Introducing Madison McDougall

Date of Birth: December 28, 1993
Discipline: Hunter/Jumper
Hometown: Langley, BC

My name is Madison McDougall and I am an amateur rider applying for the 2012 Horse Canada Young Rider Scholarship.

I feel that I am deserving of this scholarship because of my athletic accomplishments, demonstration of sportsmanship, service to the community, and because of the financial hardship of attending university while trying to continue my passion of competing.

Throughout high school and the beginning of my University years I have taken part in community as well as global service. In my grade twelve year I took part in fundraising for cancer, the rotarty club, was an advocate for the Environment Club as well as Free the Children and graduated with Honors with Distinction. Apart from my school, I also held multiple fundraisers for the BC teams to travel to CET Nationals in 2009 and 2010. In 2011, I became aware of the charitable organization JustWorld International. JustWorld is associated with the equestrian sport and was founded on the belief of narrowing the gap between the privileged and the impoverished through education and fundraising. That year I became a Junior rider ambassador, donating a portion of money every year as well as holding an array of fundraising activities which helped raise over $11,000 for our local goal.

In 2012 I increased my commitment to spread JustWorld’s message by becoming the Western Canadian representative of the charity. Earlier in 2012 I also traveled to Guatemala where I was mentored by professional ambassadors such as Juan Andres Rodriquez and Angela Covert-Lawrence as I competed in an FEI recognized International jumping competition. Being the only Canadian in a field of competitors from over 74 different countries was a once in a lifetime honor. I also visited a JustWorld supported project, where I was able to aid in the learning and development of the children that I support. Since returning, I have partnered with Thunderbird Show Park in setting a goal for this year of raining $15,000. While competing full time in August of this year, I also ran two silent auctions, two horseless jumping events, a family class, sold JustWorld merchandise, and sold cupcakes by donation.

Although I have made an effort in the change I want to see in the world as a whole, I also want to help make change in my own city. In January of this year I got together with a group of friends to start my own initiative. The project is called Sunday Funday, and the idea behind it is to have groups or teams of people meet up for potluck dinners on every Sunday night to socialize. Along with bringing food for the dinner, each person brings a donation to the food bank to put in the Sunday Funday box, provided by us. At the end of the month we collect all the donations and give them to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The winning team wins a catered dinner, cooked by us. In this initiative I hold the role of Co-founder, Vice President Marketing as well as an executive representative for my year of students.

Over the last five years, some of my greatest accomplishments include: 5th and 2nd in the 2009 and 2010 CET Regional Finals, 3rd and 7th in two $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies, qualifying and competing at the Royal Winter Fair for two National Medal Finals and qualifying for the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals in Lexington Kentucky. I was also nominated for the Carol McGill Sportsmanship Award, and received a Recognition of Sportsmanship Award from the Horse Council of BC.

In 2009 and 2010 I competed in the 3’6-3’9 equitation divisions, Junior Hunters, and 1.20 jumpers with the same horse, “Ayer Canada”. In 2009 I barely qualified for the CET Regional Finals and was very inexperienced at that level of competition. After placing 5th in Regionals that year, I lent my horse to another rider who was in need of a mount. I traveled to the Royal to groom and support the team, and the next year it was my turn to have the honor of being one of the four competitors to represent British Columbia.

This year, a show manager approached me and asked me to speak in front of this year’s CET and Mini-CET Finalists; giving them any words of support. The most important piece of advice I had to pass on to them as a mentor was that although this is an individual sport, that they should view their fellow competitors as a team. When you go into the CET regional ride off, you cannot ride those different horses without the help of the five other competitors. Whether it is a Mini-CET gymnastics phase, or a trip to compete in the East, I told them that they should always maintain the mentality of a team. No matter what placing they take home, they will always find success when maintaining good sportsmanship.

After finishing competing in the equitation divisions, I planned to move up into the jumpers competing up to 1.35m with a goal of competing at FEI Young Riders. Unfortunately, I did not have the financial means to purchase a horse competing consistently at that level so I decided to buy a young prospect with the raw talent. I am now bringing along my mare, Dolce Vita, through the hunter divisions until she is ready to step into the jumper ring later in her career. This has provided me with the skills to handle set backs as an athlete and the ability to persevere through adversity.