Photos and story by Mackenzie Shuman
When Mia McLaughlin, 16, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., heard about CPI, or the College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show from a family friend, she was chomping at the bit to go. This threeday event features riders from all over the country riding on unknown horses and competing for scholarships and recognition. McLaughlin, opting for the California location of the horse show, has been getting ready for this event for a long time. The West Coast event will be held March 11-13 in Burbank, Calif.
“In some sense, I am always preparing for things like CPI,” she said, later explaining how she has been competing in IEA, Interscholastic Equestrian Association, for three years, even making it to Nationals last year in her event.
IEA is much like CPI in the sense that at both events, riders are competing on unknown horses around hunt seat equitation courses. Although taking part in IEA certainly gives McLaughlin an edge, she also has been doing no stirrups twice a week, along with getting on as many horses as she can at the barn. McLaughlin often volunteers to ride her friends horses if they cannot make it out to the barn and is always willing to hop on anyone’s horse at any time.
While she is preparing for this prestigious event, McLaughlin also is looking into the future and what she can gain from taking part in CPI.
“CPI would be a really good way to give me more options for my future riding career,” she said.
Although she doesn’t exactly know where she wants to go to school, McLaughlin has the good sense that the CPI Horse Show will help her out.
“I’m excited to let CPI open more doors for me, and I plan to take advantage of my opportunity,” she said after she explained that while she was indeed very nervous, she is more excited as is looking forward to the event. Soon McLaughlin will be packing her bags, eager and ready to get away from the cold of Colorado and to the warmth and prospect of California.
The College Preparatory Invitational Horse Show is a chance for kids like McLaughlin to shine, and possibly earn a scholarship to their future college.