Childhood dream of pony becomes grown-up dream of rodeo success

Published 06/26 2014 06:44PM

Updated 06/27 2014 03:50PM

A lot of kids ask for a pony when they’re young.

Hannah Forsythe got one, which she quickly outgrew, moving on to a horse. But not just any horse – she wanted a winner. And that’s just what she got.

Now, Hanna can’t imagine her life without her companion – a horse named Maddie.

As Maddie nuzzled Hannah’s neck, Hannah said, “She’s my family. She’s my heart and soul,” while softly stroking Maddie’s cheek..

Hanna and Maddie make quite a team. At the ripe old age of 14, Hanna and Maddie have already won countless rodeos, proving Hannah to be one of the best barrel racers around.

“I want to win nationals and bring home the national title,” Hanna said, adding, “I think we have a good shot this year.”

Thanks to their success so far, Hannah and Maddie have found themselves in Des Moines, Iowa, this week, competing against more than a thousand contestants from 42 states, 5 canadian provinces and Australia.  

Hannah likes their chances. “(Maddie’s) working good, and I’m riding good, and she’s really done good this year. She’s given me her everything,” Hannah said. 

Hanna and Maddie’s “everything” pays off. Literally. They don’t just compete for bragging  rights. “People think, ‘ oh it’s just for fun and games and you can’t really make a living or do anything off of it,’ but you really can,” Hanna said.  

“You can really make a lot,” she smiled.  “You can make millions It you’re really good at it.”

If you’re wondering how much the highest-paid rodeo rider earns, it tops off at more than $5 million -  and Hannah sees her future self riding right alongside those top earners.

Hanna dreams include, “The NFR,  the National Finals Rodeo. It’s everybody in the nation, it’s the best of the best,” she said.  “It’s where professional people end up.”

Hannah and Maddie are well on their way…because dreams really do come true, when a girl and a horse love their sport and each other enough to shoot for the stars..;Kamady Rudd

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