Podcast Episode 15: Mackenzie Boundy - Overcoming Setbacks in Your Horse Riding
In this episode, we speak with Australian Young Rider, Mackenzie Boundy who knows all about resiliance and perseverance. Listen in as we talk about Mackenzie's dressage journey and how she's got to where she is today.
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Today, we're talking to the amazing Mackenzie, who is a, a wonderful, accomplished young rider. Who's accomplished many things in training her horses and getting to where she wants to go in her dressage journey, but also with a lot of challenges along the way. So I love talking to people that have challenges. I love talking to people that have accomplished things because the more you speak to people that have accomplished things, you realize no one has it easy. No one just gets all the results. There is an extreme amount of work and extreme amount of great stream amount of thinking and mindset that goes behind any sort of success. So I really enjoyed this conversation with the amazing Mackenzie and I trust and hope you enjoy it as well.
Wow. Wow. Thank you so much for joining me.
It's okay. I was really excited about the opportunity.
Oh, super. Super. So tell me about you. Tell me your story. I'd love to know more.
Um, so my name is Mackenzie boundy and I ride fortune cookie. Um, so I'm 21. Yeah, it was, um, I think it got changed actually when he was about three or four. Um, but it's definitely, yeah, it suits him. He's easier. Um, but yeah, so I'm 21 and I've just completed my bachelor of nursing. Um, I'm on the Queensland performance squad, uh, that sounds like a saddle fitter and I'm currently competing a small tour with my competition horse. And then I will say to a three year old who is about to start off again, get going.
Oh okay, I love it. And so what kind of breeds are those two horses?
Um, both warmbloods, uh, so fins by FIJI R. Um, and then Bee, my young one is by, um, questioning his, my quarterback.
Yep. Look at you. You're so good with your blood Lines. People always ask me I'm like if I was by a black one and this one's a black. Very cool. All right. So, um, how old are you?
- And you're at small tour. That's amazing. So. He's very special boy, but yeah. Well tell me how that happened and how, how long have you been riding?
So my horse, he actually passed away at this started 2018. Um, it was just a freak accident and so, but he was obviously, so I have quite a few medical issues, um, and riding kind of something that's always coming, you know, it keeps you going, it keeps you fit and kind of is always something to look forward to when you're unwell. So it was really hard, obviously losing him. Um, and it was going to take a very special horse to find, to kind of, you know, um, be level with him with Deano. So we found Fin in barrel in new South Wales. Um, and he, at the time he was a novice, like competing novice elementary. Um, so we got him, I think it was end of April if I remember correctly. Um, and so we went down and visited him and his previous owner was lovely and kind of understood the situation. And she wanted him to go somewhere where he was going to be like a one-on-one kind of horse, which is exactly what he is here, he's King of the castle. And he loves that. So then we, um, I was able to, cause I was on the young riders squad with Dino. So they let me kind of just continue on with Finn just cause it was kind of, you know, unusual circumstances, um, which was really great, kind of helped us stay motivated and on track. Um, and yeah, ever since then, we're kinda just been going up the ranks. So we had our first medium start. Um, when was it might've been like the end of 2018. Um, and then last year we had a really, really fun year. We ended up going to, um, the young rider nationals down in Sydney. Um, and then we went to the Australian dressage championships and Sydney later on that year. So last year we were competing in the, um, the medium and advanced at the nationals where he actually won all five tests, including the medium freestyle and was meeting the advanced sessions. Yeah. And then we kind of, it was my last year as a young rider. So I really wanted to kind of, I really want to do the CDI-Y and it was a big, big step for him except for me, cause I've never written at that level either. Um, but we managed to kind of get those qualifies in and, uh, we ended up competing in the CDI-Y at the chips and we got reserve champion to Mary Warren. So yeah, he's a very special boy. Um, he's the type of horse you can just leave for three weeks and then just jump on and he's like, yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah. He's very special, boy.
That's perfect. That's so cool. So, um, lots of I'm hearing champion, I'm hearing greatness, I'm hearing fabulousness and wonderfulness. Um, but I hear there's, there's also, you are an amazing personality is where I get really curious because you don't have it all easy. You don't have, um, the fair, you know, you're not a fairy tale with a Cinderella house. There's actually some things going on for you and some things that you really need to get through. So would you mind talking a little bit about that and more importantly, the mindset you sound so positive and like nothing freaking stops you and look at everything. And I think if we can try and download, that would be really good.
