Saturday, May. 25, 2024

A Rolex Rookie And Her Cookies



Madeline Backus has always been proficient in the kitchen, so when she sent in her entry to the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** this spring, she came up with a creative way to help fund the trip to her first four-star.

A Colorado native, Backus has been training on the East Coast with Missy Ransehousen in Pennsylvania for the last three years with P.S. Arianna, a mare her farrier bred, and she’s brought along from the beginning. 

She’s spent the winter in Florida with her mother, Laura, and a group of her students, and they helped come up with the idea for a bake sale.

A selection of goodies at Madeline Backus’ bake sale. Photo courtesy of Madeline Backus.

“I love baking; I like to do it when I have free time,” said Madeline, 21. “They’re such a great group, and they helped me make it possible. I was in awe over the response. It was very heartwarming.”

Madeline got permission to have a bake sale at the inaugural Exmoor Horse Trials in Ocala on March 18-19, and it was a hit.

She specializes in bread, and her garlic cheese bread was quite popular. When she sold out of bread on the first day and had requests for cookies, she and a friend went home that night and baked more. They sold out again the next day.


Madeline Backus’ famous garlic cheese bread. Photo courtesy of Madeline Backus.

“There wasn’t really a goal [for funds.] Every little bit is helping me out a lot,” she said. Madeline has also set up a GoFundMe page at the request of friends across the country who wanted a place to donate to help her get to Rolex, but she said she prefers to do the work to earn donations.

“Everyone who came up was so nice. It’s so nice to have the support of the eventing community. I’m glad I could give back a little bit to them,” she said.

Madeline held her second bake sale this weekend at the Rocking Horse Spring Horse Trials in Altoona, Fla. She’s expanded her selection to include horse and dog treats, cinnamon bread and homemade mints. Some of her celebrity clients included four-star riders Leslie Law and his wife Lesley Grant Law, and Joe Meyer.

Madeline Backus and P.S. Arianna are heading to their first Rolex Kentucky CCI****. Photo by Lindsay Berreth.

Madeline and “Ari” will head to Chattahoochee Hills this coming weekend in Fairburn, Ga., to run the advanced before Rolex. She said she’s nervous and excited but feels ready.

“I’m just grateful for all of the people on my team and my coaches who’ve helped me this far. I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “It definitely feels like the next step. If I’m nervous about it, I think it will really hit me when I get there.”




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