Nov 02, 2017

Criteria Developed for the Wilton Fair Grant

David O'Connor and Wilton Fair on the cover of USCTA News.

The Wilton Fair Grant Committee (members: Brian Sabo, chair; Becky Holder; David Lenaburg; Kevin Baumgardner; David O’Connor) has now determined the criteria and the process to be used when selecting the recipients for the Wilton Fair Grant(s). The Committee intends to be as flexible as possible to ensure the very best candidate(s) are selected for this remarkable grant, and that no one is overlooked. It is essential that the Committee fulfill the wishes of the donors, Mr. David Lenaburg, and his wife, Cheryl, who want the grant(s) to ensure the successful development of the U.S.'s top young talent preparing them to take their places on future international teams.

Mr. Lenaburg supported a young David O'Connor and was instrumental in helping him reach his goal of representing the U.S. on the international eventing scene, and look how that turned out! David won numerous team medals and an Olympic Individual Gold Medal at the Sydney Olympics. Now Mr. and Mrs. Lenaburg want to help a new generation of riders reach the height of their potential.

The Committee has established the following criteria for the Wilton Fair Grants:

  • Eligible riders will have competed at the CCI2* level.
  • The USEF Emerging Athletes Working Group will recommend a list of riders who have been talent-spotted during the previous two years.  The Committee will then make the final grant decisions.  The Committee will give significant weight to, but shall not be limited to consideration of, the recommendations made by the Emerging Athletes Working Group.
  • A grant will be awarded to riders aged 29 and under who have displayed exceptional talent, ability, and dedication at the CCI2* level and above.
  • Riders who have previously participated at the North American Junior/Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and/or who have been named to the USEF Emerging Athletes Eventing 25 list in prior years will be looked upon favorably. If a rider in the 25-29 age range has not participated in either of these two programs but has been identified as a worthy candidate, then the Committee may include that rider's name for consideration.
  • A second grant may also be awarded to a Young Rider who displayed exceptional talent, ability, and dedication at the current year's North American Young Riders CICOY2*  
  • Once the list of eligible riders has been reviewed, the Committee will contact the candidates to arrange interviews. Riders will be expected to outline their short-term and long-term goals, their plans for achieving those goals, and how they believe the grant would help in that endeavor.

It should be noted that participation in the North American Junior and Young Riders Championships will have an increasingly strong influence on the Wilton Fair Grant Program going forward. Riders who have represented their Areas at the championships will gain the attention of the Committee because of the experience they have gained riding on a championship team and the commitment they have made to the Young Riders Program. For our Juniors and Young Riders who have serious ambitions to ride on an international team in the future, it would be wise to make the NAJYRC an essential part of your planning. 

Learn more about the Wilton Fair Fund and Grants by clicking here

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This has been a difficult decision, but with the current pandemic situation at hand, we feel that this is the correct and ‘common sense’ direction to take. We are developing a plan to host a shorter, smaller, and more focused competition. We will be using state and local protocols to help guide us through this. Safety is paramount at Rebecca Farm, for both equine and human participants.

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