays polo and looks like she stepped off the cover of a magazine pretty much 24/7. She is so kind, her IG feed is the most calming and fulfilling thing to scroll through when you’re needing some inspiration and she’s one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met – which is extremely refreshing in this crazy equine world we live in!

Alex, @alex_bauwens, may or may not be my girl crush. She is a jack of all trades… like seriously. She can go from shooting a bow and arrow while galloping towards a target (and hit it!) to gracefully navigating a hunter course. I told her this picture makes me think she should be on the set of West World. I need to up my equestrian skills to try & keep up with her level of awesomeness!

Lily, @lilybrhodes, is my inspiration. She is the most beautiful rider, so kind, an ambassador for the USEF and extremely open about her journey back to riding after losing her arm in an ATV accident. She doesn’t let her injury define or limit her, which is one of my favorite things about her as a person. I always think to myself “if Lily can do it, SO CAN YOU!”

 Britt, @brittsabbah, is my beautiful badass eventer IG friend who always makes me think or yell out ‘OMG!’ when she posts a new photo of either her & Louie crushing some giant XC obstacle or ‘AWW’ when she shares a photo of her adorable minis. She is one cool chick and the most beautiful mother to be! I’m already daydreaming about her little one doing lead line a few years from now.

Raquel, @horsesandheels_ is like my daily dose of equestrian HGTV. She posts the most amazing inspiration for DIY and decor ideas to help bring some equestrian love into your everyday life. It’s like the ultimate Pinterest search compiled into a news feed – so satisfying to scroll through & you may end up redoing every room in your house.

Susan, @saddleseekshorse, is what blogger dreams are made of. She has the most beautiful OTTB, Knight, and you will become addicted to her blog as well as want to turn on post notifications to see what cool thing she’s up to next. She is a big charity advocate, and stepped up big time to help those affected by the recent California wildfires. She truly has a heart of gold.

Vanessa, @ladyphotographic, is one of those talented people that just knows how to make the magic happen. Her IG feed sends me off into la la land, daydreaming of beautiful horses, barns and landscapes. You will 100% want to follow and turn on post notifications for her account to keep up with her amazing photographs from big name shows, glam photoshoots and other cool events. She must have some magic fairies helping her out or something because I’m telling you, her photos are simply unreal.

Kait, @frugal.filly, is someone you just want to hug 24/7. She has three beautiful rescues that she pours her heart and soul into. She is constantly posting amazing product reviews on her blog, Tailored Mane, so be sure to follow her for a dose of true pony love & totally honest brand opinions.

Need some true eq inspiration and unicorn eye candy? Look no further than Kristyna’s account, @mylittleponyss. She is constantly posting amazing photos and videos of her and her gorgeous horse Cal, and is one of the nicest and most encouraging gals I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know all thanks to IG!

Love gorgeous horses? What about dressage? Check out FEI junior dressage rider @griffind_dressage for your daily drool – he’s constantly posting amazing photos of beautiful horse and rider combinations as well as photos of himself schooling & competing!

Holli, @bewareofthemare, is one of my favorite people. The entire equestrian community wept for her after recently losing her stunning mare, Willa, but are now cheering her on as she begins a new journey with her new rescue, Spartan, a four year old OTTB. She is kind, caring and has a heart of gold.

I don’t know if she’ll kill me for adding her to this list or not since she doesn’t really have a ‘public’ Instagram, but Angela, @agavozzi, was one of my first followers, cheerleaders & now a great friend. She makes me laugh, is mama to a BEAUTIFUL little girl and has two wonderful rescue horses right in her backyard… in a barn she built herself. It’s my dream, and she’s living it! She’s truly a wonderful person and I’m lucky to know her.

So… until I got to know her, I was always kind of in awe of Jennifer, @styledequestrian. (I mean don’t get me wrong, I still am!) Her #ROOTDs are always on point and she somehow always knows what the next ‘big thing’ is going to be in the equestrian fashion world. Her IG feed basically begs me to empty my bank account on a daily basis, it’s THAT amazing.

Lauren, @laurenpatelli, is an amazing human being. She is an officer in the United States Air Force, a western barrel racer recently turned hunter/jumper AND a newlywed! She is one of those people that is insanely kind and caring and you can’t help but smile whenever you talk to her.

Jenna, @jmseventinganddressage, is another one of my badass eventer IG friends. After a terrible accident four years ago, she has overcome nerve damage, broken bones and ruptured muscles to be one of the most dedicated and inspirational equestrians I have met. Her horse is gorgeous, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of her where she isn’t smiling.

I just recently met Rene, @for_always_and_infinity, but take one look at her IG feed and you’ll fall in LOVE with her gorgeous horse Leo. She is the cutest, so funny and I can’t wait to get to know her better. I’m so thankful for the relationships I’m able to make via IG friends!

My IG Brand BFFs

Amy, @huntseatpaperco, was one of my first cheerleaders. I fell in love with her creative and felt like the coolest kid in school when she picked little ‘ol ME to be one of her Taste Makers! Since then (it feels like forever ago) we’ve started talking on almost a daily basis. She is a fierce OTTB advocate, jumps in whenever there is a crisis and help is needed and has some of the most creative, fresh & inspiring content out there. I am so lucky to know her.

Sarah, @citygirlequestrian, is another one of my cool mom friends and also someone that took a chance on me to help rep her company. She has two adorable daughters and somehow finds the time to manage the most amazing equestrian boutique and is currently getting back in the saddle! She is also a big charity supporter, and always jumps in 110% when help is needed.

