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Hi, zebras! My name is Madison Brown and I am 17 years old and currently showing in the ranch and reining events as well as the western pleasure all around! In the show pen, you would think I was just your ordinary competitor, but really, I’m not.
I have never had a time when horses were not apart of my life. At the age of 2 I was competing in the lead line classes at local horse shows. The older I got, the more competitive I became. I was also in competitive gymnastics, so I never got a break! Those two things kept me one busy girl! I enjoyed attending school and hanging out with all my friends.
*Fast forward to when I was 12 years old* I was in the sixth grade, a straight A student, and still had my love for horses, as well as gymnastics. Every school day was pretty much the same everyday. Wake up early, go to school, finish my assignments, go ride my horse “Warrior” and go to the gym, then finally home. That was always the routine until one day at school. I was sitting in class, and I didn’t feel good at all. I told one of my friends that I didn’t feel good, but I didn’t want to have to go to the nurse. Being a good friend, he told the teacher, and the teacher asked if I needed to go to the nurse. I didn’t go to the nurse because I never want a lot of attention. Right after that, we were in the hallway in a line, and my life forever changed. I fell straight back and had a seizure. Afterwards, we were in the E.R. And they ran a few test, but everything came back ok. I kept having seizures, so the neurologist ran a lot of test. I was so scared during this time. I gave up gymnastics, but Warrior kept me going, and kept me fighting. He was the sunshine during this storm. Thankfully I had a great support system at school and everyone made me feel better. After some test, we found out I have Epilepsy. At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant. My seizures were getting worse and worse. I was falling down stairs having seizures, hitting my head really hard on concrete, etc. In eighth grade, I had to be home bound because my seizures were so bad. I was having multiple seizures everyday. But, I had to keep being positive, so going homebound wasn’t that bad because I got to spend more time with Warrior! At shows, we always have to be super careful. Flashes from cameras will cause seizures, so there can’t be any flashes, and lots of other things trigger my seizures. I could do all my school work on the way to the horse show! How cool is that?! Warrior and I were doing really good at horse shows, and it always made me proud when my trainer said she was proud of us. The following year, I became homeschooled and it was pretty much the same.
Being homeschooled meant I could spend more time at the barn with ALL the horses, and I could go to more shows! In 2018 Warrior and I went to the Color Breed Congress show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This show was the biggest show I have ever been to, and the way this show went, my trainer had to warm Warrior up for me while I was in a corner with my mom facing away from the arena. I would get on at the gate and go perform. We ended up winning ranch high point! I was so happy! All the work really payed off!
In 2019 I had to get a VNS to help with my seizures. It was just a few weeks from when we were supposed to leave for the Pinto World Championship show. I knew Warrior and I could do it though. I had the surgery and could not ride for over 2 weeks. My trainer would ride Warrior to get him ready. I had faith we could do it. When we got to the show, it was the same as the Congress show. I could not warm up. Well, Warrior and I won the Ranch Riding!
*Side note* I have a Service Dog named Zeke. He is a labradoodle and the best helper there is! I got him when he was just 9 weeks old and we started training for all the big task he would eventually do! When I got him, I was homebound, so it all worked out perfectly! Zeke now knows many task that help me everyday and he saves my life! He has given me so much independence. He will alert me if I’m about to have a seizure so I can get on the ground and he will get a pillow or blanket to keep my head from hitting the hard ground, he can alert 911 with my life alert if I’m ever alone and have a seizure or if someone I’m with needs extra help, he also alerts me to my heart rate. There’s so many things Zeke does for me I can’t even type it all! Zeke has definitely been a HUGE blessing in my life! His Instagram is @zeke_the_service_dog if you would like to follow our journey!
This is a reminder that you CAN achieve your goals even if you have a disability! You can put the ability is disability. Never give up your dreams! I am still battling Epilepsy, and heart conditions, but I am also still doing what I love. If you want to follow my journey more, you can follow me on Instagram @bareback_and_bridleless_
Thanks for reading!