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Panther Spotlight

 

7th Grader is an Award-Winning Equestrian

Maggie Keziah has never known a day without horses.  In her family’s barn, she found her place in the saddle not long after learning to walk. When she was two, she showed for the first time in lead line classes and, by the age of six, she was competing against other riders. Now, at the age of twelve, she is an accomplished rider with many wins behind her.

“I love the adrenaline rush of competing,” she explains. “Riding is kinda my thing, and it’s the most exciting part of my life. It’s so fun to see all my hard work pay off, especially when I’ve been working on something for a while. I’ve shown in academy which is more laid back since I first started competing, but this year I’m going into performance which is more competitive.”

Maggie competes in a discipline called saddleseat on her horse King, an American Saddlebred with the show name of Lover’s King of Diamonds. King has his own story. He is a rescue that came to the family barn in 2017 from a horse rescue group. “It’s really cool to tell people that he’s a rescue when we go to compete because they wouldn’t think he is considering how well he does,” she says proudly of her horse.

While most of her competitions are in North and South Carolina, she has traveled to bigger competitions in other states. “My coolest win was when there were 10+ people in my class and we won first place and the high point award for that year with all the shows combined,” she says. “One of my best accomplishments was when we went to a show in South Carolina where we won both of our classes or when I went to West Virginia and won second in my age division.”

Maggie says that it takes determination and perseverance when riding, training, and competing. Since she competes against other riders with similar skills, she has to keep pushing herself.

“I’ve learned that you can’t just give up on something if it’s hard or challenging, but instead you have to work through it,” she says. “When we’re working with the horses they’re putting in the same amount of effort we are, so we have to work as a team.”

Aside from the thrill of competition, Maggie has gained a lot of friendships from riding. She encourages others who are interested in showing horses to be willing to try new experiences. “The whole aspect of competing is great,” she explains. “You can show off what you learned while having a ton of fun at shows.”

The lessons Maggie has learned on horseback will serve her well in her future goals. She hopes to be a pharmacist working in the saddlebred industry, and she has her sights on a show barn where she can buy, raise, and train horses. “A world championship is hopefully in my future,” she exclaims. There is no doubt this Piedmont student is on her way.

 

maggie


Do you or a student you know have a talent, hobby, or skill outside of school that can be featured in our Panther Spotlight? If so, contact lana.funderburk@ucps.k12.nc.us. We look forward to sharing the stories of our amazing students!