Well, I definitely have a very good support system, but so I've had, um, quite a few issues with my stomach and then also with my spine. So I have a titanium rod standing beside my spine from top to bottom, basically. And then my stomach issue kind of means that I have to have like eight to eight treatments a day to kind of, you know, stay functioning and stuff. Uh, which is fine. It's very normal for me, but, um, it did mean a lot of hospital trips. Um, while I was growing up then through uni and things like that, which made competing hard, always seemed to be that I needed to get a hospital when there was like a big competition on which I hated, but no, it was always riding was always something that kind of, you know, I think I had, I think it was 50 hospital trips, they figured out in two and a half, three years. So it was definitely annoying and inconvenient, but that's why I kept riding after school and things like that. Cause it was always something that, um, you know, to look forward to, but I don't know about yourself, but you know, when you have anything going on, like if you have a sprained ankle or whatever, you don't notice it when you ride. You know, you're so focused and everything else and it just it's, you kinda just don't notice. So that was always what riding was me. It was, um, kind of like a break from any of the pain that I was feeling or anything like that. Um, which was obviously, it's always hard to get back to. And even my doctor said that, you know, I, I can't stop riding because it's something that even people with chronic pain, obviously stuff where like a lot of mental health issues and things like that. And I have been able to like avoid that, but ridings always been an outlet. I can go to, which I think a lot of people who do have chronic pain, don't have, so, I've been very lucky in that aspect. Um, and also, you know, mum and dad and my instructors kind of keeping everything rolling well, uh, that these mini breaks and stuff. Um, but I did actually have quite a big procedure at end of 2019, I believe. And it thousand 18, sorry, my bad. Um, and so that actually alleviated a lot of issues I was having with my stomach. So sometimes like the treatment and stuff like that, but it just meant that I did not have to go to most of those often. So, um, that obviously it really helped, um, with, you know, last year being able to actually get to all these comps and actually have a consistent training regime and made the biggest difference. And I don't think they liked it. He quite liked having his time on it.
Yeah. Hang on.
Oh no. So it was definitely, I'm not an, it was kind of, but with uni and things like that, it was a lot harder because obviously going through high school, they're not as strict on deadlines and stuff. So it was a bit of a adjustment period for me while I went to uni and I ended up having to take six months off, um, like in the middle of my degree, just because it was just kind of all getting a little bit too much, everything was kind of piling up and I wasn't able to go to exams and stuff like that. So, um, but after that I kind of had the big operation and kind of tried to manage everything. So I managed to finish my degree. Um, which was really good. I definitely used, uh, I went to ACU in Brisbane, so they have like an elite athlete program, which definitely helped me. And I recommend it to anyone who rides and it's going to go into uni because it just makes everything so much more manageable if you have a comp on and things like that. So I definitely use that to my advantage, but yeah, it's, it's, you know, it's very normal to me though. Like, so it's, I kind of wouldn't know what I'd do if I wasn't, if I didn't have so any hospital trips, like I'd miss my nurses, but it's um, yeah, no, it's, it's fine. It's good.
I really love is, um, that the, the, the riding was the gift and the riding. It wasn't something that you can force yourself to do or make yourself do. It's like, and I totally agree with the, um, everything else disappears. Like I find that I was a mentally, you could be stressed about something or upset about something, but you get on the horse and nothing else, except you and the horse, when you get off all that shit still there, You got 45 minutes.
45 minutes. And I really love that was a big reason why I had to kind of, I had to find Fin because it was just, I can't really imagine to not riding, like, you know, most people who ride, but it was, um, without it, it was going to be a lot harder, so, finding the perfect pony really, really helped to kind of manage it all.
That's huge as well. Like you said, he's okay with some time off he's okay with, I mean, consistency. Whereas the last thing you need is I work with a lot of riders with fear and they're like, the thing that I love is now the thing that I'm scared of and then that causes so much more pain. So absolutely. I love it. And do you, were you inspired to become a nurse because of
Yes. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I think I just, I saw so much of like how, what a difference I can make while I was growing up. So I kind of always wanted to be that for someone else. You know, I had a lot of nurses who I was never scared to go to hospital or anything like that. So I really wanted to, you know, be that for another kid. So I've actually just gotten a, literally just been offered a job in the neonatal intensive care unit. Um, basically like my absolute dream job. Um, so I'm very excited for that, but
Tiny babies, isn't it?
