Sussex teen representing WI in equestrian competition in South Africa

SUSSEX -- 19-year-old Nick Maupin of Sussex is a student at the University of Wisconsin majoring in business marketing. In middle school, when others stood up in class and talked about playing sports like football and basketball, Maupin used to say: "I ride horses." 

Three years into his equestrian career, Maupin had a rough lesson, which led to second thoughts about his career. However, Maupin's mother knew best, and urged him to stick with it.

Maupin has been at the top of his craft, with assistance from Scott and Carol Matton, owners of Knollwood Farm in Hartland, who have served as Maupin's mentors and trainers for the past 11 years. 

Maupin, their star pupil, is the only male ever to win the coveted triple crown in Saddle Seat competition, and is about to represent the United States at the 2012 Saddle Seat Equestrian World Cup in South Africa!

Getting to the top hasn't been easy. Horsemanship skills and athleticism are required in order to become a champion equestrian rider like Maupin. That's because in many ways, horses have the same emotions as humans.

In some circles, being a man in equitation isn't traditional, but it's a true discipline -- one that's taught Maupin many life lessons.