Rachel, @parknorthdesigns, is witty, no-nonsense and also one of the most caring people I’ve met. She is a huge horse rescue advocate and donates a portion of her sales from her GORGEOUS PND nail necklaces to a different rescue every month. She also was the driving force behind the wristband idea to help raise funds for #HelpHarveysHorses. She has big plans to help change the lives of neglected horses in America, so keep a lookout for this one.

Liz, @ellanyequestrian, is another person that believed in me. She put up with my custom saddle pad orders and non-stop questions about ‘can you do this?’ or ‘how does this sizing work?’ She is a workaholic, designs beautiful & quality products and might be one of the most real people I know. She will always take the time to get back to you and will never blow you off or make you feel ‘less than.’ (Which is a huge deal in my book.)

Dianna, @sporthorseessentials, may be the most positive, wonderful gal out there. She is a non-stop motivator, comments the most thoughtful things on every single photo and is a true yet wholesome businesswoman looking to help better the lives of horses with her organic grooming and care products. I use them on a daily basis, and am so happy I found her! (& Donny is too!)

Jon, @eceequestrian, is amazing because he doesn’t get mad when people constantly mix up our IG handles, sent me a show shirt for some of my first shows with Donny (it 100% brought me good luck) and even mailed me a jacket to try on just so I could get a feel for the material and fit. (I am saving up for one as we speak!) ÉCE Equestrian makes my absolute favorite show shirt, so please support them and check them out!

Katha, the owner of @shadowcreekny, is responsible for making this happen. She found and imported Donny, and reached out to me when she saw what I was searching for. She truly has a gift for finding amazing horses and matching them with their ‘person.’ I love this girl, she is professional, so kind & caring and just as beautiful on the inside as she is out.

Amanda, @boyoboybridleworks, captured my attention and heart when I stumbled upon her unique, absolutely gorgeous custom brow bands, belts and more. She truly creates one of a kind items that last a lifetime and is a wonderful, generous person that is always game for whatever collaboration I come up with. You can find her at most major horse shows on the east coast, so be sure to look out for the green Boy-O-Boy logo!

Andrea, founder of @horse_glam AND @ponyglam, is one of the most relatable and REAL horsey gals out there. She makes me laugh, motivates me with how hardworking she is and gives me hope for the future when I someday have kids – she somehow is able to balance it all while looking chic and together 24/7. She featured me (well… Donny) in my very first blog post. I was so excited when it came out and shared it with all of my friends and family! Be sure to check out her blog and pick up some hoof hi-lites – Donny’s color is sassy silver.

Helen, owner of @theherbalhorse, is like her products. Soothing, wholesome and oh so wonderful. She makes time for your questions and packs so much love into each of her orders that you can’t help but jump with joy whenever one of her magical packages finally arrives.

Avery, the founder of @pony.pastries, is the youngest and most motivated entrepreneur I have ever met. She creates BEAUTIFUL treats worthy of being in the front window of Ladurée in Paris. Donny simply adores them and Dan even thought they were for people and accidentally tried to eat one – they’re THAT beautiful!

Rebecca, owner of @view.halloo, is a newer friend of mine but I liked her so much right off the bat. She is a hustler – seriously. A DOCTOR and horsewoman, she somehow found the time to design and produce the most beautiful equestrian journal/planner I have ever seen.

When Anita from @forhorsesusa said she would like to collaborate with me, I was speechless. She represents an amazing, high quality brand that is making waves here in the US. There have been many ‘big name’ brands that have ultimately ended up being a big waste of my time, asking me to work with them but never following through or returning emails/phone calls. Anita is the opposite. She is professional, so kind and works 1:1 with the designers of ForHorses, so is chalk full of information regarding the brand. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a beautiful, insanely high quality apparel item, look no further.

Rebecca, @r.w.equineart, is a sixteen year old artist that creates the most beautiful work. I was floored when I learned how young she was! She is professional, so kind and wise beyond her years. I commissioned her to do a portrait of Donny and it is one of my most prized possessions!

I love punk rock. And 90s alternative and grunge. So naturally I was drawn to @phyllis_stein‘s amazing graphic tees. They’re witty, different and pretty much a necessity in everyone’s wardrobe. My favorite is the “Hunters Like it Slow.”

I am a sucker for cute things. So when I found @horsetreatery, naturally I was hooked. They offer adorable, customizable treats at an affordable price! (Plus their turnaround time and shipping is very fast – not something you usually find in the custom treat biz.)

Bloggers I Love!

I mentioned them above in my IG BFFs list, but be sure to follow Saddle Seeks HorseHorse Glam and Tailored Mane! All awesome lifestyle equestrian blogs worth bookmarking.

Lindsay, @paperchasesandpetticoats, may have one of the most beautiful, informative blogs out there. She covers everything from grooming to equestrian style and does so in the most aesthetically pleasing way. She is also one of my earliest supporters! Without people like her, ECE wouldn’t be anything at all.

When Bethany launched @myequestrianstyle, I knew she was one to watch. Her beautifully curated feed is instantly gratifying to scroll through. She has the best fashion finds and is giving me daily inspiration for not just #ROOTDs but even plain old #OOTDs! Her blog is easy to navigate and just as beautiful as her IG feed. Oh, and she also recently became the style editor for The Plaid Horse!

So… that’s really it! If you actually read this entire post, kudos to you. I honestly just wanted to thank the people that have been so supportive and kind to me throughout this past year. I am so lucky to know you and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us.


One thought on “The Appreciation Post

  1. Wow! What an honor to be on this list. Thank you for all this good info. I can’t wait to take the time to sit down and follow all the folks you mention here.

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