HARROD — Five years ago, Madison Jacobs was just hoping to eventually get to the horse arena at the state fair. Now, that is old news as the Allen East High School freshman has her sights set on the Youth World Show in Oklahoma.
“It is my goal to qualify next year,” she said. “If I would do it, it would be such an honor.”
Madison began showing horses at age 5, but took her first ride at age 3. She got her own pony when she turned 5 and rode it everywhere.
After winning Reserved Champion her first year at the state fair, Madison began competing in Quarter Horse shows three years ago.
Madison is coming off a big showing at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, where she was a finalist in her showmanship class. She landed in the top 25 among 160 competitors from around the world.
“It is like you want to place, but to be a finalist, people dream of that. To do it, it is an honor,” she said.
This is Madison’s first year competing in the 14 to 18 age group, meaning she was among the youngest. She also qualified for the National Youth Association Team Tournament by finishing the top of the showmanship group in the Ohio Michigan Indiana Quarter Horse Association.
She previously qualified for the Novice Youth World Championship Shoe in Tennessee, but decided not to go so she wouldn’t miss school.
Madison spends most of her weekends competing, leaving little time for much else. When not competing, she is the one taking care of her horse, JD. That is not always the case for those she competes against.
“A lot of people have trainers to work with their horses,” she said. “I have some help, but mostly I take care of mine and do everything with him. So it means more to me.”
Madison, who is a member of the Equine Country Club 4-H group, still competes at local and state fairs. She’s learned a lot through 4-H and competing, she said, but quickly realized she wanted to do more.
“When I was doing so good in 4-H, I wanted to try bigger and see if I could hold my own out there,” she said.
The ribbons and trophies are piling up for Madison. They join those won by elder sister, Courtney.
“I don’t even know,” she said when asked how many. “There are boxes and boxes in the attic.”
While she was able to make a little money showing through 4-H, now most of her successes comes through points awarded in quarter horse competitions. She doesn’t mind, even though competing can be expensive. She thanks her mom for all the time and money.
“I could not have done anything without my mom,” she said. “She pays for everything and takes me everywhere. She is up at 5 a.m. to help me get my horse ready when we are at shows.”
Madison also spends a share of time with bulls owned by her mother’s boyfriend. She helps him at rodeos, but isn’t interested in riding.
“It seems a little too dangerous for me,” said Madison, who wants to work with horses or other animals after high school. She hasn’t narrowed down yet what she’ll major in when she heads to college.
Madison has a 4.0 GPA and is on the school volleyball team. She also plays club volleyball, picking up the sport in the sixth grade after watching her sister play.
“I always watched her and just enjoyed it,” she said. “So I tried it in the sixth grader and loved it ever since.”