Maleah Lang McMahon

Age: 16

Lives: Waterford, Queensland

Education/occupation:

I finished year 10 at Canterbury College and I now work full time at Kolora Lodge for my parents!

Family history with horses?

Both my mum and dad grew up riding horses. They are both Australian representatives! My dad represented Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen 2006 and again at the Olympics in Beijing 2008. My mum also represented Australia at the World Equestrian Games in Den Haag 1994, World Cup Finals in Geneva 1996 and the World Championships in Jerez 2002

What age did you start riding?

As soon as I could sit up!

Tell us about your first pony.

My first pony was a chestnut mare originally from Heidi Whalley and her name was ’Tappy’, she most adorable and bomb proof pony a little girl could ever wish for!

What was your first show jumping competition, and how did it go?

My first competition I can’t actually remember the location, but it was at Interschools and I had a beautiful pony called ‘Model’.

Congratulations on winning the Young Rider Champion at Tamworth aboard PSS Chantilly, how did she come into your life? 

Thank you so much! Myself and my family are very lucky to have Chris and Gabi as such close friends! They were both going to be away for the Olympics and the World Cup finals in Las Vegas this year, so they gave me the amazing opportunity to take the ride on her to further my riding career in the teams this year which I am beyond grateful for.

Your other Young Rider horse is KS Capulet Ego Z, tell us about your partnership with Bentley. 

Bentley came into my life due to unforeseen circumstances as we lost my best horse at the time ‘Eric’ so my mum gave me Bentley! My partnership with him didn’t start easy as he is quite sensitive and strong and was very grumpy. It took quite a while to understand his quirky personality, but I must stay he always gives me 110% every time I go in the ring and now we have such a special bond together unlike any other. 

You also won the Champion Junior at Tamworth, how do you manage riding multiple horses at competitions?

Yes! Vakarra Champagne is such a cool mare that we purchased from Kirstie Ansell, she is only little but she has the biggest heart and always gives you her all. I actually really enjoy riding multiple horses! I would actually be really disappointed if I didn’t have lots of horse on the show. We have a very organised team which makes it so much easier for me to stay very focused. I love everything about getting in the ring and giving it my all whether it’s in the silver tour or the on the young horses in the 80cm. I always try to take mum and dad's horses, just to get an extra ride somewhere!

What are some of the highlights of your success?

My biggest highlight to date is definitely winning the Australian Children’s Championships. This was so special to me as it was my last year as a children’s rider and I only had one shot at it!

Some other special highlights were winning the Young Rider championships at Tamworth on PSS Chantilly because it was my first ever Young Rider and also winning the Futurity Championship on KS Sovereigns Cadel at Nambour.

What has been the most challenging aspect of riding at a high level from a young age? 

The most challenging thing for me was balancing the workload and high standards of schoolwork in between shows (thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that anymore!)

What is the secret to your success?

The secret to my success comes from putting in the hard yards and believing in myself. Being very strong in the mind and being determined is very important to me. Hard work pays off!

How many horses do you have in work at the moment?

I currently have 6 horses in work at the moment!

Do you have any young up and coming horses? Tell us a bit about them. 

I have a beautiful 3yr old filly that we bred by Massimo Quality (Finch Farm) out of a really nice thoroughbred mare that had Grosvenor bloodlines that dad used to compete. Whilst we have been in lockdown, I thought it was a great opportunity to put some soft miles on her at a couple of different venues.

Which horse has taught you the most and how has this helped you become the rider you are today? 

Eric taught me the most in such a short amount of time that we had together. We bred him and my dad competed him as a 5yr old at Ekka and won champion young horse of the show. Soon after that I used ask dad if I could flat him at home (in hope that he would give him to me) and dad finally let me jump him at Aquis. From that day onwards I was never giving him back! I had just turned 13 at the time and he was 17hh, he had so much scope and power, but it wasn’t at all intimating. I used to think I could jump anything on him, he taught me to believe in myself and was definitely one in a million.

Are you involved in helping your dad break-in and train the racehorses? (if so, what do you help with? and how has this helped you with your horses?)  

If we aren’t busy with the jumpers, I like to ride the breakers with dad! I mainly ride the breakers and pre trainers on the summer holidays when the showjumpers are having a break. My dad is an amazing horseman and he teaches me to read the horses whether its long raining them or giving them their first rides. It is so interesting to be able to read the horses when they are yearlings as every horse is different and it is an invaluable experience that I see everyday

Is there much rivalry between you and your family because you all compete? 

No there isn’t any rivalry, we all fully support each other and encourage each other to perform at our best (only positive vibes allowed!)

Do you have to balance study and horses? 

Not anymore, I am now focused 100% on my riding and my horses

Do you do any fitness work other than riding? 

I sure do! I like to go for a 3km run every afternoon to keep myself fit and in shape to perform at my best!

Share a typical day in your life.

My start time is 6:30am and I dare not be late otherwise dad gets very cranky! Our groom Kayla feeds them at 5am and I like to put them to the paddocks at around 7am as its quite chilly in the mornings! I then tack up my first horse and I like to be on at 8am, I work 5-6 horses and am usually finished by 12:30/1pm. I then have lunch and start back at work at 2:30pm. Kayla and I bring the horses into the stables at 2:45pm and we feed them at 3:30pm. I like to rug them at around 4:30pm and I come back down at 7:30pm to check them and give them their night hay!

Who's your idol?

I actually have a few! McLain Ward, Edwina Tops-Alexander and Chris Chugg are so inspirational!

Who is your coach and what are their best words of advice for you?

My coach is my mum! The best advice from my mum is to carry my hands and have a very good upper body to allow my lower leg to softly come on.

What is your advice for young up and coming riders? 

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. “Effort gets results”. It’s my Nan's motto and it’s so true!

How do you manage the highs and lows of the sport?

My mum is very good at changing a negative into a positive and she explains how and why it may have happened, so it gets resolved very quickly. You have to take the good with the bad, it comes with everything you do in life. Like I said before, positive vibes only!

What are your future plans? (and does that include training overseas?)

I would really like to compete in the German Friendships next year. With the Teams League starting now I think I will only have time to go away for a short period, but I would really like to have an insight on how they train and compete.

What do you like to do outside of horses?

I love to go shopping! I also love going to the Gold Coast and spending time at our apartment on the beach. 

Can't live without?

My horses! I really don’t know what I would do without them.

3 things we don't know about Maleah Lang-McMahon?

  1. I’m so petrified of the dark!
  2. I can’t watch horror movies!
  3. I love to cook!