Over the past few years, I have gotten to know McKenna Miller and her current horse, Bo Jango (or "Jimbo" as he is known around the barn). I want to share the story of how she got Jimbo, because it has made a positive impact on my life and has inspired me to be a better person and rider with my own horse.
I met McKenna when we started working together cleaning stalls at a small farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. At the time she had a lovely off-the-track Thoroughbred mare that she was bringing along that had a very promising future. I watched them constantly improve and everyone at the barn got excited about their future together. One night the mare was in an extremely unfortunate pasture accident which left her with an injury that couldn't be healed. She had to make a very difficult decision to let the mare go. I was there at the barn that day and it was absolutely heartbreaking. Our entire barn family felt as though it was a personal loss and the horses knew that they had lost a dear friend.
For the next few weeks I wondered if she would be able to get back in the saddle and continue with another horse. I’m not sure if I would have had the strength to do so if I was in that position. But after a few weeks, she came back to the farm and started cleaning stalls again and said she wanted to start looking for another horse. I remember admiring her strength and determination to keep riding even though she was still grieving the loss of her mare. Though I knew she was still sad about her loss, she never complained about working hard around the farm. I knew that with that kind of determination there was nothing that was going to stop her from being the best rider she could possibly be.
A short time later is when she found Jimbo. She restarted Jimbo earlier this year and has already taken him around two successful Beginner Novice recognized horse trials and rides for the University of Kentucky Eventing Team. They are becoming a wonderful pair and I cannot wait to see where they are able to go in the future. I have gone schooling with them many times and she always has something positive to say about me and my horse which always makes me smile.
She has stayed positive through what has been a tough year and hasn’t once complained even though the loss of her mare was a tragic accident and extremely unfair. Her strength to persevere with a positive and caring for others attitude has influenced me to be a better person and rider in my own life. Every time I see her and Jimbo out at a show it helps remind me that eventing isn’t about winning ribbons or competing at a higher level than everyone else. Eventing is about supporting other riders when your ride didn’t go well, saying thank you to those that help you, and enjoying your horse regardless of what place you come in.
McKenna and Jimbo have set an amazing example of who I want to be as a rider and a person. This year has been particularly tough for everyone with the pandemic and I just wanted to highlight a positive story that has helped me keep going and riding even when my original plan for this year had been derailed. I can’t wait to see where McKenna and Jimbo go in the future and will always be one of their biggest fans!
The USEA is made up of over 12,000 members, each with their own special horses and experiences. The USEA's Now on Course series highlights the many unique stories of our membership. Do you and your horse have a tale to tell? Do you know someone who deserves recognition? Submit your story to Jessica Duffy at [email protected] to be featured.
Since the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Program was founded in 2014, it has grown in popularity and participation each year. The USEA is excited to have 23 intercollegiate team challenges on the calendar in 2021 in addition to the 2021 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships, which will be held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia on May 27-30.
In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.
The Linda Moore Trophy was introduced in 1979 and awarded to the leading Young Rider in the country. After a strong showing during the 2020 season, 16-year-old Benjamin Noonan of Ballwin, Missouri was named the 2020 RevitaVet Young Rider of the Year.
The USEA is sorry to announce that there will be no USEA Educational Symposium held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The USEA Educational Symposium is hosted annually each February as a week of learning for participants and auditors.