Madeline grew up in Colorado where her mother, Laura Backus, runs Pendragon Stud Equestrian Center, an Eventing/Dressage training facility. She began riding at a very early age, her first real lesson at 18 months old. From there she began competing at recognized Events at 7, and also working her way up the Pony Club ratings.
After her first few years of eventing on the wonderful P.S. Mystical Magic, Madeline trained her first event pony with the help of her mom. P.S. American girl went on to win reserve champion at the 2008 training level American Eventing Championships among many other awards.
As Madeline began to outgrow P.S. American Girl, she started riding P.S. Arianna (Ari), as well as training and competing other young horses. Ari had been in training at Pendragon Stud since she was a yearling, and Laura let Madeline take the ride when Ari was 5 years old. From there, Madeline and Ari grew together and worked their way up the levels. In 2011, Ari injured herself and recovered for 2 years. During that time, Madeline competed homebreds to include P.S. King of Hearts. She also earned her USDF Bronze medal on P.S. Sir Galahad, an OTTB produced by Laura. Madeline has had the ride on Ari since 2006, and the two continue to learn together and strive for their goals. They have grown together from Beginner Novice to the CCI 4* level. Together, they were chosen to be on the Eventing 25 training list for 2016 and 2017. In 2017, they completed their first CCI4* at Rolex Kentucky 3-day Event, finishing in the top 20. Madeline was the highest placed young rider, receiving the J.D. Reeves trophy, and was also awarded the best presented horse at the 3rd horse inspection on Sunday morning. In 2018, Madeline received the Wilton Fair Grant and the Rebecca Broussard national developing rider grant. These generous contributions to the sport of eventing allowed Madeline to take two horse and compete and train in England for 6 months. She contested her first Badminton, as well as learned what is is like to be on a successful high performance yard. Madeline then retired her long time partner, P.S. Arianna, and brought her home to Colorado while she plans to go back to the UK for another year. Madeline graduated high school in 2014 with honors, and passed her A Pony Club rating in 2016. Madeline spent April 2015-2017 as a working student for Jessica and Missy Ransehousen at Blue Hill Farm in Pennsylvania. Currently she is back home in Colorado making plans to spend the next year back in the UK based with Austin O'Connor at Attington Stud.
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