Welcome to your community.
Horses are our passion. Our collective love for horses is what brings us together. The local horse community is facing growing pressure for the green space our horses require to survive. Every day we lose green space to development – not just the land where our horses live, but also farms where grain and hay is grown, and the open spaces where we ride. New neighbors are moving in from urban areas who have never touched a horse – they at worst fear horses and at best don’t know how to help when your horses get loose or honk their car horn with a friendly wave as you ride down the road. If development continues at it’s current pace, then it is only a matter of decades, if not years, until all of the Athens area looks like Gwinnett, or Alpharetta – no longer realistic options for the majority of the horse loving population to own or ride horses.
This is were AAHC’s potential comes in – AAHC exists to help local horse people solve the problems we collectively face and to offer opportunities. The local horse community faces such a complex variety of problems that AAHC has A LOT of irons in the fire. It feels overwhelming – but we are not alone – if we work together, then we can accomplish massive goals.
Extraordinary steps must be taken to protect space for horses for future generations and the future after that. We are working to unite the horse community – to partner with county and state level leadership, fighting for sustainable development of green space, offering education for both horse lovers and general public. This website is designed as a resource for the local community – calendar of events, merchant directory, interactive map of places to ride, articles of useful information – all updated regularly.
Maintaining our community requires commitment from every member of the local community. We are willing to do the work – are you willing to join us?
Amanda McCoy – Founder
I started Athens Area Horse Community on a whim over a decade ago to connect to the other horse people in the greater Athens area. I was a local horse trainer and farm services provider prior to making AAHC my full time job in June 2021.
As a horse trainer my first goal with horses and riders was always to provide the tools for better communication and trust and this has carried over to my work with AAHC. I am passionate dressage, but also enjoy trail riding, jumping, working eq, and foxhunting. Educating kids is a high priority for me, and I am fortunate to be involved in Oconee 4-H as the horse team coach.
I was the quintessential horse barn kid – raised in a barn. My mother is a professional trainer of more decades than she would want me to say here. While she no longer starts horses – she still trains horses and offers lessons. She especially loves teaching those who are working to re-gain confidence. Luckily for the community, my father gave me a head for business. Which gave me the knowledge, experience, and outright moxie to take the risk on creating and building AAHC.
My goal for this page is to encourage growth of the local horse community. I want to inspire people to get out and ride (or just spend time with their horses -whatever your fancy). I’m stoked about the team of staff and volunteers joining AAHC who are as passionate about this bold mission as I am. I am over the moon about our headway on land-conservation and gaze longingly to the future when we have the resources to work on the youth educational program. Really, I want AAHC to be a community led organization – our direction comes from within the community – that means YOU! Feel free to reach out to me with your ideas and suggestions. Or with any questions really. Let’s build the community together!
- Dobby, Winky, and Tucker -the pups
- Chocky, Freckles, Calypso, and Maggie – the horses
- Brett and AJ – the humans
I joined the AAHC admin team after Amanda bought a saddle pad from me, and we got to talking. An unplanned job change (sorta like an unplanned dismount!) pushed me out of a scientist career and farther into the horse world.
Although I went to UGA, it wasn’t until I came back to Athens for my scientist job in 2018 that I began to get more involved with the horse community here. I was fortunate to meet some lovely people who got me into field hunting, and I have many of them to thank for a lot of the opportunities I have been exploring since June 2020.
My dream has always been to have a career centered on horses, but with my food science background, I had figured it would be an industry career, working for a big name feed or supplement company. Instead, I found myself giving horse nutrition advice and resources to my friends (and anyone willing to listen!). I was already exercising and hunting horses, so I doubled down on that, and started giving myself the time and space to create things I had never had before. I take pride in creating, and I especially love creating functional, beautiful things, so I taught myself how to sew saddle pads and do some leather sewing. Amanda shared her idea of organizing more local events, so, with a lot of help from my mentors, I put together the Athens Area Horse Community Schooling Series which features fun and unique schooling opportunities year round!
After being thrown into a tailspin due to COVID, my long term goals have shifted. I want to improve the lives of all equines I come into contact with, and their humans. We have such a fun, knowledgeable, and vibrant horse community here, and I am grateful to be part of building an even tighter network.
- Travis – horse
- Landon and Nova – pups
- CB and Adrian – cats
- Nick – partner
My love for horses all started on a small family farm in Alachua, FL. Split Oak Stables was the name of the farm where my grandparents lived, and my aunts gave me the special gift of knowing that a hard day’s work ends with a ride! I was blessed to spend holidays and much of my summer vacation there every year.
As I got older my weeks throughout the years became less and less time spent at the farm, but my love and passion for horses didn’t die! Between school, work and then having kids, I didn’t have the time or money for horses. Luckily, as my kids got older they wanted to attend horse camp, and the flame in my heart was ignited once again. I didn’t want to leave when I dropped them off. I wanted to be the one in the saddle at their lessons. Before I knew it, we were looking for our first horse! I had weekly lessons and attended clinics, but I was always wanting more.
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a reader, but I’ll read about all things equine anytime! I especially love equine nutrition and training. I didn’t want to just do things a certain way because ”that’s the way it’s always been done.” I wanted to learn the correct way and the healthiest way to benefit my horse and to reach our goals.
I had a thriving dog grooming business, but I was volunteering my time every chance I got to help and learn about horses. My happiness was at the barn! I’m fortunate enough to have a supportive husband that saw the gleam in my eye, even after working long hours in the heat, rain and cold. He said, ”if this is what you love, stop grooming. Because even when you’re scooping poop I somehow see the happiness in your eyes.” I ended my dog grooming business and worked as a barn manager, which allowed me to continue to grow my knowledge in my passion. One door closed, as they say, and a wonderful friend with a great heart opened another, so I can continue growing and learning in our local horse community. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team with Amanda, a strong willed leader who knows dreams do come true, as long as you’re willing to shovel the poop to get to the other side!
- Chex- the horse
- Reba, Ducky and Wicket- our dogs
- Azu and Cometa- our cats
- Devin and Kole- my boys !
- Elías- My hubby, my biggest fan and my equine sponsor