Strides for Equality Equestrians and the USEA Foundation are proud to announce the recipient of the Ever So Sweet Scholarship for winter 2022. The scholarship, which is the first of its kind, is fully funded by Edy Rameika and provides an opportunity for riders from diverse backgrounds to train with Sara Kozumplik-Murphy for two months in Florida. Sierra Lesny is the second recipient of the bi-annual scholarship.
The scholarship covers expenses for full board and training costs for Lesny’s horse, several lessons per week, housing for Lesny, a stipend to cover living expenses, competition fees, and coaching at competitions. Lesny got her start riding at her grandmother’s lesson barn when she was two years old. She has spent most of her life catch riding any horse that was available at the time, which has taught her a lot about patience and flexibility.
“This opportunity will allow me to grow as a rider. I have been riding since before I could walk and horses have always been a part of my life, but since I financially have not always been able to go full force into the horses, I have worked really hard and been a groom and a working student. I have loved it and it’s taught me so much and definitely made me a better horse person, but I haven’t had as much time to devote to just my riding skills.”
Lesny is excited that she will be able to dedicate two months entirely to her riding and development as an up and coming professional. Lesny is eager to get her foot in the door and find her place as a trainer. She said, “this is definitely an opportunity that anyone in my position dreams of, and I have dreamed many times about going down to Florida and getting to work with an amazing trainer in the hub of the horse network during the winter… being able to be a part of that is absolutely incredible!”
Lesny will be an ambassador for the ESS scholarship, which is part of the Professional Pathways programs SEE is developing. She will play an essential role in fostering a more inclusive environment within equestrian sports. “For all of us in this world with a darker skin tone, it can be scary and lonely at times. But the only way to change that is to take up space. Be here, be proud, and support one another.” The scholarship will provide Lesny with the opportunity to make professional connections, which will not only help her as an individual, but will contribute to improving access and opportunities for other BIPOC riders.
“For me growing up, not seeing many people that look like me in the horse world was disheartening. Putting people in this space so that younger kids grow up seeing someone that looks like them, doing the things that they want to do is the most important.”
You can follow along for updates on the SEE website at https://www.stridesforequality.org/
For more information please contact Erin Tomson, Ph.D., Strides for Equality Equestrians at 509.332.9486 / [email protected]
The USEA is heartbroken to hear about the loss of James “Jimmy” C. Wofford. A lifelong lover and supporter of the sport, Wofford has had an astounding influence on where eventing is today and has tirelessly supported the goals of the United States Eventing Association. He served as president of the American Horse Show Association (now U.S. Equestrian (USEF)), was the first vice-president of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET), and served as secretary of the USCTA (now USEA). He served two terms as a member of the FEI Eventing Committee, including two years as vice chairman. In addition, he has served on numerous committees during his career.
Experience the thrill of traditional long format three-day eventing by competing in a USEA Classic Series event in 2023! The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that the 2023 Classic Series calendar is now available.
Amanda Walker wasn’t sure what she’d gotten herself into when she went to try Runaway Romeo as a potential sales project in 2018. The gelding was a bit bigger than Walker was looking for and was quite pushy coming out of the stall. When she got on, it didn’t get much better.
For seasoned and novice riders alike, it is always good to revisit the basics. Serving as the foundation for any eventer, the positions used on the cross-country course differ from those in the dressage or show jumping ring. The USEA tuned into five-time Olympian, three-time World Equestrian Games rider, two Pan-American Games rider, and USEA ECP certified coach Karen O'Connor as she walked coaches and students at the USEA ECP Symposium through the basic positions for effective cross-country riding.