Yeah. So I was actually, a nicu baby, I think it was, I didn't even know. I'd have to ask mom or dad. And so that's kind of where yeah. And it was, um, it's really, I think nice because there's obviously a lot of the babies have alot of issues and things like that, but they can grow up and still be successful in what they want to do and things like that. So it was a, yeah, it was really exciting.
I love your story. It's beautiful. And it's almost like, are you at a point where you're glad of everything that has happened because it sounds like without what had happened to you all along the way, like you wouldn't have then the, the, the, the urges, I guess, that it's like, well, now I want to be a nurse and now I want to help. And now I want to, and now like for someone that If you just got a pony and you didn't need an outlet, maybe you weren't even really, that much. Yeah. But it gave you such, like, I just see your, your world unfold going. Wow. everything happens for all those reasons.
I think. Yeah. It definitely, I think shapes you into the person you are. I mean, that goes with everyone's life experiences, but it definitely helped put me on the path of where I am now, which I am very thankful for.
Yeah. And you obviously have great parents. Like, I love your, just your attitude. You'll find a way. And, um,
Yeah. Well dad has never been super horse keen, but he'll still feed and rug, if I can't do them, so, and mum's always, you know, she comes to all the comps with me and stuff like that. So it makes it a lot easier.
Yeah. Like you said, the support network is important.
Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. My instructors are a big part of that as well to see, you know, they kind of never put the pressure on, in the way that they know it's going to affect me, like cause me pain or anything, but they also are very motivating. Um, when I kind of do need a bit of a, you know, come on, you can do it. Yeah, exactly. I'm like a walk break and they're like, no, you can keep going, try the walk.
Alright. So what are your biggest inspiration?
I think, well, obviously like my family and things like that, but riding wise, I think it's, you know, the usual, like we love watching Charlotte and people like that, and it's just kind of the epitome of what we want to be doing. So it's just like, Oh, that'd be nice one day. Wouldn't it. But, um, yeah, it's, I think my instructors, I, I like, I train with Emma and Robert, and so just kind of watching them on a horse and the dedication that they had to it as well with, you know, think different things happening in kids and stuff like that. It's, they're still able to be super successful and very dedicated and passionate even with all the jobs or, and I really do admire, that's a lot of people who in like the dressage from that you do have full time jobs and they're still managing to actually compete all the time and still stay in school, which was, um, you know, that's something, cause I was a bit stressed about that when I was like, how do people do it all the time?
Yeah. Yep. And how does it go training with two people? They obviously must have the same kind of system.
Um, well they actually train together as well, which really helps obviously both grand prix riders. So they don't really have any conflicting opinions, but sometimes just having something explained just a little bit differently is all you need for it to click. Um, and that, yeah, they, they both, I think they've been great friends for years and years as well. So there's no like competitiveness or which I really appreciate it because it's, you know, it can be a little bit tricky sometimes navigating the waters and, but no, they just worked really well with those three.
It sounds like Queensland have got a whole little nest of everyone that is in.
Well Robert is from new South Wales, but he comes like before COVID, it was like monthly or every two months, but Emma and I try to get up to every week. So yeah. Um, yeah, so it kind of just works eventually.
Yeah, absolutely. And you've been in the young rod squad for a couple of years now.
Yes. So I've actually just graduated, I was like, Oh, they just kick you out when you get to all of that. I was on the young riders squad for a couple of years. It definitely, really helps. Like, you'd see like a structure and some sort of support as well, but it also helps you, I don't know, set goals, but also like connect with other young riders. I came from showings. So I didn't know a lot of people in dressage, um, which, you know, it's always a bit of a step up the show riders arent always a little fancy by the dressage riders.
Who's nicer showies or dressage riders?.
