The Worth the Trust Educational Scholarships are awarded annually to one Adult Amateur and one Young Adult Amateur to help fund training opportunities like clinics, working student positions, and private instruction. Below is the winning essay of the 2019 Worth the Trust Adult Amateur Scholarship. Congratulations to Greta Hallgren and best of luck in the future!
I realized not too long ago that life is essentially a series of opening doors. Most often, those doors open silently, and you carelessly cross the threshold without notice. And then the doors close so softly, you are ignorant to the fact that you just made a life-altering choice that can’t be undone. But sometimes, those doors squeak as they start to creak open. And then, by the time your hand is reaching for the knob, the sound is so loud you simply can’t ignore it. The weight of that decision of whether to enter that doorway is heavy and palpable. Are you prepared to go where this door is leading? Most importantly, can you afford it?
That’s what I felt when I decided to buy my amazingly talented horse, Elianna.
I grew up competing at hunter schoolings shows on my large pony, Amber, and later a monstrous OTTB, Fly, until college. It was always understood that college meant no more horses. No one was encouraging me to stick with it. No one was paying for the board and lessons. I had no choice but to give in.
After college, I followed the familiar pathways of career, marriage, and children. When my youngest started preschool, I found myself with some extra time. While living in a Chicago suburb, it occurred to me that I could squeeze in a riding lesson during that whole three hours I had to myself. That’s when I could hear a muffled sound in the distance.
As luck would have it, the trainer who answered my call was an eventing coach. After a few lessons, Brigitte Ballou Kettell entrusted me with a 4-year-old OTTB that had just entered the program. I could start to feel a vibration.
Skip a few months, and I’m full-blow on the threshold, looking down into the abyss of horse ownership. I knew taking this step would change the course for everyone in my family. But I also knew that not entering meant I’d probably never be invited in again. The rumbling sounds grew deafening. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I entered. I bought her. And boy, did that door slam shut afterward with a big bang. What have I done?
Eventually, my family (including a 6-year-old Elianna) moved back home to Texas where I ultimately crossed paths with a young trainer who, as fate would have it, had a soft spot for feisty little mares. Angela Bowles had her own little mare who she would ultimately take out of the pasture and compete all the way to the four-star at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. She got us.
Elianna and I have gone through all the levels together, starting at Beginner Novice. With Angela’s help, we now compete at Preliminary. I have even done one IP. (Successfully!) Elianna excels on cross-country. You can see in her face that she loves it, and it makes competing her a joy.
Now, my hope is to take the huge step of completing a CCI*. We have already attempted one in the spring of 2017 at the Virginia Horse Trials. We earned a respectable dressage score and completed cross-country with one glace off (at a “B” element skinny on an angle which I didn’t honestly ride very well.)
But then that door slammed shut before us and we both came to a halt, literally, in show jumping. Many factors including suspected ulcers, an extremely muddy course, a good girth rub, and the big atmosphere could have all contributed.* But all I can say is my horse loves to jump, but she didn’t like what she saw on the other side that one day. And frankly, she is smart, and I trust her. Which is why are planning a do-over in the spring of 2019.
In addition to a CCI*, I would like to qualify to compete at the USEA AEC next year at the Kentucky Horse Park. Being from Area V, the Kentucky Horse Park is a dreamy venue. I have been there twice as a spectator. It would be a big check on the bucket list to go back as a competitor.
In order to accomplish these goals, I am going to continue to need lots of coaching. Often, I am not able to take consistent lessons due to our family budget. I have two sons who are very involved in their own expensive activities. One is currently in college and another one is headed that way. Plus, entry fees for the shows necessary to build up to these goals will be quite substantial.
The 2019 Worth the Trust Educational Scholarship would be monumental in helping me achieve my goals. I would use these funds to maintain a consistent training schedule with my coach, Angela Bowles, a USEA Level III ICP Certified Instructor. (Angela also serves on our Area V Board as the ICP Representative.)
This scholarship would ultimately allow me to put myself and my goals to the forefront in 2019. The timing is ripe. I am 49 years old. Elianna is 12. We are at our prime. We have all the right stuff and the door is wide open. I just need a leg up, so we can gallop through.
*Sadly, the riders who were sitting first and second place in my division also met the same fate. Following our division, the officials moved the competition to an indoor arena.
Applications for the 2020 Worth the Trust Educational and Sports Psychology Scholarships will be available soon and are due on October 7, 2019. For more information, please contact Nancy Knight, (703) 669-9997.
About the Worth the Trust Scholarship
Since 2000, the Worth the Trust Scholarships has provided financial assistance for young adult amateurs and adult amateurs for the purpose of pursuing continued education in eventing. These scholarships is provided by Joan Iversen Goswell in honor of her horse, Worth the Trust, a 15.3 hand Thoroughbred gelding (Wind and Wuthering x Stop Over Station), who competed successfully for many years, including winning the Kentucky Three-Day Event in 1997 with Karen O'Connor. In 2017, to continue to offer a helping hand, Goswell created the Worth the Trust Sports Psychology Scholarships to help amateurs master the ever-challenging mental side of the sport. Click here to read the story of Worth the Trust's 1997 Kentucky Three-Day Event win.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.