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Madelyn Floyd

Achievements

About Madelyn Floyd

Madelyn is a 14 year old eventer from Washington state (area vii!) just trying to balance school, two horses and a love for writing. Her summers are mostly spent riding, tack cleaning, and goofing off with barn friends, while winters are occupied with attending clinics, schoolwork and more schoolwork! She trains with Jordan Linstedt and has eyes for NAJYRC in the near future. In the meantime, she competes her horses, Clementine and Seahawk Defence at training and novice respectively.With a slew of stories to tell she entered the 7th Annual Blogger Contest and is now here to share her opinions as a young rider!

Eventing Background

USEA Rider Profile Click to view profile
Area 7
Highest Level Competed Training
Farm Name Hawkwind Farm
Trainer Jordan Linstedt

Latest Articles Written

My Meaning Behind NAJYRC

As you might have read in my previous articles or followed on my Instagram (@tinitinyeventing !), I have been wanting to go to the Young Rider Championships for a long time. Like five years. It’s been a while. But I realized that I have never really explained why this is so important to me. This seemed like an appropriate time to elaborate on my driving dream, especially since I’ve been talking about it for a third of my life.

Before I can go into NAJYRC, it is important to gain some background on the barn I have grown up in. I started riding with Jordan Linstedt when I was 11. I had read about Young Riders one year prior, and had my heart set.

So from 11-12 I battled with a naughty bucking pony, and watched awestruck at the Novice/Training riders in my barn, who would soon become Training/Preliminary riders. I was completely amazed. I used to sit and watch their jump lessons, videotaping just so I could rewatch them at home. While I couldn’t get my pony to calmly jump a Novice oxer, they flew over jumps I could only dream of piloting a horse to. In short, I idolized these girls (you guys probably know who you are!)

Midway through my first summer with Jordan I got to jump this rolltop we have. It’s just over 3 feet tall, probably the width of a general ascending oxer, and is painted to look like an American flag. But to 11-year-old me, it might as well have been the size of the world. Jumping that rolltop was a big deal, because it was what the OLDER GIRLS jumped. That might have been one of the best days of my summer.

Fast forward to September and I go to watch my first three day at Aspen Farms. Jordan was running RevitaVet Capato in his first Advanced, so we came out to cheer her on. I was once again awestruck watching them fly over cross country, as well as watching the older girls in my barn compete their respective horses, and I made a little mental note that one day I would do the same thing.

A year passes and I sell my mean pony and purchase a Beginner Novice packer to finally compete on. This meant that I watched the same girls on a regular basis. One show that really stuck out to me was Whidbey Island H.T., watching the Preliminary go. Two girls were competing from my barn, and I was completely entranced. I vividly remember watching them jump a log on the top of a hill, and at the time it was the biggest hill I’d ever seen a horse go up. I desperately wanted to do what they were doing. So badly I wanted to fly as they did; I was assured it would come in time.

That same summer one of the girls I idolized allowed me to ride her Preliminary horse around for a bit. It was maybe 15 minutes of trot and canter but I swear I never wanted to get off that horse. It was the third time I promised that one day I would ride like them.

From my first show with a bucking pony, and Novice seeming a long way away …

Now we jump ahead two years. I am at Aspen Farms again, competing in my first Training. I’m 12, about to turn 13. I’ve upgraded to a bigger horse, and I am desperately excited to jump bigger jumps. Another one of the girls I desperately idolize is doing her first Preliminary. I remember hurrying out to watch, full of anxious excitement and wonder. The picture of her jumping through the coffin is still vivid in my memory. That was the final time I internally said a promise that one I day I would do that too.

Those girls were so nice to me. They showed me the ropes of eventing, gave me something to strive for, and were the best idols I could have had the opportunity to look up too. They were inclusive, caring, and mentors for me. Eventually, they all left for college, and that gave me some time to ride and grow without really noticing how much time was passing. It has been a while since I last saw some of them, others have kept in intermittent touch, and I myself have moved up to Preliminary.

When I look back at my journey to where I am today, I can clearly recognize the impression those teenagers left on me, and the guidance they offered. Even years after I last watched them ride, the awe of my 11-year-old self has stayed with me. I will never forget how supportive those girls were to me, and what an amazing job they did in showing me how to lead. I have always wanted to fill the shoes of the girls before me, and I am not sure I’ll ever reach that point. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to try.

