NYB: Taking a Step Back: High School to College as an Equestrian

My name is Madison. I am a current junior in college studying Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I try to ride 1-2 times per week at a local eventing barn and was fortunate enough to be able to half lease a Connemara over the summer. These days I enjoy my relaxed afternoons at the barn jumping a lesson horse over little 2’ jump courses. A few years ago my life was at the barn. I used to spend my afternoons after class riding a few horses, filming YouTube videos, studying for certifications, and teaching Pony Club meetings. But when I moved to college and my life flipped upside down, the barn was put on the backburner. And while I think that transition is hard, I do believe it can be an amazing experience. 

When I went to college I knew things had to change. College is expensive, I knew my classes would be hard, and I wanted to make the most of it. So I left my beloved pony at home (who is now absolutely rocking Beginner Novice with my mama!) and searched for a barn near my college. After some searching and failing, joining the college equestrian team and then quitting, I finally found a barn that I love. And while I do not make it out to the barn as often as I would like, the days I do get to go are the highlight of my week.

This transition relit my love for just simply being at the barn. Taking a step back allowed me to appreciate the little moments more. When my entire life revolved around my fitness calendar, moving up the levels, and getting qualifying scores, I never had the time to do anything “just for fun”. The casual trail rides I used to go on turned into a well planned conditioning ride and the relaxed schooling jumper shows became a chance for me to work on speed and precision. It was not until I took a step back that I realized this competitive nature took some of the fun out of the barn. While change can be challenging and tough to navigate, change brings new opportunities and potential for growth. This change allowed me to find enjoyment in the simple aspects of being an equestrian. The barn once again became a place of relaxation and rejuvenation like it once was and I love it.

The National Youth Board (NYB) serves as a liaison between Pony Club’s youth members and the Board of Governors by communicating the needs, ideas, and concerns of USPC youth. NYB members also work with the national office on projects related to marketing, leadership development, and service for the benefit of the organization and all Pony Club members. Delegates of the NYB are between 18 – 23 years of age, highly motivated and dedicated, and have strong leadership and communication skills. To learn more, log in and visit the National Youth Board page.


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