Um, I'm gonna say dressage riders. I just have to, it's just not as, I mean, I'm not going to say that, but yes, it's, uh, this even just, I don't know that in Victoria, but in Queensland to get in the squads it's you have to have a set number of scores above a certain percentage and a certain level and things like that. So that always really helps set like motivation, get the score. Yeah. If you get the scores wrong and so you kind of go to like, well, this is my anchor for the year and I want to be able to, you know, and be in the young rider quad is great. We had these clinics, we have camps and it's just, I miss it already. Um, but now, um, but I did set a goal for myself at the end of last year to, um, get the qualifying scores for the, um, setup and performance squad, because that was obviously the next step up once you get kicked out of the young riders. Um, but yeah, so that was my goal that was started last year. Um, which was a big step up because it's, you know, the scores, the young riders, uh, it's such a motivating, um, atmosphere. And then the adults who kind of, you have to be quite competitive to be able to get on the boards. It's just as professional that come out to play. And you're like, Oh, okay. So that was a goal I set for myself in Finney. So that was really, um, really nice to achieve, um, at the end of a year awards to announce. So that was exciting.
Yeah. So what are your future goals? Which Olympics are we aiming for?
Oh, well I just kind of want to keep going with touching on all the, like the grumpy work within yeah. It's a little bit, you know, it's like, Oh, I didn't know that it would be so hard until you're just like, get you get halfway through a set. And you're like, what am I up to? Where are my legs? And I'm aiming for the under 25 eventually we'll get kicked out of that one. Yeah. So that's kind of my big goal with Finn and just anything, anything for now is really just a bonus. Like he's kind of given me everything that he needed to anyway. So all these other fun things to just kind of get some enjoyment along the road, um, and then hopefully bring my three-year-old out as well. So she's just been broken in and she's having a couple of weeks off, but, uh, she's about to get started again. But, um, yeah. So I think, and then just kind of try, I think my next goal is trying to manage like a full time work life with riding Yeah. Trying to actually now, yes.
So are you a morning person? Will you do the horses first, then the work or you'll do the work and then the horses
That's the joy of shift work. It'll definitely be a day by day kind of thing. Um, especially that adjustment period. Uh, I think we're going to have to get lights in the arena, um, cause we're going to be the next. Yeah. But yeah, just trying to, I think it'll be, I mean, I'm very thankful for Finn because I would need to ride in, you know, three or so times a week and he's no different. So just be me trying to adjust to that full time and also learning a lot as a grad still, still the so much. I don't know. So I'm trying to like, yeah, yeah. And trying to, you know, taking all this new knowledge and also still trying to manage the horses, but that's, you know, it's, it's something that everyone eventually has to do. So I'll just kind of take it day by day and just try to, Basically just hope that they let me take days off for comps.
I'm sure. Otherwise it's just, there's no holidays for you. You'll have four weeks annual leave.
Yes. Yeah. But I mean, it's actually been quite funny, not funny, but with COVID it actually worked really, really well. Um, I was in my final year of uni and so I've had, I was on placement basically all semester. Um, and I was like, how am I gonna do comps? Cause I was, it was crazy. I have like my final assignments and exams and it was just full on, so. I was, I was like, I'm not ready for the season to start and then it'll go canceled. I was like, it's terrible for everyone. But it kind of worked for me in my particular situation that I had a bit more time to got to now that's over. I'm like, okay, get back into this. And then yeah. So I was not thankful for COVID at all because it was horrible, but it just kind of made me not to be as stressed, trying to fit Everything in, which is nice.
And I think everyone listening will relate. It doesn't matter if you work full time, part, time work always with horses work somewhere else. It doesn't matter. We all in humans, I don't really come across many humans that go, Oh, just got so much time. I just, I don't know what to do with all this time. Like, people are always rushed. People are always busy. I'm always stressed. Yeah. Juggling it, all I think is, is, is normal for, certainly everyone. And um, do you have any time management or scheduling tricks that you use?
Um, I kind of just, I did try plan out my week just because, you know, especially if things happen, like I teach as well. So trying to kind of manage that in amongst other things. So I try and make a plan for the week. I'll make a plan for the way you can when I'm going to ride. And when I'm going to at uni, what I was going to study, what I'm gonna do assignments and having it all very organized and structured meant that I felt a lot more relaxed in what I was doing. I was like, Oh, you know, if I take a bit longer with this, it's kind of okay. Because it all kind of works out eventually, but definitely being very structured. And like I said, the, any sort of uni like sporting program get into it. If you're at uni, it just made like extensions and things like that. It just made my life so much easier. Um, having that support as well at uni, not just, you know, with the squats and stuff with riding, but also kind of trying to everyone was kind of trying to help support everything, which makes it a lot easier. So definitely something that I'd recommend if you're at uni or studying or anything, just really trying to get into those programs, not just scheduling.
