Madison Scott's Passion for Horses Leads her to UK
Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2013) — Madison Scott's track to the University of Kentucky began when she was 10 years old.
From Austin, Texas, she grew up far away from Lexington horse farms and equestrian events; but in 2004, she watched Thoroughbred race horse Smarty Jones become the first undefeated Kentucky Derby winner since Seattle Slew in 1977, and she was hooked.
Scott developed an unharnessed fascination with Smarty Jones, so strong that she began sending letters to Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., where the horse lived. Three Chimneys employees Ann Hayes and Jen Rotyz responded to her writing, recognizing that Scott was no ordinary fan. This correspondence continued for years.
In 2009, Roytz invited Madison and her mother to fly from Austin to Midway to meet the horse in person. However, Scott didn't know until she arrived in Kentucky that Chapman intended to have her name one of Smarty Jones' colts. The name "Mad for Smarty" honored the colt's legendary bloodline as well as its most dedicated fan.
"Mad for Smarty was two years old at that point," Scott said. "He was already in training at the track, but I followed him closely through his racing career, which concluded in September of 2011."
After a two-year career, Mad for Smarty sustained an injury, and Three Chimneys Farm offered the horse to Madison.
"He had just been taken off the track and was ready to start a new career, not racing," Scott said. "I definitely said yes, we wanted him! And we got him. It’s been amazing ever since then — having my own horse, finally, after so many years of riding lessons and wanting one, but never being able to have one. It’s just been incredible."
When it was time to start looking at colleges, Scott new exactly what field she wanted to pursue; and though she considered several institutions with strong equine programs, she said the minute she arrived in Lexington, she knew the University of Kentucky was where she and her horse belonged.
"For me, there is no other place in the country that can offer what Lexington and the University of Kentucky offer," Scott said. "UK not only has the equine classes, which are awesome – not many schools offer an equine program at all – but they’re offered in Lexington, the horse capital of the world. It’s been incredible, and that is really why I came to UK."
An Equine Science and Management major in the UK College of Agriculture, Scott now interns at Three Chimneys Farm and is continuing to pursue a career in the equine industry.
"I help to keep track of two-year-olds, our new stallions," Scott said. "I keep a book record of the mares that we have booked to our stallions with details like pedigrees, race records, who owns them, etc. I also just do various other things that Three Chimneys needs. I’m working on a market report right now, and that has been a great learning experience. I go three times a week in the morning."
Scott said that her internship has provided invaluable experience so far.
"I knew a lot about the racing and breeding industry before I got here, of course, because I’ve been very invested in the industry," Scott said. "But being able to actually go into an office every day and see the real inter-workings of how a breeding farm operates has been so enlightening. I’m learning so much about every aspect of what Three Chimneys does in their sales department, which has just been incredible. It’s what I want to go into in my career, so it’s definitely beneficial. I’m learning along the way."
Mad for Smarty, still a central part of her life, is boarded at Bryan Station Farm. Scott said that having her horse nearby has made an already great college experience even better.
"I can’t have imagined a better year than I’ve had so far," Scott said. "The college decision was a really tough choice for me. I looked at a lot of schools, but within two weeks of being at UK, I couldn’t even believe I considered other schools. This is just the right place for me, and I love it."
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