So how does this connect to the Young Rider Championships? I guess for me, NAJYRC is a benchmark. A way to stop and say, “look where I am now!”, but also the fulfillment of a long goal — the end of a chapter. Going to NAJYRC would be the end of my career as a kid trying to chase after the older girls, and the beginning of attempting to BE one of the older girls I idolized when I was younger. Of course, I am always trying to emulate what I watched in their leadership, especially now that I have moved into the “upper levels.”

Young Riders has always just been a title to me. Something far away, distant, a dream that every competitive young rider has. Now it’s closer than ever before, and I’ve come to evaluate why it is so important to me. NAJYRC would be the culmination of every stiff-necked dressage test, every almost-too-fast cross country round, and every nerve-wracking-almost-puking show jump ridden until now. It would prove to myself that in some way I have gotten better, I have learned something, and I can start to be the role model I have always admired.

That isn’t meant to sound cocky or entitled, but there is something credible and viable in competing at Young Riders, there’s a certain magic to the name that I feel people give a level of appreciation for. If I am able to add that title to my list of competitions one day, I want to be doing things the right way. I don’t want to spoil that magic with sloppy riding or self-centeredness, because NAJYRC wouldn’t be about the show, or myself, or even my dreams. NAJYRC would honestly be about proving that the past five years haven’t been a waste of wishing.

Above all things, I strive for this goal and work towards it to fuel the dream and fire I know others have. People have always told me “you never know who is watching!” and I take that to heart. Maybe no one is watching, but maybe the world is. And when the world stops to look, I want to make a good impression. I ride, I compete, I train and I dream for those watching me the way I watched the girls in front of me.

My personal goal to replicate the mentorship I was given by older riders within my barn. I want to someday be the kind of leader for the younger riders (namely within my own barn) that I had the opportunity of learning from years ago. I can only hope I am giving them the same guidance I was given half a decade ago.

… to my most recent show — four years changes a lot! None of it would have been possible without the support and comradery my teammates provided. Photos courtesy of Madelyn Floyd.

So there you have it, the reason I so desperately want to qualify and hopefully someday compete at the Young Rider Championships. In many ways, the reasons why I am trying to get to NAJYRC reflect the reasons I ride, and the reasons I strive to be the best I can be. That is all riding really is though, trying to be the best you can be. Every ride I take in that direction is for the younger ones that want it, too.

I advise everyone reading this to think similarly, because whether you realize it or not, someone’s always watching you ride. You might not notice it, but the world stops to watch everyone. We can only pray it stops to watch at the right time. Cheers to everyone trying to qualify for the 2018 teams, and cheers to the riders we all grew up watching.

 

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Jordan Linstedt has always backed our team and our dreams, starting from Beginner Novice up!

“This is the stuff dreams are made of.”

I have heard this phrase so much throughout my life — in the news, books, Facebook posts and even conversation. However, I never thought about what it meant. What are dreams made of? What makes someone dream? It struck a thought, and sparked an idea.

I wonder what made Michael Jung dream of competing at Rolex? Did he dream it? Did he dream of winning it? Did a young Mark Todd ever look up in wonder at top level competitors and say, “One day I’ll be like them”? Perhaps the greats of our sport were once like the rest of us. Perhaps they all were once young riders looking up in awe at high level competitors, making a silent dream to be at some point compete there as well.

Have you ever finished a ride, and seen a younger competitor smiling your way? Did you notice the Beginner Novice rider watching the 3* in amazement? Did your eye catch the twinkle in theirs? That is the stuff dreams are made of. Dreams are made of the fist pumps after a clean round, the grinning smile after a great test and the squealing “Good boy/girl!!” while landing off an impressive jump. When one person’s dream comes true, another is born.

When I watched young riders in my area medal at NAJYRC, a dream was born to one day be like them. When Michael Jung won the Grand Slam, countless young riders watched and told their coach, “That’s what I want to do.” If this is true, could it be possible that when you jumped through the water on cross country, someone silently told themselves, “One day, that’s going to be me”? I say yes.

Really, we are all just dreamers. Dreamers with work ethic and determination. Everyone starts somewhere. At some point Phillip Dutton was going around his first horse trials. At some point Lauren Kieffer wasn’t 100% how to get her horse on the bit. Everyone starts out not knowing, but dreaming. So who’s to say you aren’t going to make it?

