Have you ever had an equestrian dream that you just couldn’t quite reach? Do you wish you could have a special experience in the equestrian world but challenging circumstances have gotten in your way? If so, then a newly launched scholarship program may just make your dreams reality.
The USHJA Foundation “Making A Dream” Scholarship Program is philanthropic in nature and extends opportunities to individuals with unique circumstances who seek a special experience in the sport of hunters and jumpers. Each experience is custom-designed depending upon the specific interests of the recipient who will receive the resources needed to help in “Making A Dream.”
Unique circumstances recipients might face include: physical or other special challenges, as well as, extreme financial or resource limitations.
The program, fully implemented in 2011, was inspired by Elizabeth “Lizzy” Traband, of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, the inaugural scholarship recipient.
With her scholarship funds, Traband is spending two weeks training and showing on the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival circuit in Wellington, Florida, during the month of February. She received a complementary stall from show manager Dave Burton of Littlewood Farm, lessons from trainers such as Louise Serio, Lynn Jayne and Liza Towell Boyd, and accommodations.
Traband, 13, who was born without a left hand, has worked hard to overcome the challenge and become the best rider she can be. With support from her parents Mark and Annette Traband of Carousel Farm, Lizzy has become a recognized local competitor, a performer with Tommie Turvey’s “Night Of Amazing Horses” and clinician in horsemanship for children. Lizzy’s trick pony Toby became a coveted Breyer model in 2009.
While performing a bridleless riding exhibition during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games last fall, Lizzy caught the attention of the professional hunter riders there representing the USHJA. They invited her to work with them, and the USHJA scholarship “Making A Dream” was born.
“Receiving this scholarship is great,” said Lizzy. “I’m learning tons. This is by far my biggest show experience. It’s amazing to come here and learn about the different trainers, their programs and how they care for their horses. I’m learning tips I can take home to improve myself and tips I can teach to other riders.
“It means a lot too that I helped to inspire this scholarship because there are more kids out there in the same situation,” she added. “They have the talent and motivation and really want to get the support to do it.”
Any USHJA member-junior, amateur or professional-may be nominated for the scholarship. Nominations may be made by any USHJA member, parent, friend or medical professional. An individual may only be nominated once per year, and a person may win only once.
The USHJA Foundation Board of Directors will review nominations and select recipients throughout the year. Nomination forms are available on the USHJA Foundation website (www.ushjafoundation.org). For more information on the “Making A Dream” scholarship program, or on how to contribute to the USHJA Foundation, please contact Whitney Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.225.6707.