Eventing 25: Maddy Mazzola and Mojito Aim For The Stars

The USEF has named the 2015 Eventing 25 riders, and we’re excited to get to know each of them with a series of profiles on EN. These young riders are the future of our sport in the U.S., so remember their names and join us in giving them the recognition they deserve. Keep checking back for new profiles. Go Eventing 25!

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Maddy Mazzola managed to escape the horse bug until the age of six, when a family trip to Arizona resulted in a group trail ride with a charming cowboy. As soon as she returned to home in Oakland, California, Maddy informed her parents that she was done playing soccer or pursuing other sports, and all she wanted to do was ride. Her family found Judi Martin at Skyline Ranch, and Maddy never regretted the decision.
After six years of riding on the local hunter jumper circuit, Maddy tried her hand at eventing with her first event at Woodside. She was mounted on a 12.2 hand pony named Twinkle, and after one event, she was hooked. Her parents decided to invest in a horse for their daughter, and that process brought them to Kismet Farms, where Tracy Bowman and Jolie Wentworth are based. Her eventing career began there.
Maddy always felt that she was serious and passionate about her riding, but it took getting to the Preliminary level to really cement her desires for the upper levels. She successfully competed through the two-star level with her own Oldenburg gelding, Man on a Mission II, before acquiring a very special ride in 2012.
While she wasn’t actively looking for another upper-level horse, Maddy says that her eyes and ears were always open for an opportunity, and when Tracy got a call that Mojito was for sale, it was all but a done deal.

“Both Tracy and Jolie had seen him at Rolex in the previous years and noticed that he was a special horse,” Maddy said. “They knew he needed to be in our barn no matter what, and she convinced my dad. Next thing I know, my new 17.2-hand horse is coming off the van in California. Mango is truly a magnificent animal and I’m grateful every day that he is in my life.

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito at Rebecca Farms. Photo by...???

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito at Rebecca Farms. Photo by Samantha Clark

Mango was brought through the levels by Kate Brown, from Novice to completing Rolex in 2012 in 22nd place. Mango is indeed a “beast” at eventing, as Maddy puts it, but getting a four-star mount is not without it’s challenges.

“The hardest part with Mango is definitely the flat work, it’s just really hard on him mentally,” Maddy said. “It is a constant work in progress and can be really frustrating at times, but working through it all has taught me so much.”

The pair has been partnered for two-and-a-half years now, and has yet to incur a cross-country penalty. Mango helped Maddy move up to the Advanced level in the fall of 2013, and in the spring of 2014, after only one Intermediate horse trials, they conquered the Jersey Fresh CCI3* together, finishing in 8th place.

“Getting to ride a horse like Mango on cross country is a special experience for which I’m forever grateful. However, what makes him really special is his overall character. He is genuinely the most loving and willing to please horse that I’ve ever worked with, and I’m so lucky to have him in my life.”

Maddy was part of the inaugural Under 18 program last year, and she says that it really helped her gain valuable knowledge for her competition season. “We are so lucky that David [O’Connor] established this program to benefit all young riders, and it is such an honor to represent and take part in such a great program.”

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Bill Olson.

Maddy Mazzola and Mojito. Photo by Bill Olson.

“Working with David has really been helpful in improving my personal riding, and he brought attention to small aspects that really needed improving. I feel like my efficacy as a rider has dramatically improved.

I was ecstatic to find out Leslie Law was picked for the new coaching position because I already have a bit of a relationship with him and I know how great of a coach he is,” Maddy continued. “I went to England with him to look to purchase a horse, and ended up importing my first horse, Man on a Mission III. I know that he will bring great things to the program and I’m excited to experience it!

Leslie’s help comes at an excellent time, as Maddy is eying some big things for the spring 2015 campaign. With all fingers and toes crossed, she and Mango are heading to Kentucky in April to compete at Rolex. With only four runs at the Advanced level under their belt, this is a big ask, but Maddy is positive in her determination to make it to the Kentucky Horse Park. 

“The goal is also to compete internationally eventually, but I’m trying to keep my mind set and focused on the present. My goal is to continue to grow as a pair with Mango, and hopefully we will get to experience those milestones together. I wouldn’t want to do it with any other horse.”

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