Derby Competitor And Rider Who Overcame Heart Issues Pair Up In Quest For Championship

by | 08.23.2019 | 6:28am

Rider Maddy Cracknell had two open-heart surgeries before she was 10 years old; now 15, she most likely will have another open-heart surgery this year to correct ongoing issues with her heart.

But heart problems aren't at the forefront of Maddy's mind this summer: Competing in the Beginner Novice division at the American Eventing Championships is. Maddy will ride her off-track Thoroughbred Commanding Curve during the event, which is held at the Kentucky Horse Park August 27 through September 1.

“Curve” ran second in the 2014 Kentucky Derby to California Chrome, though Maddy says when she got the gelding, he was so quiet and slow it was hard to imagine him as a successful racehorse.

Maddy has been riding most of her life, originally getting on a horse at her mother's encouragement. She made the move from hunter/jumpers and pony racing to eventing, and found Curve as a 6-year-old. She taught the bay to jump with the help of trainer Lillian Heard.

Lillian won't be with Maddy as she competes next week as Lillian is preparing for her own competition schedule, but Maddy isn't anxious—she's looking forward to riding at one of the most iconic equestrian venues in the nation. And there's more than a title on the line: If she wins her division, her mom will buy her a tattoo.

Read more at Heels Down Magazine.

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