As the new year fast approaches, we couldn’t think of anyone more suited to be the final Instagram Spotlight of 2017 other than three-day eventer Alex Banks, whose social media is the epitome of the phrase, ‘For the love of horses!’

“I think I was one of those kids born to love horses,” Alex shared. “The first time I ever rode a horse was at a circus when I was two. I cried and cowered in the presence of cotton candy, but eagerly jumped at the opportunity to ride a pony. I think riding was just something I was meant to do.”

This insatiable passion has been with Alex ever since and has carried her through her present budding career in eventing. Along this journey, is her trusted partner and popular Instagram post subject, Finn.

“Finn or Continious or Finny, is an 8-year-old Oldenburg. I got him from Matt Flynn as a 5-year-old from Germany having only done one or two training level events. Since 2014, we’ve gone from Beginner Novice to CCI1*. We’ve definitely had our fair share of challenges, but I think it’s all starting to come together. He can be a very nervous horse but he’s incredibly smart. He’s something special!”

Alex’s New Years Resolution? Well it’s not entirely set in stone but a renewed focus on the sport is definitely on the list. Alex is planning on deferring college for a year to dedicate herself to riding and to see if pursuing a professional career is something she really wants. More immediate goals-continuing to hone her skills in photography (check out her photography account @aebphotography_) and becoming consistent at the Preliminary and one-star levels. After that, possibly showing in Intermediate at the end of the season.

But regardless of how the upcoming new year will pan out, Alex reflects on advice that she was given that she now hopes other young equestrians will take to heart as well: “DO NOT GIVE UP. Appreciate the challenges you face in this sport and the difficult horses your ride because those are the things that make you a better rider.”

Have a happy new year and explore an NF/Style Fan Favorite Instagram account courtesy of Alex Banks:

Name: Alex Banks

Age: 18

Hometown: Decatur, Alabama

Current Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Discipline and level of riding: Eventing at the Preliminary and CCI and CIC1* level.

Approach to ‘gramming’: I love videos and I love “pretty” photos. I post a lot of photos of Finn (probably too many)! I think it’s important to only post things that you really like which is why my Instagram is so important to me. I can scroll back three years and see where we started and then see how far we’ve come.

IG Live or Snapchat? For horses, I pretty much stick to Instagram. Finn makes the occasional appearance on my Snapchat but I try to maintain the appearance of an only mildly horse-obsessed girl to my school friends!

Favorite riding clothing brands: Equiline, Tailored Sportsman, EIS, Aztec Diamond Equestrian.

Favorite streetwear brands: GAP, Vineyard  Vines, lululemon.

2-3 other accounts you follow: I have so many favorites! For amazing horse photos: @carinamaiwaldphotos, @hollycasner, @landalucio. Two of my favorite riders: @alyssa_phillips_eventing and @alexcrown.

Words of advice for a good IG account: I’m no expert but what makes me love an account is their photos. I am a photographer so a good looking collection of photos is a must for me! Always stay real! No matter how big you make it, stay true to yourself.

short little clip of finny today 🤗🤩❤️

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my favorite thing 💗 thank you @chronofhorse for the perfect photo!

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Photography courtesy of @aebeventing