By Brenna MacLeod

Hardest Working Rider Contest Entry #8

When I think of the hardest working rider I know there’s one person whose name comes up in flashing lights. I met Shayla Clark via Twitter a few years ago, and I have never met anymore more dedicated to making their dreams come true. Shayla is a senior in high school, plays in her school’s band, and is an active member of the eventing community in Kansas. Shayla often sends me snapchats of her riding her horse around midnight, and every time I open them I think “man, this is one dedicated rider.” I have never met anyone who has the work ethic and drive like Shayla.

This past April Shayla set her sights on training and competing down in Florida during the 2017 winter season. Anyone who lives in Florida during the winter months knows that this is not a cheap trip. Since she realized that she wanted to travel south, Shayla has picked up multiple jobs—six to be exact. During the week days she clean stalls and keeps one barn tidy. If she has a band competition, Shayla wakes up at three in the morning to be able to get the stalls done and still be able to go to school. On the weekends she works from seven in the morning to four in the evening at another barn. Three days a week she rehabs three horses for thirty minutes. On top of all of this, she rides catch rides for friends to make some extra cash. Her schedule is jam packed, but she still travels nearly four hours round trip to lesson with her trainer Julie on Thursday’s.

With all of these jobs you would think that she didn’t have time to ride her own horse, but you would be wrong. Shayla’s number one priority is Solo, a bay, shire mare, and makes time to ride her at least five times a week. She is genuinely the nicest person I have ever met, and the most humble. If Shayla isn’t the hardest working rider I’m not really sure who is.