By Britney Grover
Portraits by Shawna Simmons
Horses have always been a part of Maddie Tosh’s life. Her dad — and trainer — is acclaimed hunter rider and trainer Hunt Tosh. Now 14, Maddie has grown up learning the ins and outs of riding, showing and horsemanship. When she first began showing, Maddie admits she was terrified and would cry all the way around the course. Her passion for horses and her desire to show helped her persevere, and now her fears are different. “The scariest thing about riding and showing for me is not riding well and letting my horses down,” she said. But Maddie certainly isn’t letting anyone down: She’s already getting remarkable results in the show ring, including Pony Finals championships two years in a row. While she pursues her goals of being successful in the junior hunters and equitation, Maddie enjoys life with her family, her animals and her favorite TV show — “Friends.”
What are some of your earliest memories of horses?
All of my earliest memories have to do with horses! I can remember sitting in the stands at Devon, indoors and all of the big shows watching my dad. I remember doing the lead line on my first pony, Farnley Chickadee, and riding her around bareback; I think I was around 2 years old.
What are the best parts of having your dad as your trainer? What’s the hardest part?
It’s not always easy riding with my dad, but I wouldn’t want it any other way! The best part is that I’m always around the horses: I’m involved in their care and I’m helping at the barn. He’s always teaching me new things, so I’m constantly learning about the sport. No one will try harder for me than he will: He wants me to be successful, so he’s always pushing me to work harder. The hardest part is not putting too much pressure on myself and being able to separate dad from trainer — which is not always easy.
Do you have any favorite funny memories of horses?
I was learning to canter on my second pony and every time I finally got her to canter, she would put her head down and I would fly off! So I didn’t want to canter: I would just trot all of the jumps. Most of my other funny memories are with my friends. We spend a lot of time with the Geitner family: When we’re together we laugh a lot!
What have been your favorite show experiences so far?
My favorite show experiences so far have been Pony Finals 2018 and 2019. Betsee Parker’s Bit of Love was Champion two years in a row and overall Grand. Betsee’s Baroness of Locheil was Medium Green Champion and overall Grand Green. That was my favorite so far because Pony Finals is so hard to win. All of the best ponies and riders are there.
What’s something horses have taught you?
Horses have taught me that it takes a lot of hard work to be really good at something. I think you get as much out of it as you put into it.
Tell us about your pets, Maggie, Whoopie Pie, Flip and Flop — how and when did you get them? What do you like to do with them?
I love to play with my other pets: Whoopie Pie is my miniature horse. My parents adopted him from the Peeps Foundation and gave him to me for Christmas in 2018. He has a ton of personality! I take him on walks, he climbs stairs and loves gummy bears. Flip and Flop are my two goats; I’ve had them for about three years. They are like dogs — they follow us around and just like to hang out with people. They lay in the barn all day. They like to sleep on the tack trunks and eat anything other than weeds, which drives my dad crazy! Maggie is my Corgi. We got her at Pony Finals two years ago. She loves to play and cuddle; she goes to all of the shows with us. She’s the best dog ever!
What are your riding goals for 2020?
My riding goals for 2020 are to just keep working hard and to keep learning. I have a few large ponies to show so I’m really excited about that and I haven’t really done much equitation so I’d like to work on that a little more this year. I was second on Bit Of Love in the USEF Pony Medal last year, which was really fun.
Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a professional like my dad.
Photos by Shawna Simmons, www.sasequinephotography.com