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Athlete of the Week

Young rider wins awards

December 16, 2009 - Seven-year-old Madison Mitchell took home seven awards from the Michigan Hunter-Jumper Association for her 2009 season.

"She competes against kids older than herself so it's neat she won," said mom, Jill.

Madison was excited and happy as she accepted her awards for Champion Short Stirrup Equitation Flat, Champion Short Stirrup Pony Hunter, Champion Novice Pony Hunter, Reserve Champion in Short Stirrup Equitation Over Fences and Reserve Champion Novice Ridden Pony Equitation.

"She surprised us this year by winning all her awards," said Jill. "We were surprised because of her age. Her trainer, Tara Golaszewski, put her in the novice level for riders 11 and under and bumped her up to another class. It's a lot of riding to do in one day for her age."

Madison practices riding a few days a week and takes very good care of her pony, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by putting his vitamins in separate bags and cleaning up after him. She began riding before she turned four after a visit to a doctor.

Her parents noticed she wasn't walking right and took her to see what was happening. As she was growing her hips weren't going to the angle they needed to be at for her to walk .

Her doctor suggested sports to help her thigh muscles pull her hips back, one was horsebacking and the other was ballet.

Madison tried ballet, but after a year she didn't want to do it again.

So she tried horseback riding and steadily went from going once a week to a few times a week. She showed for the first time last year with Lunar and won a few awards with him before he retired.

"It was a nice way for him to end his career," said Jill.

Madison is a second-grader at Cedar Crest Academy.

She keeps busy with her interests.

"She loves to sing and loves being in the choir at school," said Jill.

She also loves French, loves karate and enjoys taking violin lessons.

All of which sparked an interest in her and she asked her parents she could pursue them.

"She has a lot of interests which is good," said Jill. "She has had a lot of success for being so young."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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