Super Amateur Madison Holly H ello from Idaho! I’m Madison Holly and will be graduating from college next spring. I’ve been involved with the American Miniature Horse Association almost my entire life, present- ing my first Mini at the age of three…there I was, a precocious preschooler in the ring for my very first showmanship class! As I’ve grown up, my relationship with horses evolved: when I was a youngster, the Minis in my backyard were part-time baby- sitters and full-time teachers. And as I became a busier teen, the horses (and barn) always provided a comfortable place to relax and just be “me.” After ag- ing out of the youth division of AMHA, I set my sights on win- ning the title of Super Amateur. This award spotlights my favorite type of Miniature, the true “all- around” horse; pretty enough to stand up in a halter class while also being versatile and ath- letic enough to be successful in multiple performance events. To accomplish this goal at the 2018 World Show was quite an honor and I’m grateful for all the op- portunities I’ve been given while working towards this title. Abrias Daring Return is a “once in a lifetime” horse, and I truly know how lucky I am to own this beautiful and talented mare. When I saw Dare for the first time, I immediately liked her 74 Miniature Horse World WINTER 2018 “look” and in the fall of 2016, began messaging her owner, Stacy Sachen of Anivia Equine. Dare wasn’t offered for sale, but Stacy ultimately decided to sell her to me (actually, I think she just wanted me to stop messaging her)! I cannot thank Stacy enough for breeding this mare and letting me make the purchase. It was hard to wait for the cold Idaho winter to pass so Dare could be clipped, and when I saw what was under that shaggy coat, once again I was counting my lucky stars! I’m proud to say that I’ve been responsible for all of Dare’s training since the day I brought her home. When I began working with Dare in the spring it was apparent she was going to be a very willing partner. She is a “chill” mare, very easy to be around, eager to learn new things, and loves to show! It took a little time to get horse and handler on the same “team,” but there has never been a day that I don’t enjoy working with her. In Ft. Worth (our third show together) Dare won 7 World titles including Re- serve Grand Amateur Country Pleasure Driving and Reserve Super Amateur horse. I was ec- static with the results and knew 2017 would be hard to top. Being a very goal-oriented person, I like to put my ambitions and practice schedules in writing to help me stay focused and prepared. I play basketball for The College of Idaho and some aspects of the sport, both physical and mental, spill over into the training methods I use with my horses. For example, keeping my horses fit through balanced nutrition and conditioning programs sets them up to be more successful at shows, because I know they will have enough stamina to drive a cart in a huge class or keep a beautiful hunter frame throughout an entire course. I love spending time with my horses so much and the hours, months and years of training are (mostly) always enjoyable. Some of my other performance Minis are more challenging, sensitive and quirky to work with then the phenom mare, Dare. They seem to continually need more direction and take longer to train and teach new skills. Lucky for me, patience and perseverance are traits that are just a natural part of my personality. When I face obstacles in training, I take a step back to figure out what I could be missing. For instance, by taking the time to break down each element of an in-hand maneuver into smaller steps, I’m eventually rewarded with a horse that’s self-assured and eager to please. I keep practicing all the disciplines but do so without burning out my horses. I also Photos courtesy of Casey McBride Photography- Garret Harrington- Melissa Powell trust my intuition when it comes to how much I can push each Mini in their training. I treat practice like it’s “the real deal” and never…ever…give up! I love to compete, and while I may feel some nervousness in the warm-up ring, all those nerves disappear once I enter the in gate. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a lasting bond with horses, but when my Minis are relaxed and focused enough to trust my guidance and cues, it’s almost like I can see their confidence grow. As the partnerships continue to deepen, good things happen naturally, both in training sessions and the show ring…just as it did with Dare. This mare takes to every crazy idea I throw at her, and this past year, we added hunter to Dare’s class list. At the 2018 World Show, she garnered titles in Roadster, Country, Versatility, Halter, and placed Top 5 in Hunter. These combined wins gave us the momentum to head straight into center ring to receive the award for Super Amateur. Dare was also the World Grand Amateur Roadster horse and Reserve World Grand Amateur Country Pleasure Driving horse. I was so excited with these results, and wish I could have ten “Dares” in the barn because the mare is such Continued on page 72.