We were thrilled to receive so many wonderful applications for our first ever annual Jumper Nation blogger contest! We knew selecting one winner was going to be challenging, but each of our candidates truly put our judges to work with their exceptional writing skills. After three rounds of competition, one writer rose to the top. Read on to see which writer has joined the JN team, plus see what is in store for the other two writers who rounded out our top three.
We are proud to announce that Melissa Collins will be joining the Jumper Nation team as a weekly contributor! Melissa’s initial submission captured our attention immediately, and she nailed her interview with Genevieve Edwards in round two.
“Edwards was hungry. She wanted it bad enough that she was willing to do whatever it took to succeed. The long days, long hours, lots of mistakes, endless tears and the ups and downs were all paying off. Slowly but surely, nicer horses started to come through the doors. Edwards found herself selling higher quality horses. Her students started winning and people were noticing her presence.
‘I wasn’t the new kid on the block anymore,’ stated Edwards. After years of hard work, Echelon now houses over 30 horses and 27 full stalls.”
In round three, Melissa had to address a controversial topic: do full-care facilities help or hurt the future of our sport? Melissa penned a wonderful essay sharing her life experiences as a young rider having to work her way through the levels.
“While I understand life gets in the way and most families have other kids and other sports to attend to, as well as church, homework, and other commitments, I have to stop and wonder what is the future of our sport going to be? Or more importantly WHO is the future of our sport going to be? We have made it so convenient as barn owners for clients to show up as little as possible, win a blue ribbon and leave. In fact, I’m sure many trainers and barn owners even prefer it this way. However, the future of our sport is bleak if our juniors don’t understand the routine and maintenance that goes into these horses.”
We know that Melissa will be a valued asset as a member of our team and look forward to working with her in the future. Never fear, however, as we have granted the other two finalists the opportunity to continue on as contributors for Jumper Nation on a regular basis as well!