Metro 18-year-old living out dream of riding horses full-time, with eyes on the Olympics

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PLATTE CITY, Mo. — Mackenzie Peer isn’t your typical 18-year-old. For now, she’s putting college on the back burner to pursue a full-time career as an equestrian.

“It was kind of like my little kid dream. Like how other girls want to be like a princess or a ballerina or an astronaut or whatever your dream job is as a kid,” Peer said.

It started as a fun family activity — but Peer quickly found her calling.

“My younger brother, he’s actually 11 months younger than I am. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a baby,” Peer said. “One of the ways they kind of help with that and help treat it is by hippotherapy, which is basically therapy on horseback.”

“We’d be like, ‘OK, how was that? Have you had enough?’ They were like, ‘No, it’s terrific. We can’t wait to go back,'” said Holly Peer, Mackenzie’s mother. “So they just kept going and riding more and started winning.”

Mackenzie’s good at what she does, too.

She recently won the National Championship in dressage equitation at the U.S. Dressage Federation’s Festival of Champions.

“It hits a little bit more each day, like this is really what I’m doing and I can make a job out of something that I love so much,” Mackenzie said.

Right now, she has her eyes set on making an even bigger name for herself in the sport.

“The Olympics is a goal. It’s my dream. I want to compete in the Olympics and be an Olympic athlete,” the 18-year-old said.

This week, she’ll move to California to train with two of the top equestrian coaches in the country. Peer said for her, her Olympic dreams may take another five or so years, but she’s taking the right steps to reach her end goal.

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