This, again, intrigued me. What decides whose dreams come true, and whose are put to rest? Is it all about natural talent? Is it politics? Does the horse make a big difference? I would say each of these are factors, but there’s something bigger going on. Before Phillip Dutton could start his journey to the Olympics, he needed someone to believe he could get there. Everyone needs someone to believe in their dreams. Someone that sees the light in their eyes and says, “Let’s make this dream come true.”

This is what dreams are made of. Dreams are made of dreamers and believers and hard work and never giving up and trusting undoubtedly. I have seen the light in fellow competitors younger than myself. That twinkle of, “Please me a chance, I want it, too” makes me want to cheer them on more than ever.

This being said, don’t be afraid to help and guide on the younger ones. Help mentor, guide and support so that one day they can be a part of someone else’s dreams. When I first started training with my coach five years ago, I had a dream of competing at NAJYRC. In less than two weeks I’ll head to my first Preliminary, the first leg of my long-time dream. I have had so many coaches, family members and friends believe in my dreams. Without believers, there can be no dreamers.

Investment and encouragement are the supporting legs of success. There are younger riders in my own barn that I adore cheering on. I believe in their dreams of competing, and while I am no coach, I can offer encouragement; we all can. We are all part of the stuff dreams are made of. We all inspire, notice and cultivate it. The more we notice it, the more our sport will grow, and the more young riders will say, “I want to do it like they do.” I personally believe that when a dreamer has a believer backing them, they can do anything.

Keep dreaming, keep believing, and go eventing.

A Young Rider’s Reasons I Ride

At Rebecca Farm

Everybody rides for different reasons, but for many young riders those reasons are very similar. One main thing I have noticed is that many young riders, like myself, strive to be the next big thing. Everyone wants to be the next Phillip Dutton or Lauren Kieffer. This gives you a relatively large group of young riders all wanting to be the same thing: the best. As you probably guessed, this means you now have a big group of highly competitive teenagers, which definitely sounds like it won’t end well.

Well, this is what makes young eventers, in my opinion, special. Our competitiveness drives us together, not apart. I cannot count the number of times I have heard “Good luck!” “You looked awesome!” “Congrats!” “Have a good ride!” or even “I got a couple photos of you. I’ll be sure to text them to you!” As a whole, I believe young riders support each other, putting aside the natural competitiveness of the sport.

I think it is pretty cool to look at the scoreboard and know so many names, to be able to silently fist pump for a friend leading their division or somebody’s double clear round. Which brings me to my main point: Aside from riding to compete, I ride to have fun.

Some of the best moments at shows are off the horse. The last minute cross country course walks with early 2000’s music playing, the early morning braiding sessions, the post-ride food truck stop or even the impromptu bareback ride are moments I wouldn’t trade for the world. For me shows are a place of security, happiness and overall fun. For me personally, watching my friends cross the finish flags is just as fun as crossing them myself. All of these are reasons for me to ride.

However, there are people that for one reason or another, cannot get past the competitiveness. They get too hung up on the score, the ribbon, the number next to their name on the leaderboard. Because of this, they start to envy the people above them on the scoreboard. They let the competition take hold and suddenly they don’t see shows the way others do.

Jealousy doesn’t look good on anybody. Jealous people will stand by when you ride with a prying eye, judging you, inspecting and dissecting your ride. Jealous people will make snide comments and shut down compliments. But most of all jealous people only want to see you trip up. I don’t think anything stung worse than the time I heard someone cheer after they heard I had a stop on cross country.

Jealous people ride for a different reason than other people. Jealous people ride to beat the person ahead of them. It doesn’t matter to them if they are second to last, as long as you are in last. They ride to prove a negative point and put others down.

Please, don’t be the jealous person. Don’t spoil another person’s show. Refrain from pouring more competitiveness into the pot. Don’t let jealousy change the reasons you ride.

I ride to compete, to learn, to experience and to just have fun! Everyone has different specific reasons they ride, but it all comes down to two big things: fun and competition. I strive to keep shows fun and competitive, and I love seeing fellow riders do the same. If we continue to ride for genuine reasons, shows will remain positive, as well as competitive!

It Takes a Friend to Know

Partners in crime (with Novice horses).

