Nineteen-year-old Sarah MacKenzie from Roberts Creek captured first place at the prelim level at a three-day event Oct. 4 to 6 at Maple Ridge Equestrian Centre, on a horse owned by her stepmom Lynn Putland.
Putland rescued the mare, found the right sire and bred her. She delivered Merlin in a snow storm. Merlin goes by the show name Escap’e . Merlin was trained by Putland and schooled in the trails of Roberts Creek.
MacKenzie has had a dream of one day being Young Rider at Rolex Kentucky. In order to accomplish this and to be picked for the team, she needs to qualify at intermediate level, which is the next level above her. She moved up to prelim this August and placed third in Campbell Valley, second at Island 22 Chilliwack, second at NorthWest in Washington and now first at Maple Ridge. Her plans are to head to Galway Downs International three-day event Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 in California, where she will ride her first one-star event at prelim level.
If MacKenzie and Merlin are successful in California, in the spring she will move up to intermediate level and will need to ride four successful events to qualify to be considered being picked for the team.
MacKenzie is thankful for the wonderful opportunity. She has received lots of help over the years including from Coast riders Jeanine Ellingham and Jody Custance, both of whom rode on the Canadian Three-Day Event Team and were long- and short-listed for the Olympic Team.