By Madison Ritsch

Hardest Working Rider Contest Entry #7

One of my all time favorite quotes is “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard”. My sister, Mollie, is the definition of hard work. My 13 year old, 8th grade sister is an avid equestrian with dreams of one day competing training level. This past summer she competed in her first ever eventing competition where she finished 3rd in a group of almost 20 riders. She competed on her old lease horse, Misprint, at the Colorado Horse Park where they did Elementary. In addition to her first event, Mollie also got her Pony Club D-3 Traditional Rating!

Mollie first rode Misprint about a year and a half ago and immediately fell in love with her. She is a 14.2 hand Arabian Quarter Horse mare who has competed up to novice many years ago. Mollie wanted to get her back competing.

Mollie is the most dedicated equestrian I know. Since I began eventing 2 years ago, Mollie has been my unofficial groom; filling water buckets, helping me braid, cleaning stalls and much more. I would absolutely love to pay her back for that, and this half pad would be the perfect way. At the beginning of the season, Mollie made our entire team customized bridle charms with each of our initials and cross country colors. Mollie is so incredibly kind and encouraging. In addition to Mollie’s hours of school work and clubs, she squeezes in riding by biking out to the barn almost 3 days a week. The road to the barn is a 3 mile uphill dirt road. Mollie would bike up to the barn even when she couldn’t ride just to fill the slow feeder to help with Misprint’s ulcers or to clean the paddock. She mows lawns, babysits for our trainer, works as a pony camp counselor, and pet sits to contribute to horse show expenses.

Mollie worked so hard to accomplish her dream of completing an event but it didn’t end quite so merrily as it had started. Because she placed 3rd, Mollie had qualified for the Area IX Eventing Championships at the Colorado Horse Park in September. Unfortunately Misprint’s owner (because Mollie leased her) did not allow her to take her to she show. Mollie has come and cheered at everyone of my eventing shows, but I have barely had the chance to do the same for her.I felt so bad for her, and she was devastated. Working so hard to have your dreams crushed. I remember sitting with my sister watching the Elementary show jumping and victory gallop while she cried. I knew she deserved to be here, I felt so bad.

Mollie’s first summer has been full of ups and downs, but more downs than she deserved. I’d say she definitely deserves to be recognized the Hardest Working Rider Award.