Yes. One thing I'm, I'm always, um, I've been around the planet a couple more years for me. It was also, you know, I, I wanted to ride, but then I also wanted to be a mother and I also wanted to do, so. I actually do 10 year plans and I think, Oh, well, so even though there was, there was four years where there was pregnant, so you're pregnant for what feels like a year, and then got the kid. And um, I already, I said, I will have five children if I could have them at one, but you don't get to, you have to do the, your pregnancy and the year of like a 10 hour a night sleep person when you have a child get to do that. Yeah. So it was like two years of my life, but then I got pregnant again. So that was the third year. And then the fourth year of the next one. Yeah. So glad I did it, but I had already planned for that 10 years. I already knew four years was coming out of my life and there was no riding goal. I still rode every pregnancy and competed a little bit through that, but it wasn't like I'm going to go to the Olympics and have two children in the same year. It's just like, okay, so. I have to set attainable goals. Yeah. But also understand that nothing's forever. It took a lot, my brain to go, you know? Oh, I'm so, you know, it might be for a year, you're doing. I don't quite know what You do at university, but you know, you're like, well actually I'm not going to be an advocate, but you can make that work because it's still three or whatever it is. Like I conscious that we're buying horses or selling horses. So in that four year period, I didn't have my best horse at that point, man, me crying, going, this is so devastating.
I think. Yeah. And I think sometimes when you see, like if you're in one of those moments where you're like, well, I can't really do, like, what I'm choosing to do at the moment may not be, what's going to be the long term goal, but, but you also see with like social media and stuff like that, you see everyone what appears to be living their best life and competing and riding and training. And you're like sitting on like either at work or a place and uni you're like, why would I be riding what doing that? That's like, well, you have to sometimes take a moment and realize that what you joined now will be benefiting me in the long run rather than just, you know, so that's, I think very important as well. Not trying to, not just watching everyone and being like, Oh, but they're hitting all their goals and I'm not exactly where I want it to be right now. So I think that's.
very, very good point. Any other advice you have for people that I'm sure there's lots of young riders going? No, just stop, go back. How did she depart from novice to winning champion champion champion champion? What do they have to do? What's the best thing that they should be doing in order to replicate a result like that.
But with my riding goals, I printed out this paper and I wrote a couple of things that I had set for each month or each six months. And I did put that up in my marriage. So suck it, like kind of tick it off. It's kind of a motivating factor as well. Um, but also finding a coach that you trust and doesn't push you too far or too fast. Um, for me, everything kind of, it did happen quite quickly. Um, I think once, you know, you get those changes kind of solid and things like that. It does happen very quickly. I remember talking to my friends and I was like, this seems to be happening and I don't know what to do. You're like, it's like, it just needs to slow down. No, this is, this is okay. And I was like, Oh, okay. Um, but it's, I think, yeah, just definitely not rushing yourself either. I saw like a couple of people and I was like, Oh, they're already doing this. Like, why aren't I doing it yet? And then six months later you're like, Oh right. It does happen. It just happens during speed. And again, social media, it's really hard to watch other people where you'll feel like you're in this, you're stuck in a position. Um, but I think just making sure that you are setting realistic goals and if you don't meet them, it's no stress. Like it's the animals as well. They take their own time learning things. And I think just making sure that you're not putting too much pressure on yourself. Um, I had really, like, my goal eventually was to the CDI block class. So like, you know, the small tour level stuff. Um, but I wasn't like, Oh my God, I need to do it. It was more, Oh, that'd be really nice. We really cool if I got there, but you know, while I was having trouble with one of my changes, I was like, well, it'd be nice to stay up to medium. so, and I think taking a step back a lot as well. Sometimes if we get too ahead of ourselves, just coming back to the basics can always kind of help centre to you. But I think just ticking along and just, it's supposed to be fun remembering that the horses don't care. If they're in the paddock, they don't care if they're getting rugs and things like that, they don't care it all. So I did feel like a lot of pressure. Um, and I, especially I put on myself because I was like, Oh, but he could be scoring this with like, you know, professional rider. He could be doing this and I let him down sometimes because I'm not good enough or whatever it is. And that was hard for me. Cause you know, people would be like, Oh, you know, but he could score this and I, yeah. But then I'm letting him down because I'm not the one getting that with him. And I had to kind of stop and be like, he's very happy to go out in the paddock. He doesn't care. He has no ego. He doesn't want to be winning things. He's just like, yeah, cool. You want to go for ride, Go for a run. But I think that was hard. Definitely kind of, you know, so you've gotta kind of just take it as it comes and just enjoy the ride. Cause it's, it's a, yeah, it's just, it can be a little bit overwhelming, especially as a young rider with too many ambitions and too many goals and you gotta, gotta just breathe. It's just fun.
