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Path of Perseverance 

Mackenzie Peer is an international success within the equestrian world, and she doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Mackenzie is a USDF Bronze and Silver medalist and FEI competitor. At just 20 years old, she has already achieved numerous accolades in dressage, including several regional, national and international titles. She has trained with world-renowned trainers and has qualified for the European tour of the US Equestrian Team Young Riders where she will be competing in France and Germany. She has her sights set on becoming a part of the US Olympic Team one day. 

These days, Mackenzie can be found living out her childhood dream of riding for Danish Olympian Lars Peterson and his wife, USA Grand Prix rider, Melissa Taylor at Helgstrand Dressage in Wellington, Florida. 

Mackenzie first discovered her love of horses as a child, but it wasn’t until she fell in love with a Dressage horse that her path became clear. “I just knew I loved him, so I was going to do whatever that horse could do, and it turns out he was a Dressage horse,” she says. 

Traveling from Michigan, she spent her summers in Kansas training with the distinguished Emily Miles. Realizing Mackenzie’s love of dressage and horses was not a passing phase, her parents relocated her family to Overland Park where Mackenzie could continue to train year around, even living with her trainer at one point. “I am so grateful to my parents for all of their sacrifices, I am who I am because of them,” she says. 

A graduate of Blue Valley Northwest High School, she intentionally structured her junior and senior year of high school around her riding goals, even spending her junior year in California training while attending school virtually. “My dream when I was 7 years old was to be a horse trainer,” she shares, “but I have always been a very practical, realistic person, and I knew there were so many great trainers, and I thought ‘I am not good enough, nobody is going to pay me to ride.’” 

Mackenzie recounts the day at just 15 years old that she was driving home from the barn when she realized, “I am living my dream. I am being paid to ride horses. This is really happening.”

After competing at the Festival of Champions and earning the prestigious titles of Reserve Junior National Champion and National Champion in Seat Medals, she found herself headed to Germany to ride for the esteemed Joh Hinnemann.

“Riding in Germany changed everything,” she says. “It was such an amazing opportunity, and I couldn't wait to get back and apply what I had learned.”  

Then came the call to make good on an offer she had received from Peterson & Taylor when she was just 14 years old. “They saw me ride, and they said, ‘if you ever want a job give us a call.’ It was a great honor, but ultimately I was only 14 at the time. So I reached out to them and asked, ‘Does that offer still stand?’ And here I am today, doing what I could only ever have imagined.”  

It hasn’t always been easy, and Mackenzie has faced numerous setbacks along the way. A terrible car accident that left her with permanent nerve damage in her leg, a torn ACL she suffered from being bucked off, breaking both of her hands at the same time and leaving her without the ability to even wash her own hair. She recounts a crushed foot that left her on crutches, only able to ride in a sock without even a shoe or stirrups. Her list of injuries is long and daunting, and it begs the question, why continue? 

In response she smiles and says, “because I simply cannot imagine my life without horses. If you would have told my 15-year-old self that this is where I would be one day, I could have never even imagined this opportunity.” Her advice is simple “be willing to put in the work, and you’ll make it happen for yourself. I work extremely hard, and it’s worth it to me because here I am living my dream.” 

Follow Mackenzie on Instagram @mackenzie_peer or visit