Winner of the 'Train with the Stars' Contest Announced

Riding Club Serving Military and Their Families Gets the Nod

EQUUS magazine, in partnership with Horseware Ireland, Purica and SUCCEEDR 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 & 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,” says 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