When I was a kid and would ride the yellow school bus in the mornings and afternoons, my dog would always walk me down the long driveway to keep an eye on me.
In fact, lots of people have similar stories, like this faithful family dog who dutifully waits for her favorite people while staying with the pet sitter.
But of course, much as we love dogs, they aren’t the only faithful animals around! If you were lucky enough to live in the country or head to the stable every now and then, you’re probably well acquainted with horses and their incredible displays of loyalty!
If you’ve ever seen a horse show affection to a favorite person, it may not surprise you to know that down in New Smyrna, FL, there’s a sweet pony waiting around for an extra special little girl.
Her name is Madilyn, and after hearing her story, we aren’t at all surprised by how devoted her beloved animal companion is.
Read on by scrolling through the gallery below!
When Madi hopped off the school bus on August 16, there were three faces waiting for her at the bus stop.
Her dad was there, saddled up on one of his horses — and next to him, Madi’s pony, Taco, was eagerly awaiting his little lady!
If you ask us, Madi seems like one lucky little girl to have such a devoted pony (and dad!) in her life, and 40,000 people on Facebook agree, sending this photo into the viral stratosphere!
After all, not every kid gets to grow up with a dad who’s a professional equestrian trainer, with the stables to prove it!
Madi’s dad Sean Patrick is a trainer and educator for the horse community, who dedicates his time to, “using kind, effective horsemanship principles while developing confident riders and horses with perfect trust, great respect, and endless skill,” according to his website.
That means that he keeps trained horses at his stable and also trains young horses.
If you ask us, this seems like every girl’s dream come true!
Not only does Madi get to spend her days in the company of a whole host of different horses, she actually gets her very own pony.
In the process, she is also growing up with a lot of the skills her dad teaches, ranging from good horsemanship skills to the work ethic needed to take care of horses — hey, it’s hard work and someone’s got to do it!
If you ask us, this horsewoman-in-training already seems to be doing a pretty amazing job of making sure the horses in her care get plenty of love.
In fact, Madi and Taco seem to have a pretty incredible connection. Taco may pick Madi up from the school bus, but she returns the favor by making sure his coat is clean and his hooves are pebble-free!
And she also makes sure to help out with the other horses at the stable, helping with grooming, washing, and no doubt, mucking out the stables.
But Madi isn’t just a young equestrian in the making.
She’s also using her growing skills in horsemanship to raise money for a cause close to both of their hearts, their local Childhood Cancer Foundation.
This past summer, Madi had surgery and chemotherapy after a frightening diagnosis of liver cancer.
It’s a scary battle to face, but Madi’s courage shines through, and we’re relieved, but not at all surprised, that she went through treatment and emerged in March 2016 cancer-free and with a smile on her face.
These days, the brave little girl is in recovery and living life to the fullest, but she wants to do everything she can to help other kids have the same opportunity.
Madi aspires to be a vet one day, and it’s not surprising that a child with so much compassion for animals would also want to take care of fellow kids stricken by cancer.
This past spring, she and her dad launched a fund-raiser called Colts for Cancer, where they saddled new colts for the first time and donated the proceeds to the foundation.
Ahead of the fund-raiser, Dad released this picture of his saddle hanging next to Madi’s, a special “Forever” saddle he had commissioned for her while she was in treatment, one that can grow with her as she gets older.
Maybe the saddle was a good luck charm for Madi. She’s already showing her talent with the horses, and all of that innate skill — plus, the excellent cause — definitely had an influence on the fund-raiser.
All told, the duo raised $10,000 for cancer treatment and research, using their horsemanship to support Madi’s budding philanthropy.
If you’d like to get involved, you can get updates on Madi and her important cause on Sean Patrick Trainingpage on Facebook.
And if you’re stunned by this brave and feisty little girl, and her amazing support system of people and ponies, make sure to SHARE her story with friends and family!
And prepare for your back-to-school routine this year by weighing in on the quiz below!