During the course of any given day, there are a million ways to be disappointed. We sleep through alarms. We get parking tickets. We spend an hour at the grocery store and drive home without the green pepper we came looking for.

When it comes to horses, these small, niggling inconveniences are multiplied, then compounded. There’s no easy way to be in this sport seriously as an amateur or professional without giving away a small piece of yourself in the process. The hours are long, the demands and stakes are high, and there’s never a shortage of things to worry about at 3 a.m. in the morning.

So sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative sometimes; in the vet bills, the setbacks, the rounds that don’t go as planned. But in the world of competitive sports, riding stands alone in the fact that no matter how bad things seem, you’re never really in it alone. Our horses are our partners in the ring, yes, but they are also our confidants, our greatest inspiration, and our best friends.

After all, isn’t the best cure for all of life’s little irritations—horse related or otherwise—that chorus of nickers at feeding time, a warm, familiar muzzle in your hand, or the sun and wind on your face on that rare, perfect day hacking out?

In honor of Thanksgiving, we’ve assembled a gallery of our favorite moments in “Gratitude” from the last year. To us, these images capture the very best of what horse sport and the holiday are all about. Happy Thanksgiving.

-Photography by Erin Gilmore and Tori Repole. Words by Nina Fedrizzi.