Sep 20, 2018

Never too busy to horse around

0213_equestrian_thumb_web.jpgBeing a member of an athletic collegiate team and being a full time student at a university might seem like you have time for nothing else, but junior Morgan McDonald shows that with dedication and desire the sky is the limit.

Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, McDonald always knew she wanted to go to California because it was close to home.

When choosing a university one thing McDonald considered was the ranking of the equestrian team.

After taking time to think about which college to attend McDonald narrowed her choices to two schools, California State University, Fresno and Texas A & M University.

In the end McDonald chose Fresno State because of the opportunities that were offered to her and because of the equestrian team’s ranking.

“It awesome to see Morgan go to school in California because in Canada we don’t have NCAA scholarships and she was still able to compete in her sport,” Willie McDonald, mother of Morgan McDonald said.

Morgan McDonald, 21, is a member of the Fresno State equestrian team and enrolled in 18 units majoring in political science with an emphasis in pre-law. McDonald is enrolled in biology, business, health science, political science and philosophy courses.

A typical day for McDonald includes waking up at 6 a.m. and going to a weights class, practicing, going to school, practicing again on her own, going to school again and then practicing with her trainer in Madera.

McDonald’s work ethic has not gone unnoticed by teammates.

“She is one of the hardest working members on the team. She does everything above and beyond and she doesn’t complain,” teammate Tasha Lodwig said. “When she does it, she doesn’t slack off.”

Willie McDonald described her daughter as being one of those kids who works incredibly hard and as a perfectionist. “She attacks everything in an organized way,” Willie McDonald said.

One of the most difficult challenges McDonald faces is when they practice at other schools because you never know how a horse will ride until you get there.

“You have to get used to changing all of the time,” McDonald said.

McDonald also faces learning to ride horses that are not hers. “You have to get on a horse and do a course and in a competition right away,” McDonald said. “It is total home field advantage because the horses may act different and we have no idea.”

Competition is something McDonald has become all too familiar with. “She competes with a Canadian University International team winning a silver in Berlin two years ago and taking seventh place in the World Championship in France,” Willie McDonald said.

Aside from winning competitions Morgan McDonald has learned what it takes to succeed.

“The school system in Canada standards are high in academics and Morgan takes a lot of courses but she has always had a background of working hard and standards that were very high in Canada,” Willie McDonald said.

Riding and training horses has been Morgan’s point of interest since she was young. “We have a training facility at home,” Willie McDonald.

Although Morgan has four more horses at home she has chosen to ride Parker, her Hanoverian horse because she is comfortable with his riding style.

One of McDonald’s reasons for riding is that everyday is different. “There is always some new thing that you have to work with,” McDonald said.

McDonald rides both styles, English and Western, and hopes to win nationals at the Varsity Equestrian Championship.

“Everybody has been working very hard and I want the whole season to show that,” McDonald said. “I really hope it shows off how much hard work we’ve been doing this year.”

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