Hayden Moeck of Los Angeles is enjoying his time in the saddle this year. But the young man also has interests far from horses; in the field of science, to be exact. The high school student works hard at school, riding, and his extra curriculars, enabling himself to become one well-rounded individual.
Moeck is the president of his school’s Robotics team and has held the position for a year now. A member for three years and counting, the young man’s team is part of an organization that competes with various other schools in robot creation to achieve certain tasks in which they score points outlined in an all-state challenge. “We are an FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) team, part of the FIRST robotics league,” Moeck shares. And he says their team has been very competitive and even placed first during Along those same lines, the teen has interests in science and engineering, and plans to pursue these as he attends college in the future. “…I don’t really remember a time not liking science,” he recalls, “Science is all about discovery and exploration of what we don’t understand, I don’t really see what there is not to love.”
When not attending school and its functions, Moeck has found another love in horses. The young man began riding when he was just 4 years old, learning from his mother, Pam, on a pony named Jimmy. What started as a fun pastime grew into much more, and at age seven, Moeck started riding western. Shortly after, he met the horse that grew his love for riding and showing, Julias Elegant Star, and the duo began Moeck’s career in the AQHA show pen in Trail classes under the guidance of Renee Baker. “My favorite part of riding horses is the connection I feel to my horse. Moments where we are a team and in sync are exhilarating and calming,” he shares.
The young man’s current mount is AGR Tellemhesacowboy, aka Cowboy. The pair is showing in the AQHA Novice Youth Trail and Novice Youth Pleasure this year under the guidance of Kellie Hinely of Trendsetter Performance Horses in Chino Hills. Hinely shows Cowboy in AQHA Green Trail and Green Pleasure and is working on adding Horsemanship to Cowboy’s resume next year. “I love training with Kellie Hinely because she is very direct and clear with her instruction. She gives blunt and constructive criticism without being harsh or overly critical. She is a really caring person,” Moeck says.
But the journey to the show pen hasn’t always been an easy one for the young man and his gelding. “Cowboy is really fun to ride, but was very challenging when I started riding him,” Moeck shares, “We’ve really had to work hard to become a team. We are a work in progress.” The teen describes Cowboy as a “very silly guy…with a big obnoxious personality, but in a good way.” In fact, even his name comes with some irony, as Cowboy is extremely scared of cattle. “When we first started training at Trendsetter, he would come to a dead stop and stare at a cow that lives near the arena every time I took him by. Heart pounding,” Moeck laughingly recalls. But with time and experience, the team has seen great achievement and success, making the teen feel truly united with his equine partner. “When we are at our best, Cowboy feels like and extension of myself, not another being at all,” he says.
And much like the lessons he learns in school, Moeck has also gained knowledge from his time with horses. “Riding and showing horses has taught me a great deal of patience and perseverance. Waiting around all day for an event that doesn’t go your way is never not frustrating, but after repeated attempts, getting it right feels incredible,” he says, “It never feels good to lose, but each loss makes winning better.” A statement that rings true in all facets of life, best of luck in the future to Hayden Moeck in every arena he chooses to partake in!