Want to know more about the characters from Show Strides? Here’s an “interview” with MacKenzie “Mac” Bennett and The Plaid Horse Magazine. This interview contains no major spoilers from Book One of Show Strides: School Horses and Show Ponies.

The Plaid Horse: Hi Mac! We’re so excited to talk to you today. We know you and Joey have been having a lot of fun at horse shows and that you just moved to a new barn. What’s it like being at Quince Oaks?

Mac Bennett: Thanks, I’m excited to talk to you too! I love Quince Oaks, it’s been a great fit from the start. Joey is very happy there and I’ve met such nice people already. Including my new trainer Ryan. He’s tough but in a good way, you know? He expects you to ride your best all the time but he’s also kind and supportive.

TPH: That’s a great combination of qualities. How long have you been riding with him?

MB: Only like a couple of months. We’re working on moving up to the regulars. I don’t think I ever have a lesson where I don’t drop my stirrups, at least for a lap or two! I told you he’s tough. But I think the no stirrup work pays off.

TPH: I heard someone say once that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard! Are you looking forward to moving up to the regulars?

MB:  Yes, very much. It’s not the easiest transition so far, but when I first started doing the children’s ponies I was falling off a LOT and by the end my old pony and I were champion at a few shows! Ryan says it’s always a process when you move up a division. I’m just excited and happy to have Joey. He is forgiving and so good to me.

TPH: He sounds wonderful. How long have you had him?

MB:  About a year. I was still doing the children’s at my old barn and starting to move up to the regulars but then we found Ryan and now we’re fully doing the regular ponies.

TPH: Terrific. You have a show coming up, right?

MB:  Yes and I am determined not to chip every jump! Or at least, not too many. Like I said, Joey forgives a lot of my mistakes!

TPH: A pony who lets us learn is priceless. Do you have any friends you go to shows with?

MB: There’s a junior at our barn, Isabelle, who shows her horse at the same shows I do, so it’s been fun to hang out with her. And I’m really good friends with a girl Tally who rides in the school program and she also started catch-riding a sales pony for Ryan so she will do him in the children’s at our next show.

TPH: That’s great, horse show life is better with friends. I bet it will mean a lot to Tally to have your support there.

MB:  She’s such a good rider. I don’t think she even knows how good she is!

TPH: I love that you said that–I think the horse world is better and more fun if we’re lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down.

MB: I think the horse world would be better off without the mean girls!

TPH: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve found with a new program and moving up a division?

MB: The biggest challenge so far for me personally has been getting up to ring pace and then trusting my rhythm. Ryan is always telling me to stop thinking about distances and having an eye and just riding the rhythm. It’s a work in progress!

TPH: Fabulous. I’m glad you have such a good team. We can’t wait to hear how the show goes!

MB: Thank you so much!

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