SENIOR SUNDAY: A Competitive Spirit

Senior Maddie Chambers is a competitive equestrian rider.

Maddie+and+her+favorite+horse%2C+Lucky

Provided by Madeline Chambers

Maddie and her favorite horse, Lucky

Sarah Hayes, Editor

Grasping the reigns of the competition is Madeline Chambers. This high school senior’s got a fun hobby of riding horses in her spare time and even competes in riding competitions. Chambers is a life-long horse lover and rider, beginning her competitive career when she first started high school. 

“I started taking lessons at around eleven, and then showing when I got to high school,” says Chambers. “I practice two-three times a week for competitions for around an hour to an hour and a half each time.” 

The frequency of competitions that Chambers goes to varies. 

“Sometimes it’s as little as a week in between each one, while other times it can be several weeks to even months between,” She told the Scout. “ It all depends on the level you’re showing at and how far you’re willing to travel for shows.”

These competitions that Chambers goes to are different in terms of what the competitions are about. For example, she went to Tuscon, Arizona to compete for equitation and hunters. 

“Equitation judges how good a rider looks on their horse, and with the hunters, they judge how well the rider can make their horse look,” Chambers explains. “We will be jumping fences and showing on the flat.”

These competitions aren’t all just casual games either. Some of these competitions hold big prizes and rewards. 

“ I’ve won several classes through IEA, the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, and a sportsmanship award through them,” says Chambers. “I have competed through the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association and took champion in my division at one of their shows this summer.

I have also completed through the United States Equestrian Federation, the governing body of the sport in the US, and have placed very highly at some of their shows as well.”

Though there are these awards that can be earned through riding, there aren’t many scholarships. 

“Riding is handled a little differently than other sports. They don’t really hand out scholarships like the NCAA or other college sports organizations do. There are other scholarships out there regarding being an equestrian, I’m sure, but I haven’t applied to any yet.” Chambers told the Scout.

This lifelong rider has many things to enjoy in her career. However, it’s not always about the competition, but sometimes about the rider and their horses. 

“My favorite thing about horses is probably how willing they are. The horse I ride most often, Lucky, always gives me 110%, even when my riding is subpar.”

But of course, this competitive rider has to have a favorite part of the competition. 

“My favorite thing to do at these competitions is definitely competing, or just being around the horses in general,” Chambers says. “There’s almost always something to learn or do, and I’ve always been more naturally competitive.”