We are so excited about highlighting one of our up and coming athletes- Melinda Mueller, age 32- especially given her incredibly unique involvement in a sport known as “Eventing”. When people ask her what “Eventing” is, Melinda responds with “three ways in three days”, referring to the fact that in these equestrian games, there are actually three different sports in which she and her horse participate. Eventing is an exciting new twist in the Elevated scene, considering our large involvement in the world of board sports- having Melinda in the mix is quite intriguing! Her sport is composed of three equestrian events- Dressage, Cross Country, and Show Jumping/Stadium.
For those of you who might not know much about Eventing, or equestrian events in general, the Cross Country aspect is what really sets Melinda apart from anyone else involved in some kind of rodeo or equestrian activity. When describing it, she explains “Riders are given a specific optimum time and a path across the countryside to follow. Along the path are marked jumps that can include things like logs, ditches, banks, and even water that you jump in and out of. You have to jump all the obstacles the first time and get as close to the optimum time as you can.” Between this endurance test, and the other two events testing the horse’s agility and ability to be effectively trained, the three combined show the competence of the most incredible horses. She also explained that when it came to stumbling across Elevated, she noticed a lot of similarities and became excited about the brand for a few reasons. “Sure, most [Elevated enthusiasts] are geared toward Wakeboarding, Snowboarding, and Surfboarding, but eventing is really just the equestrian version of those sports. We share some of the same demographics and definitely share a similar passion. Plus, Eventers love the number 3. It is our claim to fame in the horse world, since we strive to master three different disciplines. Elevated uses the stylized three in many of their designs and I could see it catching on with Eventers.”
We asked Melinda how it was she really got involved with the sport she is so passionate about. Her first “real horse”, she describes as “my soulmate horse and from the age of 8 through my first year of college we did everything together. We were JR National Champions in NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference) multiple times. We also earned two High Average Jr Horsemanship awards and one High Average Horse award. We competed in National Games Rally and National Polocrosse Rally through the United States Pony Club. We foxhunted, evented, jumped, did dressage and even dabbled at Combined Driving.” At a young age she had accomplished so much and was lucky enough to have found her life-calling!
So how did Melinda get involved with Elevated??
“More than anything, I’ve always wanted to be part of a team. I’ve always wanted someone other than my horse to celebrate with and say thank you too,” she explains. This is probably something a lot of us can relate to. Many of us here at Elevated definitely have a focus within a sport that tends to be pretty individualized- you compete in your division with your set of tricks or routine and that’s that. Every now and then there is a team aspect, racking up points, but overall we are all kind of “on our own” in the action sports world. Melinda went on to explain that during her search for athletic sponsorships… “a year ago in December I was doing my annual research on companies that sponsor athletes. It dawned on me that I didn’t have to stay strictly with equine companies. Through that search I stumbled upon Elevated. I’ll never forget laying in bed that night pouring through the Elevated website and blog. I simply fell in love.”
Key word- love. When you fall in love with something and find something you’re passionate about, you chase it. You take everything you have and put forth every ounce of your being into making sure that your passion is part of your every day life. That’s what Melinda has done with Eventing, everything involving her life around her horse(s), and now Elevated clothing!
Melinda’s main focus always has been and will be her horse’s (Ryder) health and well-being, so she tries to exercise him and give him the attention he needs as often as possible. She also would really like to qualify for the American Eventing Championships- in Colorado at the end of this summer, but she says “I don’t want to let that dream interfere with always making the right decision for Ryder’s learning.” She definitely has many goals for her future, with her life-long goal to “share the joy that horses can bring to your life with as many people as I can. They are such magnificent animals and they can teach us so much about life and living.” She has high hopes that this spotlight will help “encourage outsiders and misfits”, as she feels that there have been many times where she herself has felt like one. She goes on to say- “If you feel like no one gets you or you’ll never fit in or there is no where you belong, don’t give up and don’t blame yourself. You just haven’t found your people yet. The world is so amazingly large and mystifyingly complex. You aren’t an accident or a mistake, you’re just a puzzle piece that hasn’t quite found its place yet. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Challenge yourself. Don’t settle. Keep dreaming. And remember, being on the outside has its perks. It gives you a unique perspective and being unique is okay. I may not shred or hang, and I certainly have a different definition of “ride” but that didn’t keep me from reaching out and you shouldn’t let being a little different stop you either.”
Huge thanks to Melinda for sharing her story- we hope it encourages you to keep chasing your dreams!