Madison McBride is Trooper of the Year

     Madison McBride, of Fanwood, and stable manager Rachel Bechtold.
Madison McBride, of Fanwood, and stable manager Rachel Bechtold.

FANWOOD, NJ — Madison McBride, of Fanwood, won the Trooper of the Year Award at the Watchung Stables 83rd annual Spring Troop Horse Show, which took place May 27 to 29. Stable manager Rachel Bechtold honored McBride for her attendance and show points.

“Winning this award has been the biggest honor of my life,” said McBride in a recent interview with the LocalSource. “It was the last show of the season and it really caught me off guard that I won.”

McBride, 17, previously won the Horseman Over Fences Championship at Watchung Stables 79th annual Spring Troop Horse Show, and she was just 13 years old when she won the Hilton F. Williams Trophy. She rode horse Clifford to victory and competed against riders in the 13- to 17-year-old category.

“One of my biggest challenges has been that I’m limited to only riding at Watchung Stables and that I’m usually one of the youngest and most inexperienced riders to compete in these tournaments,” McBride told LocalSource.

McBride, who has been riding for eight years, plans to start teaching others at Watchung Stables and recently won a service award for the time she has spent caring for horses at the stable, where her favorite horse is Corey.

“This has been one of the best experiences in all my life,” McBride told LocalSource. “No one in my family rides, but one day a family member and I visited the stables and I fell in love with the horses.

“There’s a strong sense of family and community at Watchung. I’ve been very inspired by the people I met. For example, my instructor, Ashley Craig, and Rachel Bechtold have been such huge supporters of mine.”

McBride began the troop program at Watchung Stables at 13 years old in weekly lessons. She now visits the stables daily to take care of the horses, something she loves to do.

“I care for one of the Union County police officer’s horses,” said McBride. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”

It hasn’t all been easy for McBride as she is usually competing against more experienced and older riders.

“I’m in a bigger league now,” said McBride. “I’m up against a lot of older and more experienced riders. I compete against esteemed riders despite my limited experience. I remember winning the Horseman Championship and receiving a first-place ribbon despite the fact that I was the youngest in my class.”

McBride looks forward to starting at a community college, and hopes to become a veterinarian so she can work with animals. She plans to continue riding and competing while teaching others to ride and pursuing her passion for the sport and horses.