When McLain Ward gave his acceptance speech for the USEF Equestrian of the Year award, he spoke on eloquently a number of topics –  from the mentors who have shaped his riding, to his father’s influence and that of his young family, to the longstanding members of his team who have made it all possible.

But for many listening, the most inspiring words Ward said that day were about his lifelong gratitude to his partners, horses themselves:

“Without the horse, none of this would be possible. We owe them our lives. They give us so much and ask only for basic kindness in return. I believe that horses and humans have a connection that draws us to each other. I believe, in their own way, they know we need them, and they are pleased to be our partner, whether it be in work or sport. We need to remember never to take advantage of this privilege of working and living with horses for granted. To never lose our appreciation for what they have given us throughout the history of time, and to be sure that their relevance in our society does not fade away. This is our greatest responsibility as equestrians.” 

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