Yeah. I think that's a huge point. And I'm like, I know for me, I was like, Oh, it took me forever just years and years and years to teach my freisene. It just wasn't not understand it. But then, um, and so everyone's at small tour before me, but then it's more to hard to teach him piafe. He'd already been doing that for years in the world before them, because there's nothing to do. As you said, you said it beautifully, the horse doesn't have an ego just wants to go for a ride. And it's about that partnership and that fun and that exploration of that, that that's.
Yeah. Well actually I was lucky enough to have a lesson with Laura Grange, which get to Queensland and I asked her about it. Cause obviously she would feel a lot of pressure and you know, she had cold countries late in her shoulders and I lasted like how she dealt with the like being nervous or the precious. And she said, she's what, I don't really get nervous because I just think of it like, um, we're not saving the world or anything. We just riding on the dancing horses. We're just, we're just, you know, not curing cancer and I was like, Oh yeah, that makes so much more sense. And I was like, I kind of have to keep trying to remind myself of that. Like, you know, it's just, we're not saving the world. We're just driving around and we have no other choice then, but to enjoy it.
I also do, when I go, it's really complicated. Like it's really complicated and I couldn't stop. No one is asking you to actually by hand, create a space ship to get to Mars, complicated, get stressed about and go. I don't know if it's out. Counting to 15 this is hard. It's like, stop it. You were born with these skills.
you got two legs and two arms and eventually it'll happen.
But yeah, isn't it, it's about being permissive and being okay with yourself and being everything.
and making mistakes. It's like, who cares at the end of the day? No one else remembers if you muck something up an hour later, it's only you who thinks about it for the next three months.
So yeah, absolutely. I love it. And do you have any sponsors at the moment?
Yeah, so I'm sponsored by a couple of different people. So sponsored by Collado who cares kind of things inside. So we have him on the recovery aid and the xenophobic at the moment, just cause while I was at uni, he wasn't getting riden a lot and he did lose a lot of muscles. So I make sure to always check him back on those anabolics I try to really helps him. And like I mentioned with my spine so I can be a little bit uneven. So I managed to find Jerry Russell equine therapy, who is a physiotherapist and she works on Finn quite often just because I do find that I cause him to be like a little bit muscle sore sometimes. So she's really great to have around because she just, you know, she knows straight away and she's like, and I'm like, Oh yeah, I am sitting too far to the right. And then look at that. And then also Hairy pony helps keep him, you know, nice and pretty and things like that. Uh, so all of these like platting needs and shampoo and treatments and stuff like that. And then also picture the moment, which I think it's amazing having a photographer because you have a nicest photos at comps And it just makes life so much easier to just get to see it and actually reflect how it looked rather than how it actually felt. Yeah. So yeah. So I'm very lucky to have those people supporting me.
Very good. We will put them in the show notes for you. That is awesome. Is there anything you'd like to share any advice?
Well, I kind of, I posted quite a lot on my Instagram page as well, so it's just Mackenzie underscore dressage, if you want to follow me and fin and see what we get up to. Um, but yeah, that's kind of, I try to post like weekly or things like that to try and, you know, help keeps myself motivated and myself accountable, but I like to share what we do. It's quite exciting and fun.
Yeah. And as you said, it's nice to have that memory. I know lots of people, I know whether it's Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, like it's just, it's your home memories in 20 years. Just love it. Thank you so much for your time today. I've had a blast and I think there's so many gems for people listening that can really, really take that and take their riding to the next level. So thank you. Well, yeah.
Well thank you so much for the opportunity as well. It's really cool.