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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior Mag 2024: Saratoga High School’s favorite horse girls 

Maddy practicing lifting Vidhi for one of their stunts, preparing for their coming competition.

When it comes to unconventional sports, you may think of the adrenaline rush of extreme skiing or the impressive feats of parkour. But for Maddy Hubb and Vidhi Patel, their passions lay in vaulting, the sport of  horse gymnastics that combines athleticism with grace. From their earliest days as kindergarteners at Argonaut, the two have held a close bond that has endured to this day. 

When Maddy was in preschool, her teacher, a former vaulter and coach, introduced her to vaulting. After five years of competing in the sport, she invited her best friend, Vidhi Patel, to join her at a practice. Though Vidhi was hesitant, Maddy’s infectious enthusiasm won her over, and under her guidance, Vidhi started her vaulting journey. 

The sport blends elements of gymnastics and dance atop a moving horse. Vaulters execute acrobatic and artistic maneuvers while the horse moves at various gaits, relying on handles attached to a saddle on the horse’s back for stability and support. With each practice session, the two pushed themselves to master new skills, from basic mounts and dismounts to intricate maneuvers. Despite the inevitable falls and bruises involved in vaulting, their determination never wavered even when they suffered severe injuries last year: Maddy with a broken foot and Vidhi with a dislocated elbow. 

“We were able to recover mostly, and we kept pushing forward past all the setbacks,” Vidhi said.

The two put together a team and found a horse to use right before nationals, which took place in August 2023. And when it was finally looking up for the pair, another obstacle stood in their way: Their horse didn’t pass the check, meaning they couldn’t use him for the competition. Nevertheless, the two competed with a new horse, and they ended up winning the national championships for the 2 pas de deux division (what does this mean).

“I think this moment showed how much we’re able to work together and overcome obstacles and just see things through to the end,” said Maddy. 

After 12 years of vaulting together, the pair have proven how well they can work together, overcome obstacles and see things through to the end. Maddy has found that after over a decade of vaulting, she has come to appreciate the strength and power behind horses. 

“I think from a companion standpoint, the horses are as much of a teammate as a person is,” she said. 

Though neither plans on continuing the sport after graduating from high school, they both carry with them the invaluable lessons of teamwork and determination they learned through vaulting. As they prepare to embark on new chapters of their lives, both Maddy and Vidhi know that the spirit of resilience they cultivated through their vaulting journey will serve them well in any endeavor they pursue. 

While their time in the sport may be coming to an end, the bond forged between Maddy and Vidhi, and the memories of their triumphs against all odds will remain etched in their hearts forever.

“Though we’re done vaulting, the lessons I’ve learned and the connections I’ve made will always be with me, even in college,” Maddy.

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