Kaylynn Malmberg - Reiner of the Year - 2010
Young rider loses hat, but not spirit. There’s no quit in Kaylynn Malmberg.
Even when her hat and wig flew off during her opening ride with her horse Picker last week at the North American Young Riders’ Championships in Lexington, Ky., the 19-year-old from Carseland, who just came off her second surgery for brain cancer, didn’t think to say, “Whoah.” “I just thought ‘that sucks", but I wasn’t going to stop and give up,” said Malmberg, who was part of the four-member team from Alberta, which took part in the annual competition that ran from July 28 to Aug. 1.
The courageous ride, which saw the crowd of equine enthusiasts erupt, earned her a second-place ribbon in the “welcome ride” and helped secure a first place gold medal for the Alberta squad.
The competition, one step below the World Equestrian Games, is a showcase of horsemanship and riding skill that attracts the continent’s best young riders. But Malmberg is one of a kind.
On July 17, she underwent her second surgery for brain cancer, discovered during an MRI after a car accident. Despite going through chemotherapy, she jumped on a plane nine days later, no thought in her mind of sitting out the big event.
“It wasn’t that bad — pretty much as soon as I got out of the hospital, I was riding my horse,” Malmberg said. “The whole thing is pretty cool but I’m just glad we won it for Canada and Alberta — I’m more happy our team came through.”
Arriving Monday night at the Calgary International Airport with her beaming parents, Darin and Lorna, Malmberg is scheduled to start six-week long radiation treatments on Tuesday morning. Darin struggled to find the words to describe how he felt, watching his daughter, still almost hairless from the chemotherapy, continue to push forward for her award-winning ride. “After everything she’s been through it’s just amazing,” he said. “I know she was worried about (losing her hat) and she kind of stumbled for a microsecond but then it’s like she said ‘Screw it,’ and then the whole crowd was cheering like you wouldn’t believe.”
Malmberg said she’s taking some time off work while dealing with her brain cancer but has no doubt she’ll recover and has future plans for a career with horses and perhaps an appearance at the World Equestrian Games.
By SHAWN LOGAN, CALGARY SUN