It was a dream come true for a horseback rider who has been riding for as long as she can remember.
Mattie Dukes, a Western rider on the TCU equestrian team, competes in the Horsemanship and Reigning events; she is also a team captain this year for the Horsemanship event.
Dukes, a sophomore psychology and communications double major, was named to the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Youth Hall of Fame as a 2020 inductee.
“You get inducted into the Hall of Fame through horse accomplishments and leadership accomplishments,” said Dukes. “I was the president of the National Youth Cutting Horse Association for two years, vice president for one year, and area director for three years.”
Dukes also said she has been very involved in community service and cites that as one of the things that helped her achieve this honor.
Haley Schoolfield, the director of the equestrian team, had nothing but positive words about Dukes. She described Dukes as powerful in the equestrian world.
“Mattie is a peacemaker, she is an empathetic rider, she is a talented rider and she gives 100 percent in everything she does,” said Schoolfield. “Mattie is such a humble person, she just puts her head down and does her work and tries to get better and better each day.”
Dukes said being inducted into the NCHA Youth Hall of Fame was a dream come true. However, she initially thought this was an unattainable goal for her because it is such a huge honor.
“I was ecstatic, I kind of couldn’t believe it, I was really excited,” said Dukes. “It all worked out and it is truly a blessing, I am so excited and honored to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Growing up and riding many horses, both good and bad, as well as being able to read a horse and know what it is thinking and feeling made Dukes into the accomplished rider she is today.
”I learn something every day, and I think that is such a cool thing about this sport because you never really get it 100% because there are so many variables involved,” said Dukes.
Dukes said her goals for this season are learning, having fun and improving at the sport she loves.