Horsin’ around

Freshman rides horse for rodeo competitions


Photo contributed

Freshman Maddi Brown rides her horse, Dixie.

Ramona Wright, Staff Writer

Freshman Maddie Brown hears her name called from the announcer. She gets on her horse, Dixie, enters the arena and starts her first lap. The world goes fuzzy as all eyes are on her. The only thing she hears is her racing heart. Since third grade, Brown has been riding horses and in middle school started rodeoing.

Currently, Brown is training in the rodeo at JML Arena in Franklin with her horse, Dixie. Brown trains in many different ways and learns many skills, including barrel racing, pole bending, roping, archery and flag and other on-horse activities. However, according to Brown, what got her into the sport is her free spirit.

“I have never been a tennis skirts and Barbie girl. I was the one who wanted to shoot a gun and rodeo,” Brown said. “I wanted to do something where you get in the dirt, something really dangerous.’’ 

Learning to do rodeo was not easy, or safe, at first. It can take years to get these types of rodeo skills down. Brown, however, has benefitted from this long experience.

“So there are certain things like shooting a bow on a horse that are difficult and dangerous and probably not smart, but what I have learned is even if you don’t know what you are doing, know where you want to go,” Brown said.

Horse riding can be competitive, and for Brown, winning is one of the most rewarding parts of it. She has recently placed in four events at the Johnson County fair and hopes to win a trophy saddle in the future.

When you aren’t supposed to win, or someone has a nicer horse and you still win, you know your work paid off. And facing fears, it’s a hard task and doing it is incredible,’’ Brown said. “And your horse wants to win as much as you do, when you get out the gate you both put your head down and go. It’s an act of trust.”

Although winning is a massive goal for Brown, ultimately, her experience rodeoing, as well as her bond with Dixie, has taught her important lessons about life. 

“One big moment was our first competition. It was about a month since I got her and we both didn’t know each other, and I could’ve pulled out of the race, but we did it anyway,” Brown said. “There’s always an end goal, a buckle, trophy saddle, but not only physical things; there’s a bond with your horse that keeps you striving. I learned to depend on myself and for the future to not sit back, to get out in the world and make a difference. The whole rodeo lifestyle is all about that: not sitting back, to not fear the unknown and go full force pedal to the metal.