Horse & Hound’s first issue dedicated to our readers hits the news stands today (20 December).

We invited you to send us your stories of 2012 and received a huge postbag of inspiring and often touching accounts.

H&H Editor Lucy Higginson explains: “Readers responded with enthusiasm when we asked them to share their 2012 milestones and achievements, but I hadn’t quite anticipated how affecting some of those stories would be.

“While sometimes the horses themselves have presented the year’s biggest challenges, for those readers who have battled with life-threatening or changing illness or injury, their horses and riding have provided a much-needed release, a positive goal to focus on, or a source of comfort.”

Among this week’s pages are stories of how this Olympic year has inspired you to do more — from taking on an ex-racehorse to giving driving a go.

There are also brilliant stories recognising your unsung heroes and explaining how you’ve beaten the odds, including one rider who was told her horse would never be ridden again, yet has made a successful return to the showring.

With your cameras you captured 2012’s highlights and we’ve picked our favourite snaps, including the swimming Exmoor pony and the moment Britain’s showjumpers won gold.

So don’t forget to grab your copy this week (20 December, 2012) to see if you, or someone you know, is among more than 60 readers to feature in our ‘reader special’.