The Ontario Equestrian Federation is pleased to help five junior members reach their equestrian goals by presenting them with $1,000 each through the OEF Youth Bursary program.
Each year the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF) distributes a minimum of five $1,000 bursaries to youth based on their involvement with horses, their future goals, as well as letters of recommendations from their coaches. Family resources and academic achievements are also considered. The bursaries can be used towards riding lessons, clinics, competition fees, continuing education and other activities that will help them develop their skills.
“Congratulations to this year’s deserving bursary athletes,” says OEF president Mark Nelson. “Our hope is that this milestone on their pathway of training will encourage them to push themselves to achieve excellence.”
Over 50 applications were received and were narrowed down to the following 2016 OEF Youth Bursary recipients:
Taylor Darbyson of Richmond, ON. doesn’t let anything stand between her and her Arabian mare, Minou. Now 16 years old, Darbyson was only 10 when she got the mare, who she credits with helping her through some tough times in her life. To help finance her dream and save for post-secondary education, Darybson got a job at a grocery store and also does chores at the barn. An active volunteer, she assists with the summer camp at her stable and also volunteers at her school to promote the arts. Her dream is to some day own her own riding facility and mentor young riders to help them reach their full potential. With the bursary funds she receives, Darbyson would like to take riding lessons and become a certified English Instructor of Beginners.
Naiomi Chrysler of Campbellville, ON. has big dreams as a rider and will now be once step closer to achieving them. The 14-year-old has been working at a local barn for the past several years to help pay for lessons and in-house horse shows, but more advanced competitions and educational programs like clinics have always been out of reach. Dedicated to learning not only how to ride, but how to care for horses and maintain a barn, she takes pride in everything she does and is always there to lend a helping hand. Even if she isn’t able to participate, Chrysler always volunteers to attend shows to support and assist others. As a 2016 OEF Youth Bursary recipient, she hopes to attend clinics to further her knowledge and wants to compete this summer on the Trillium Hunter Jumper Association show circuit.
Shalom Leger of Rockwood, ON. is described by her coach as “the epitome of a true equestrian.” The 15-year-old has been riding for eight years and is a member of the Canadian Pony Club. She puts the health and welfare of her horse first and always lends a helping hand to her fellow riders. Leger has been working hard to move up from the Entry level to the Pre-Training level in the discipline of Eventing with her six-year-old mare, Lulu, who she has been training. She has her sights set on reaching the Preliminary level to compete for a spot on the team headed to the North America Junior and Young Rider Championships. But that level of competition takes considerable training and while she works at two barns to pay for her lessons and training, it’s not enough to reach the next level. As a 2016 OEF Youth Bursary recipient, Leger will be able to receive additional coaching to help her reach her competitive goals.
Brittany Alexander, a 14-year-old rider from Mattawa, ON., who her coach calls the “most positive, dedicated, horse-crazy kid that you will ever meet.” Alexander started riding when she was eight years old, but it wasn’t until the last two years that she has been able to ride consistently. She now takes weekly riding lessons and works off “practice rides” in between lessons for more saddle time. Faced with health challenges that have threatened to stand in the way of her equestrian dreams, Alexander has never let anything keep her from her passion. Determined to become a well-rounded rider, she intends to use her OEF Youth Bursary funds to participate in clinics and events. Alexander dreams of one day opening her own horse rescue and becoming a veterinarian.
Julie Barrett, 17, of Cobourg, ON. has been riding for 12 years and is passionate about sharing her equestrian knowledge with others. She volunteers her time in the summer to help with a local stable’s summer camp and is working towards becoming a certified instructor. Focussed on reaching her goals, she manages to maintain an advanced work load at school, hold down a part-time job and still find time to train two horses, one of which she showed at the Training level in Eventing last summer. She is now schooling 3rd Level Dressage with the goal of representing Ontario at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.
Click HERE more information about the Youth Bursary program.