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The sky is the limit for Madelyn

18 July 2022  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

The sky is the limit for Madelyn Baker Haste, who has had a passion for horses from a young age and is going from strength to strength in the world of show jumping. Madelyn, in Year 10, has very recently moved up from competing unaffiliated to affiliated British show jumping, competing both locally and further afield with great progress in a very short period of time, bringing home many rosettes.

Madelyn started lessons with Elkie Jimenez-Peters, an international show jumping trainer, who is now bringing Madelyn and Sparky to a whole new level. With continued support from her mum and sponsor Christine Swift, coupled with plenty of hard work, they are now jumping courses of 1.10m to 1.20m, getting placed in the top four in class. Trainer Elkie Jimenez-Peters says: “Madelyn is one of the most hardworking and dedicated young ladies that I have the pleasure of training. She doesn’t just rely on her natural talent for the sport; she puts in hours and hours of practise. She is now reaping the rewards of her commitment and getting fabulous results at her competitions. Madelyn is a very capable, determined and focused rider. I look forward to seeing her full potential”.

Madelyn started riding at the age of three, riding ponies and entering local competitions, such as Reeth Show, where she won the Alderson Silver Cup. Madelyn moved on to help and loan a Welsh Section B pony, Millie. Millie was experienced in competing and had great manners. Millie’s owner Lorraine Clissold recommended Katie Magee (a local international event rider) for lessons, as Madelyn and her mum wanted to develop things further. This led to help and loan a horse on Katie’s yard called Zara, owned by Karen Hawley, who was keen for Madelyn to compete Zara. Zara was a 16.3h Irish Sport horse who had both evented and hunted. This turned out to be a great stepping stone as Millie was to retire and Madelyn was also sadly outgrowing her. The passion for cross country grew, but Madelyn’s interest for show jumping was there too as Zara had great scope in both. During this period, Madelyn received a sponsorship offer from Christine Swift, owner of York House Antiques, in Richmond. The sponsorship opened up further opportunities for Madelyn.
Zara was moved to The Hollies, in Richmond but to later discover, the sad news she had developed arthritis and could not compete, only to be ridden occasionally. This was an upsetting time and yet very disappointing as the plans made were looking promising, but could now not happen.

Madelyn has developed a close relationship with Becky and Beth Slinger and with yard manager and owners Michelle and Mark Firby. Madelyn started to work on the yard exercising the yard’s hunters, the HF Hunter Hirelings horses. This gave Madelyn further experience, knowledge and insight to the equine world. Madelyn has also taken the hunters hunting to give the horses more experience and this gave Madelyn a great opportunity to ride horses on a more advanced level.

In June 2020, at The Hollies while Madelyn was riding Zara, Madelyn’s mum who is very supportive in Madelyn’s passion for horses, saw a horse that caught her eye, in The Hollie’s arena. He was like the shining armour, moved beautifully and had something special about him for sure. It was love at first sight says Madelyn’s mum Ulrika!

This was how Madelyn ended up having her own horse, Sparky (Shooting Star) a 10 year old 16.2h grey Irish Draft x Thoroughbred, one of HF Hirelings hunters. He was something she had wished for, for a very long time. Her dream finally came true. Like her eldest brother Nicholas says: “Good things come to those who wait.” Madelyn and Sparky have both learned a lot and grown very strong together. There have been ups and downs and it has certainly taken time and patience to build what they have together today. They tried eventing and hunter trials, but to discover it was not for either of them. This led to Madelyn reconsidering her path in competing and she took more of a liking to show jumping and started off competing in unaffiliated competitions locally and further afield, jumping 70cm, 80cm and 90cm classes, with Sparky being placed in the top five in class.

In September 2021, Madelyn welcomed (with a helping hand from her eldest brother Nicholas) a new addition to the family, 6 years old Opal, (Opaline VD Heirweg), a 16.3h Belgium Warmblood, bought through The Hollies. This was an opportunity too good to miss! The decision was quickly made to invest in her as she is a grand prix winner off spring. Opal’s father Cornet Obelensky is said to be “the most successful jumping stallion of modern times”. Opal has competed British Show jumping up to 1.30m and has brought home some great winnings. It is looking very promising for the three of them competing going forward. Ulrika, Madelyn’s mum, says: “Madelyn is very devoted and is caring for her two horses seven days a week, works at The Hollies, as well as preparing for her GCSEs next year. Her determination “to reach the stars” amazes me and is admirable and shows what a devoted and hardworking young lady she is. I will do what I can to make her wishes come true.”

Christine Swift, Madelyn’s sponsor, added: “I was following Ulrika’s posts on Facebook, a few years back now, just photos and videos really, and likened myself to Madelyn – an 11 year old passionate about horses, with obvious second sense but with such a command. At the same age, in 1951, I was promised a horse by my Grandfather if I passed my 11+. Of course, I didn’t pass. I went to a private school, Whitcliffe Grange a beautiful old gentleman’s residence, tragically demolished to make way for the houses which now form Whitcliffe Place and Coronation Road. The 11+ in those days was a totally different way of learning. Sort of Quiz game standard. But I did ride the polo ponies in Malta when the then Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth were there and Prince Philip was often in attendance and spoke to me whilst riding the racecourse I hadn’t a clue who he was. I also lay claim to the cup for dressage in 1951 whilst there in this period with a photo in the Tatler.

“Madelyn was riding Zara, who was on loan, but it was such a help to the owner for Madelyn to ride her, kept her fit and Madelyn was obviously totally committed to Zara. When circumstances with Zara’s health meant Madelyn was unable to ride I sort of stepped in with Sparky. Madelyn just needed that input. Sparky was far too commanding a horse for a 12/13 year old, but Madelyn has totally made him her own.

“From a little girl in wellies, totally dominated for a time by three lovely brothers, then but not now, has turned out to be dare I say it – another Ulrika. I would love to be here when Madelyn hits the Olympics.

You can follow Madelyn’s progress and her journey on Instagram

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