My name is Madelyn Sano, and my experience at the 2018 Zone 2 Hunter Finals was the biggest, and most competitive final I have ever been to. I am 18 years old, and I ride out of Hunter Way Farm with Tracy James-Pedersen. I ride a lovely KWPN mare named, Mahogany aka Hogs and this is our second year as a team. Hogs is always the life of the party and has one of the most prominent personalities that I’ve seen in a horse. Her favorite treats are peppermints and dinner is her favorite time of day. As for me, I am from Clifton Park, New York, and I am currently taking a gap-semester from school and will be beginning college in the spring.
The horse show I recently attended was Zone 2 Hunter Finals. It was my second year competing at this horse show and venue, and I had a great experience both times. This show was on October 21, 2018, and was located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This show is very different than the other shows that Hogs and I show at because we don’t usually show in a colosseum, but this venue was beautiful. At the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, they have two warm-up arenas and one main show area. As for the stalls, they were just a few steps away from the gate. Per usual, the footing was exceptional. It was soft, fluffy, and not too deep─it was perfect for Hogs. The crew and management were helpful, efficient, and made the show run right on track. Unfortunately the division I show in, Children's Hunter Horses 15-17, was the last division of the day and although I hacked in the show ring at 5:45 that morning, I didn’t end up showing until 7:00 pm. I ended up walking away with two eighth places over fences, and we took the win in the hack!
This horse was not a show where you could just show up at, I had to qualify for it, which was very hard. Qualifying for this final took months and months of horse showing, and I ended up sixth on the qualifying list, and they accept 16 riders. I had to attend A circuit horse shows such as HITS, Vermont Summer Festival, and many others to get the points I needed to qualify. I think I was as prepared as I could be for this show because I have a lot of experience in the Children’s Hunters, but of course, I was very nervous to show against the best horses and riders in the zone. In order to keep my nerves under control, I try to keep my show routine low stressed and straightforward because I tend to get stressed out and nervous before showing. Luckily I had my fantastic groom for the weekend, Brianna Pedersen to help me and get Hogs bathed and prepped for my classes. Aside from the actual showing, I enjoyed watching the other classes, including the Grand Prix on Saturday night. It had riders such as, Mclain Ward, Lillie Keenan, Beezie Madden, and many other incredible riders that I look up to. This was probably the best part of the show.
I had an amazing experience at Zone 2 Hunter Finals and it’s a show I hope to return to. Since I will be starting college soon, this also means that my junior career is coming to an end. Competing in junior divisions has been so incredibly fun and rewarding, but I think I’m ready to jump into the world of amateurs! Unfortunately, this is the last horse show of the season for me, but I hope to travel to horse shows throughout the winter with my new status.