Eventing is, to put it briefly, a really intense sport. It is super competitive, very draining and requires maximum focus. It is so easy to get lost in the competitive side of it. Sometimes this competitiveness can strain relationships. That is why this post is for the friends that stay friends.

Here’s to the friends that stay to watch each other ride. The friends that can be neck and neck on the leaderboard and nobody would know it. The friends that can give each other space but still warm up side by side. The friends that love nothing more than to see each other have a good ride.

My best friend is somebody I could not live without. I need her giggly, happy attitude to balance my serious, hyper-focused ways at shows. And as much as I complain, I wouldn’t give the world for our course walks fueled by early 2000’s Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. She is the first person to meet me at the finish flags and the last person to leave my side after we feed. She is my best friend, and nothing can change that.

We’ve had shows where one of us wins because the other dropped a rail, but it never seems to matter at the end of the weekend. People have asked how we do it, and I have no answer other than we really are just super close friends. A lasting friendship is more important than a ribbon.

Everyone deserves to have a friend that just knows. Someone that can tell you’ve had a bad ride and is there to offer encouragement. A person that you can commiserate, laugh, complain, talk, and even just silently walk next to. After cross country, you can always find my friend and I side by side, watching videos, laughing and desperately trying to keep our horses in ice boots.

One of my favorite moments at Rebecca Farm was warming up for cross country perfectly in sync with her, laughing the entire time because we really do just find ourselves hilarious. Having a friend makes everything so much better.

Shows are stressful! For young riders like myself, having a friend by your side makes everything much easier. It’s way easier to forget a bad dressage score when you are hacking bareback together! Stops on cross country can get put aside while watching the upper levels, and bad show jump rounds don’t seem all that bad after wandering around with strawberry smoothies.

This one is for those friends and the atmosphere of eventing they help create!

When Your Trainer Goes Away

We announced the finalists in the 7th Annual EN Blogger Contest, and now we are bringing you their first round submissions. Leave your feedback in the comments, and please offer your encouragement and support to the finalists! We hope you enjoy their creativity, insight and love of the sport.

Madelyn Floyd and Jordan Linstedt.

Training with top coaches is an experience no rider should take for granted, but it can be tough when they leave to pursue their own competition goals.

This spring Jordan Linstedt took to the East Coast to train leading up to Kentucky, which didn’t go as originally planned. This led to rerouting to Jersey Fresh and Bromont later in the spring. Jordan went on to have a fantastic run at Jersey Fresh and win the Bromont CCI3* with Revitavet Capato. That win was the climax of three months away from home.

I credit everything I have ever achieved to Jordan, and to be honest, it was hard to have my trainer away for so long. We kept in contact, and I took lessons with other great trainers in the area, but I missed my longtime coach.

Now that Jordan has returned, I reflected on my experience over the spring. I starting thinking about what it would be like if Jordan didn’t compete. How would that affect me? Well, I realized something, and it’s the catch when riding with high caliber trainers.

They are not just trainers. These people are also riders. They have dreams and goals, and Badminton is to Jordan what NAJYRC is to me. If Jordan didn’t compete, she wouldn’t be the trainer she is today. Trainers compete and learn and then extend what they learn to their students. It is tough when Jordan leaves in the spring for Kentucky, but I sure am lucky to have her here the rest of the year.

So when your trainer goes away, what do you do? You buckle down for the months they will be absent and get to work. Can’t jump as frequently? Poles are your best friend. Struggling on the flat? Surprisingly, YouTube and Facebook do help sometimes. Wanting lessons? Take the opportunity to learn from other coaches in the area and haul out! But most important, support your trainer. Be as excited for them as they would be for you.

Eventing is a tough sport, and I have found that having a consistent and supportive coach is key. Supporting your trainer in return will build a strong relationship that will last for many years to come. Everyone has dreams, and everyone should have the right to follow them!

This is the catch with riding with a high-caliber coach. They will take time to chase their own goals. For me, those three months spent away are a sacrifice worth making for the other nine months.

About the author: My name is Madelyn Floyd, and I’m a 14-year- old eventer in Area VII. I have two horses, an uber-talented, spunky mare named Clementine, as well as a cribbing goofball OTTB named Seahawk Defence. Clementine (Tini) is competing at Training and Hawk is doing his first season at Beginner Novice.