Winner of the ‘Train with the Stars’ Contest Announced

EQUUS magazine, in partnership with Horseware Ireland, Purica and SUCCEED, is proud to announce that Michelle Gonzales and the Sand & Spur Riding Club on Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base have been named the grand prize winner of its “Train with the Stars: Win a Day with David O’Connor and Jonathan Field” contest. Gonzales and nine other members of her club will now receive their own one-day group clinic with Olympic gold medalist David O’Connor and acclaimed natural horsemanship trainer Jonathan Field.

Gonzales’ winning essay was one of 761 unique entries to this groundbreaking contest. Striking a patriotic note, the Fort Walton Beach resident wrote that the Sand & Spur Riding Club deserved to win because of the sacrifices its members have made for our nation.

“Many of our members have left behind their favorite barns, trainers and even horses to serve our country or to follow and stand behind their service member,” she explained in her essay. With lessons and training “hard to come by” in their region, she stressed that winning the contest would be “… an opportunity of a lifetime and a wonderful reward for these riders who have played such a pivotal role in the support of our country and have sacrificed their riding goals in doing so. Whether they are the active duty member, the spouse or child of a service member, a retired service member or a member of the supporting civilian community, we could all learn from Mr. David O’Connor’s and Mr. Jonathan Field’s expertise.”

This contest marks the first time that EQUUS magazine has brought experts like O’Connor and Field together in this kind of educational endeavor. “We are very excited about our ‘Train With the Stars’ event,” said EQUUS Editor Laurie Prinz. “We see the contest as a dynamic new way to serve our audience.”

The 10 finalists in the “Train with the Stars” contest received a copy of Healthy Hooves, The EQUUS Guide to Your Horse’s Feet. This invaluable book is also available for purchase on

Founded in 1977, EQUUS magazine, published by the Active Interest Media (AIM) Equine Network, is a monthly publication based in Gaithersburg, Md. Although focused primarily on horse health, care and training, EQUUS explores a broad range of topics related to horses and horse sports, including in-depth articles about the origins of the horse breeds, the legacies of equine champions and the challenges of preventing the abuse of horses.

The Equine Network provides, creates and distributes relevant content and services to passionate horse enthusiasts while connecting them to each other and the marketplace. The Equine Network is the publisher of award-winning magazines Horse&Rider, EQUUS, Dressage Today, The Trail Rider, Spin To Win Rodeo, American Cowboy and Practical Horseman. The Equine Network also publishes a proprietary line of books and DVDs for sale through its store, The Equine Network provides emergency roadside assistance for equestrians through USRider, and is home to several websites, including:,,,,, and






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